Untitled ©Emily Sunderman

Creative Nonfiction, #26, Spring 2023

Gravel, Alan Caldwell
Colored Pencils, Melissa Greenwood
Pulling Away, Summer Hammond
Imaginary Friend, Linda Petrucelli
Five, Ryan Walker
Games of Chance, Melissent Zumwalt

Featured Artist


Alan Caldwell discloses the domestic violence in his childhood home in a straightforward just-the-facts manner that’s chilling in its detachment. Gravel reveals an unsettling portrait of a child adapting his existence to survive a predictable cycle of misery.

Melissa Greenwood is relatable to any oldest child in this scene of teasing and tormenting her younger brother. It seems like her father is intent on teaching her a lesson about bullying, and he does. Just not the lesson he thinks it is.

Summer Hammond‘s brief ode to loss will stay with you long after the last line. I wrote this to Summer, “Dear heavens. I’m struggling not to just weep doing the final read throughs on this issue. Every piece does a unique job of pulling me back into those feelings, those fears, the weirdness of knowing and not knowing what this experience portends for your adult life. Then you grow up and maybe find the words, which you have done so beautifully here.”

Linda Petrucelli remembers her reunion with a favorite doll while she and her sister share the unenviable task of cleaning out their childhood home after a parent dies. Her capacity to return to old emotions is astonishing (I had this same doll), as is her clarity about letting things go.

Ryan Walker puts us in the room with him and his seriously ill brother. If I told you he tried to make contact with Sesame Street’s Big Bird when no one else is around, you might think this is going to be funny. You would be wrong. The loneliness of this narrative haunts me.

Melissent Zumwalt crafts a delightful reflection on her father’s gambling addiction; what I love most about this piece is how it surprised me. She is clear-eyed about the problems embedded in the behavior, but she also brings a generous spin to betting on oneself and the concept of hope.

This issue features one new image, one of my favorite pieces by Emily Sunderman of Middlebury, Vermont. Emily is a personal friend, and I am deeply indebted to her for sharing her various arts forms with me over the last decade. In addition, we pause to remember pieces of visual art from the first 25 issues of Longridge Review.

Submissions for our 2023 #BarnhillPrize issue open June 11 and close August 12 . Thank you for reading and for sharing the online literary landscape with us.


© Hans Hillewaert

It is a tremendous honor to be interviewed this month in one the most active and respected craft magazines for creative nonfiction working today, Hippocampus Magazine. The opportunity is especially cherished because it came via my classmate and friend Lara Lillibridge. #WVWCMFA

Visit the magazine link for an insider’s peek into how Longridge Review came to be, the #BarnhillPrize, the thing we will not do, and more.

Basically, I got into this focus because I started to think about how maybe in general we don’t talk about this enough. That childhood is pretty hardcore, and there is no getting out of that. So maybe let’s talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly so we can understand ourselves and other people better; so we can value ourselves and each other more. So we can find language to talk about trauma, and humor, and wisdom, and love from the day we first open our eyes.

Elizabeth Gaucher

We are tremendously grateful to so many of you for making 2022 a positive year of creative energy here at Longridge Review.

  • To everyone who sent us their best work, and in doing so kept our mission powerful.
  • To Diane Gottlieb and Beatrice Motamedi for making financial gifts to help keep the lights on around here.
  • To Sonja Livingston for serving as our judge for the #BarnhillPrize and also for donating her honorarium to keep us sustainable.
  • To Mike Smith, Anne Barnhill’s son, who has supported us in diverse ways for years.
  • To our sharp and dedicated team of readers/editors who always ask the right questions and bring their hearts and minds to the craft of creative nonfiction.
  • To my parents, both of whom died this month but who always gave me their full support and believed in this work.
  • To everyone who read and shared essays and showed our writers the love.

Returning to Mike Smith, he wrote in 2022 about reading our contest finalists’ essays:

I pledged to seek the same reverence for language and seriousness of purpose I watched my mother bring to such tasks, perhaps remembering her own long push to publication. To be taken seriously and read well was often the only encouragement she needed. 

Mike Smith, Finishing My Mother’s Last Book, storySouth Issue 54

To be taken seriously and read well.

We pledge to deliver this gift to you in 2023 and beyond.

Thanks again to all, and Happy New Year.

Ghost Leaves © Colleen Anderson

Creative Nonfiction, #25, Winter 2022-23

My Short and Tragic Tap Dancing Career, John Backman  
Help, Please!, Melissa Greenwood  
Descended into the Carnage, James Morena  
Asthma, Rina Palumbo
My Bike, Mike Wilson  

Featured Artist 
Colleen Anderson

John Backman has a difficult memory of disappointing his mother; except he doesn’t remember it. He remembers the feeling of something he may have invented himself. What, if anything, actually is real about what he feels, and can he give his three-year-old self a way out after 60 years?

Melissa Greenwood‘s narrative is less than 400 words and still may leave a reader out of breath. She brings us into a chaotic home and tells us, “at a precocious 10, I’m the only adult in this house.” This is a difficult but important reminder of the heavy burdens children bear in domestic violence situations, and how profoundly aware they are of being trapped on all sides.

