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BOOKS + STORIES + ESSAYS

meet carolyn dawn flynn

Novel, short story and memoir writer Carolyn Dawn Flynn is the winner of the 2014 Rick Bass/Montana Prize for Fiction. Her creative nonfiction piece “Pound of Flesh” was published in 2011 in The Tampa Review and receiving a glowing review in The Review Review for its inventive take on the spiritual cost of rampant capitalism. Her creative nonfiction piece, “Resurrection,” was published in January 2015 by Fourth Genre and won second place in the 2013 Pinch Journal creative nonfiction contest, judged by Abigail Thomas. An earlier version was a finalist for the 2014 Steinberg Essay Prize. That piece is the genesis of her recently completed memoir, You’ve Gone Too Far, which she worked on at The Lighthouse Book Project under mentors Erika Krouse (Contenders, Come Up and See Me Sometime) and Emily Rapp Black (Poster Child, Still Point of the Turning World.) She holds an MFA in Writing from Spalding University, consistently rated one of the top 10 brief-residency programs in the world in Poets & Writers magazine. Her work has appeared in Ellipsis, The Crescent Review, Albuquerque the Magazine, Wilde Frauen and the Albuquerque Journal. In 2019, she saw not one but two novel excerpts published—“First Cut” from Searching for Persephone (thewritelaunch.com) and the first chapter of I Don’t Remember It That Way (The Petigru Review, thepetigrureview.com). An earlier version of Searching for Persephone was a semifinalist for a first novel prize from Elixir Press in 2016. A 2015 TEDxWomen speaker on the topic of “Tell a Better Story, Live a Better Life,” she was for 16 years the editor of Sage magazine, a women’s magazine with the theme of empowerment.

NOVELS

My novel-in-revision Searching for Persephone was a semifinalist for a first novel prize from Elixir Press in 2016. The first chapter was published as a novel excerpt on The Write Life here.

MEMOIR

My recently completed memoir, You’ve Gone Too Far, is a becoming-of-age story that asks the question, “When you have become no one, how do you become someone again?” I worked on the book at The Lighthouse Book Project under mentors Erika Krouse (Contenders, Come Up and See Me Sometime) and Emily Rapp Black (Poster Child, Still Point of the Turning World.)

READ AN EXCERPT HERE

ESSAYS AND CREATIVE NONFICTION

“Pound of Flesh” was published in 2011 in The Tampa Review and receiving a glowing review in The Review Review for its inventive take on the spiritual cost of rampant capitalism.

“Resurrection,” was published in January 2015 by Fourth Genre and is the genesis of my recently completed memoir, You’ve Gone Too Far

LITERARY SHORT STORIES

My short story “Pretend” won the 2014 Rick Bass/Montana Prize for Fiction and was published in The Whitefish Review.

MAGAZINE JOURNALISM

For 16 years, I was editor of Sage magazine, a women’s magazine with a theme of empowerment. 

During my years at Sage, I was known as a voice for women, holding public forums and personal/business development seminars. I love the art of the interview, whether the person is a community banker living the wonderful life or notables such as Elizabeth Gilbert, Eve Ensler, Gloria Steinem and Sister Simone Campbell, America’s rock star nun.

In 2014, the magazine won best national magazine from the National Federation of Press Women.

READ HIGHLIGHTED COLUMNS AND STORIES HERE.

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT AND SPIRITUAL NONFICTION

I am the author of seven personal development and spiritual nonfiction titles published by Penguin Putnam, on topics such as mindfulness meditation and creative visualization.

I blend these practices into my writing retreats in Ireland, Zion National Park and Taos, New Mexico, and in my Uncommon Hours online class for writers who want to design
and de-stressify the writing life.

AWARDS + PUBLICATIONS

Here’s a list of awards and publications.

Pretend

“Pretend,” winner of the 2014 Rick Bass/Montana Prize for Fiction, published in The Whitefish Review. A previous version was short-listed for the 2009 Danahy prize in fiction by The Tampa Review.

Resurrection

“Resurrection,” published in January 2015 in Fourth Genre. An earlier version of this creative nonfiction essay won second runner-up in the 2013 Pinch Literary Journal creative nonfiction contest, judged by Abigail Thomas. It was a finalist for the 2014 Steinberg Essay Prize and for the Sustainable Arts Foundation fellowship.

Pound of Flesh

“Pound of Flesh,” a creative nonfiction piece published in The Tampa Review, which received glowing reviews in The Review Review; previously, that story was short-listed for the Tom Howard Prose Prize.

I Don't Remember It That Way

“I Don’t Remember It That Way,” the first chapter of a novel, published in The Petigru Review in November 2019.

Blood

“Blood,” which won first place and was published in ABQ the Magazine.

First Cut, from Searching for Persephone

Searching for Persephone, a novel, semifinalist for the 2016 Elixir Press Fiction Prize. An excerpt of the novel was published in February 2019 on The Write Launch as “First Cut.”

Detox

“Detox,” published in Ellipsis, a literary journal published at Westminster College; previously published in German in the anthology Wilde Frauen, which included short stories by Isabel Allende, Joyce Carol Oates, Margaret Atwood and Pam Houston and a foreword by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.

Star-Crossed

“Star-Crossed,” published on The Write Launch (thewritelaunch.com), September 2020

Self-Help

“Self-Help,” which won the Renwick-Sumerwell prize and was published in The Crescent Review. That story also won first place in SouthWest Writers.

Improvising

“Improvising,” which has a touch of Southern Gothic, published on the Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.

Fight or Flight

Semifinalist, William Van Dyke Short Story Prize, Ruminate magazine, 2016, for “Fight or Flight.” (This story is now in a new form as “Someone Has Taken My Place.”)

GLOWING WORDS

Reviews and Other Acts of Kindness

POUND OF FLESH

The Tampa Review, Summer 2011 Issue 41

Carolyn Flynn tracks a fast-moving financial storm in “Pound of Flesh,” drawing parallels between Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice and the tempests on Wall Street. 

“Carolyn Flynn’s “Pound of Flesh” is a lovely, complex, and endlessly interesting essay about capitalism. She compares capitalism—this thing that is sometimes fought and sometimes embraced—to the victimized villain of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, Shylock.

She braids her current understanding of capitalism with moments from her childhood that strike the reader as lovely coming-of-age pieces, creating something that is a hybrid of truth and feeling.

The essay paints the philosophy of capitalism as a tragedy—a beautiful, sad tragedy—and I can write with complete honesty that I have never been more interested in the subject than I was as I read this piece.”

Renee Beauregard Lute

Read the glowing review in The Review Review

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