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2015 (Volume 27)


The theme of loss and change is everywhere in our 27th edition. Change is inevitable in this fast-paced world, a truth we discovered — and embraced — as we accepted electronic entries for the first time in the history of The Briar Cliff Review, and received more submissions than ever before.


Nonfiction winner Lisa Nikolidakis in "Candy" shows a young woman struggling with her changing body. When her dress splits at a dance, she hides in the hallway until Bob Baker hands her his plus size jacket. "Dude, relax. It's cool." The author makes us feel the pain she suffers and, too, her joy when someone understands. It reveals the awkwardness that accompanies pubescent bodies and the pre-teen mind and shows us how our laughs today still mask the tears and traumas of our earlier days.


In our contest winning story, "Until the World Brought to Me Again Its Gold Its Vermillion," a man purchases a third wife. "I found her in a village in the back woods of the Philippines ... I took her out of poverty." Lee Varon's story is a beautifully lush and chilling evocation of hundreds of years of historical exploitation, brought to life in specific, poignant moments though the eyes of one of its victims.


Carine Topal's contest winning poem "Someone You Know" powerfully evokes the atrocities of the Holocaust as juxtaposed against the achingly beautiful backdrop of both the natural world and the world of human love, art and devotion.


"Every one of us is losing something precious to us. Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back again. That's part of what it means to be alive," writes Haruki Murakami. Yes, that is what it means to be alive — and this year's issue is very much alive.



2013 Table of Contents PDF

C0VER: "Soul's Dream Unexpectedly" / Thomas Jewell-Vitale /
oil and wax on canvas


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Contest Winners





Lisa Nikolidakis

Nikolidakis’ work has appeared or is forthcoming in Brevity, Passages North, The Rumpus, [PANK], The Greensboro Review, Hobart, and elsewhere. Her flash fiction won A Room Of Her Own’s Fall 2014 Orlando Prize and is forthcoming in Los Angeles Review. She currently teaches creative writing in the Midwest.

Varon is a therapist and a writer. She is licensed as a clinical social worker and maintains a private practice in the Boston and New York areas. In 1984, she founded The Adoption Network, a counseling and consulting agency specializing in adoption. In 2012, she published “Single Adoptive Parents: Our Stories.”  Her work was nominated for the Pushcart Best of the Small Presses XXII.


"Someone You Know"

Carine Topal

Topal, a native New Yorker, lives in La Quinta, Calif.  She was a Pushcart Prize nominee and has been awarded residencies in the U.S. and Russia. Her new book, “Whole Burnt,” won first prize in the Palettes and Quills 4th Biennial Chapbook contest, and will be coming out in early 2015.  Topal teaches poetry and memoir to adults in Los Angeles and Palm Springs area.

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