James Morena. I don’t even know how to begin to give you a heads up (pun intended) on this wild, weird, funny, and a little heartbreaking narrative of a little boy who opened the door to a big surprise. When you’re home with no one but your dog, and someone insists you open the door and you do and…..well, you just have to read it and find out.

Rina Palumbo crafts a frightening scene, sharing a bedroom with her asthmatic sister. Nights would start out well, and but morph quickly into distress. This piece really got to me. Rina brings us into that room, into that fear, and into the desperation of self-harm to escape emotions.

Mike Wilson writes about his bicycle, and so much more. Boy meets bike, boy bonds with bike, boy loses then is reunited with bike. But something has changed. This is a beautiful narrative about love, loss, and growing up.

Finally, I am delighted to share the nature art photography of Colleen Anderson. Colleen is a writer, songwriter, and graphic designer in my hometown of Charleston, West Virginia. I always enjoy her textured imagery and I hope you will, too.

We will be back on February 1, 2023, to open submissions for our Spring issue. Thank you for reading and for sharing the online literary landscape with us.


We will be closing subs at midnight tonight so we can get the Winter issue out early. We will be back in the Spring. TY to everyone who wrote for us in 2022, it was a wonderful year! #WritingCommunity #amediting #litmag #CNF #Essays

It’s sad, but it happens all the time. A terrific read by Anthony J. Mohr.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

By Anthony J. Mohr

When a literary journal disappears, a little hole appears in my heart. It’s happened too often. Now, when Duotrope’s Sunday morning Weekly Wire reaches my inbox, I race to the section marked “publisher listings with major status changes”and hope they don’t say a place that once published me “has permanently closed to submissions,” “is on indefinite hiatus to submissions,” or “is believed to be defunct.” The first two phrases are usually euphemisms for the third: defunct, as in dead.

Maybe I’m unlucky, but as of this writing, too many of my homes either no longer exist or languish in prolonged hospice. Some just disappear, like Circle Magazine. The LBJ: Avian Life, Literary Arts died in 2011 and is still dead.

Others tender a tinge of hope. In October 2016, Word Riot claimed they were “temporarily closed for a six-month hiatus.” They have yet to wake up…

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The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses series, published every year since 1976, is the most honored literary project in America.

Since 1976, hundreds of presses and thousands of writers of short stories, poetry and essays have been represented in annual collections. Each year most of the writers and many of the presses are new to the series. Every volume contains an index of past selections, plus lists of outstanding presses with addresses.

The Pushcart Prize has been a labor of love and independent spirits since its founding. It is one of the last surviving literary co-ops from the 60’s and 70’s. Its legacy is assured by donations to its Fellowships endowment.

Longridge Review is proud to nominate 4 essays from 2022 for the The Pushcart Prize: Best of The Small Presses XLVIII.

Congratulations to each of these wonderful writers, and thank you to everyone who found a forever home for their essay with us in 2022!

p.s. Our submission period is now open until the first of the year.

Featured image by Elise Ostraff.

Shana Ross

It is our great pleasure to announce that Shana Ross is the 2022 winner of The Anne C. Barnhill Prize for Creative Nonfiction. Her essay, Story with Dog, was an early favorite in the submission process, and was named the best of the best by contest judge Sonja Livingston. Livingston writes:

Judging this year’s Barnhill Prize was a real honor but not an easy one. The essays broached important but tough topics and I fell a little in love with each piece. 

I chose Story with Dog because it would not let me be. As the title suggests, the essay recounts a story with a dog, but, like the best writing, its deceptively simple subject functions like a trap door and, by the essay’s end, we find ourselves free falling into the fertile terrain below the surface of the words. 

Vivid and poignant, Story with Dog is about cruelty and survival, yet the writing tackles these weighty topics with restraint. In such a brief essay, every word matters. Nothing is wasted. Though the subject matter is not easy, the writer’s voice is inviting, magnetic and does not flinch. As the essay progresses from dog to father to child and we might rather look away, the telling is so masterful, we’re compelled to stay with it and are rewarded for doing so. By the end, we understand what the story means but its meaning is felt and not prescribed. As a result, this “small” story stands for itself while powerfully suggesting a much larger world—making it not so very “small” after all. 

Flannery O’ Connor said, “A story is a way to say something that can’t be said any other way—you tell a story because a statement would be inadequate.” This year’s winning essay does just that and would do Flannery proud.

Sonja Livingston

Sonja also named as notable Game of Life (Fontaine) and Field Day, 1990 (Choate).

Congratulations to Shana, and to each of our finalists. On behalf of our editorial team, we are humbled and grateful to have the opportunity to read your work; most of all, you contributed to the dream of honoring Anne Barnhill by offering poignant and powerful narratives from your childhood experience.

Please see our home page or Creative Nonfiction menu tab for links to all of our essays, and thank you!

Shana Ross has done time in both a co-ed percussion fraternity and the PTA. She arrived this March in Edmonton, Alberta, after 25 years in New England. Qui transtulit sustinet. Her work has appeared in Chautauqua Journal, Phantom Kangaroo, Gone Lawn, Cutbank Literary Journal, Laurel Review and more. She was awarded first place in the 2021 Bacopa Literary Review Poetry competition, received a 2019 Parent-Writer Fellowship to Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing, and serves as an editor for Luna Station Quarterly. Her first chapbook, Heavy Little Things (Finishing Line Press) is now available. She holds both a BA and MBA from Yale and rarely tweets. Twitter: @shanakatzross

Wendy Fontaine‘s work has twice appeared in Longridge Review (and now three times), as well as in Hippocampus Magazine, Jet Fuel Review, River Teeth, Sweet Lit, and many other literary magazines. Her writing was nominated for the Pushcart and Best of the Net anthologies, and in 2020 she won the Hunger Mountain Creative Nonfiction Prize. A native New Englander, Fontaine now reside in southern California. Twitter: wendymfontaine

Emily Choate is the Fiction Editor of Peauxdunque Review. Her fiction appears in Mississippi Review, storySouth, Shenandoah, The Florida Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Rappahannock Review, and elsewhere. She writes regularly for Chapter 16, and other nonfiction appears in Atticus Review, Late Night Library, and Nashville Scene, among others. Emily holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and was a Tennessee Williams Scholar at Sewanee Writers Conference. She lives near Nashville, where she’s working on a novel. Twitter: @EmChoate_Writer

M Tamara Cutler is a narrative screenwriter with a visual arts background. Works of creative nonfiction are published/forthcoming in Hunger Mountain ReviewUnder the Gum Tree, and Brevity Blog. She has a diploma in Advanced Creative Writing: Nonfiction from Cambridge University and an MFA in Film from New York University. She splits her time between Southern California and southern Spain. Twitter: @thatplaceUlove

Rachel Laverdiere writes, pots, and teaches in her little house on the Canadian prairies. She is CNF editor at Atticus Review and the creator of Hone & Polish Your Writing. Find Rachel’s prose in Grain, The New Quarterly, Atlas and Alice, The Citron Review and other fine journals. Twitter: @r_laverdiere

Zachary Ostraff received his MFA in creative writing from the Inland Northwest Center for Writers at Eastern Washington University (2016). His essay, Precedent, was a semi-finalist for the 2020 Hippocampus Magazine’s Remember in November contest. He has also had work in Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies and High Desert Journal. He is currently a Ph.D. student at Texas Tech University. Twitter: @ostraffz

Solvitur Ambulando © E. Gaucher

Creative Nonfiction, #23, Early Fall 2022

Brad Gibault, Uncle Monty
Tara Guy, Broken Bread
Anita Kestin, Chatham

Featured Artist


Sometimes we have essays that we loved but the timing was wrong and we check back with the writers to see if they are still interested in publishing with us. I feel so fortunate to be able to share these three with you now in a bonus issue of Longridge Review.

Brad Gibault is back! If you loved The Myth of Pat, you’ll enjoy Uncle Monty. Gibault has a talent I described to him this way in our correspondence:

You walk a thin line, but your skill as a writer keeps Uncle Monty’s story balanced and in the right zone. Despite your love and devotion to your uncle, you find a way to slip in little details about some of the troubles in his life. You let him be human. That’s where the good stuff is. When we deify and protect childhood versions of those we love, we don’t allow them to be human and we don’t allow ourselves to grow up.


Tara Guy gifts us with that rare blend of humor and grief as her child mind innocently inquires into why when “pagans” eat people it’s bad, but when Catholics eat Jesus it’s good; I’ll just let you discover this funny and heartbreaking narrative in your own way.

Anita Kestin‘s essay is a gorgeous and frightening dive into a very young child’s intuitive generational knowledge. She sees things in her grandmother she doesn’t understand but cannot unsee, and spends her life coming to terms with what she sees and needs to understand. Our readers weren’t sure the intensity of this one was earned until I pointed out Kestin’s bio. Read it.

And this issue’s “art” is a few of my personal snaps when I lived in Vermont. Because this Early Fall issue was unexpected, I didn’t have an artist on deck, so I am sharing my own photos. They don’t touch the levels of our true artists, but I hope they bring you a smile.


“The hard work of writing short remains one of the best tools I have consistently used in over twenty years of writing. It is the technique I return to again and again when my writing is muddled, and I can’t see where it wants to go. “

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

By Jill Kandel

I brought a 1,500-word essay to my first writing workshop. So proud of it I could barely spit. After two hours of lecture and discussion on writing short, the instructor said, “Bring it back tomorrow. Cut it in half.” I spent the night cutting, pasting, moving, revising, and proudly broughtexactly750 words to class the next morning.

Six days later – our writing workshop nearly over – I sat down with the instructor for a one on one. I was a lifelong reader and a nurse by profession. A forty-year-old who didn’t know how to pronounce the wordgenre.My instructor gave me a long list of great books on writing, explained what literary journals were, kindly taught me how to saygenre, and challenged me to write a 750-word piece forBrevity.

I spent the next two years reading every single book on…

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