fiction collection

    Winner 2017

    Excerpt from: BROTHER'S KEEPER


    She is at the window waiting since noon, since last year’s announcement on the church noticeboard, last month’s update, last week’s email, waiting for her temporary Sudanese, temporarily in her living room, her kitchen, her guestroom, temporarily so grateful to her American family, American refuge from the dark nights of pangas and bullet mania and shouting, shoveled from plane to bus to this calm street where he will walk: tentative, neatly shorn head bowed, hardly daring to look at the numbers on doors, belongings in a cardboard case with only one clasp, limping from injuries, bandages beneath clothing, single photograph of family, bible with pressed flower from graveside.

    Her window angled elegantly for viewing the street corner, her window well shaded but view unobscured.

    It’s overcast, just when Los Angeles should have looked welcoming to this new resident.

    And is this him? But where is the pastor who is meant to accompany him, to make the introductions and—

    This is the boy she was promised? But he is a man.



    First rule: Don’t look like you’re fresh-off-the-border. The Seventh Day Adventists give away clothes on Fridays. I got tennis shoes, a grey baseball hat, green sweat pants, and a blue sweatshirt that I had to wrestle from this guy. He jumped me. That’s mine. Like I should just hand it over. I kicked him on the ankle (Alex: Always go for the ankle, knee, and crotch) and while he was yelling for his mami, I was gone.

    Tried stuffing my hair in the baseball hat but it falls out quick when you have to run. Cut my hair off. A girl on her own stands out. A kid in a baseball hat is just a kid in a baseball hat.

    The church people sometimes give a little plata, usually mothers with kids, and I buy tortillas and beg peanut butter from the stand near the bus station. Sometimes the mothers give me tortillas and ask where my parents are.

    december literary magazine

    Spring 2017



    If another boat comes, like Ryker says, the captain will tell us, You know what those SAR80s are for, boys. I will be the first to shoot and the captain will be so proud of me that he will give me another special hat, like the last time. I shot two men. They tried to come on board. They had a small boat and they wanted our boat because it is bigger. The captain told them to go off. They wouldn’t listen and so he told us to fire. And I shot first. They fell backwards. One fell into the sea and the other one got sucked under into the motor. It was a terrible noise and the motor broke. We had to go to shore to repair our motor. We were allowed to visit our families.

    Normally, we all stay in a cave near the boat until we go out to sea in the mornings. We are like the fisherman. We go early and come late. Only the very strong can do this work. We must do it because who can make money taking care of the goats?


    Read the whole thing, plus a shed-load of amazing poetry and fiction in your very own copy here.


    fiction chapbook

    Hon Mention 2016


    December 2011

    Being us is the best in the world. Lucee is sixteen, Mouna and Batoul are fifteen. Me, Yasmine, I am thirteen.

    Mouna is small, like me, but she is tough. She can beat me at arm-wrestling. She has a pretty nose, one of those girls who is pretty even when she is scratching her legs.

    My nose bends over like a hunchback. I am not pretty. The husband says the only reason he married me is because I’m young and can bear children. He is looking for a better woman.

    Lucee has a dimple in her right cheek and we see it all the time when she laughs. Lucee is my best friend and she takes care of me.


    --We don’t know the way. We will be lost and eaten by wild dogs.

    Lucee, dimple flashing, laughs.

    --No wild dogs will eat us. We will eat them.


    SMALL CHANGE, fiction chapbook

    Winner, Gold Line Press Competition 2016

    Copies at my book store, below, or at Small Press Distribution.


    Audio preview here!

    A boy crawls through a tunnel in the Gaza Strip to bring back supplies to his family and neighbors despite the high risk of the tunnel being flooded, gassed, or bombed. On the eve of the Arab Spring in Libya, a girl and her best friend disguise themselves as boys to train for a school sports competition, knowing that if they’re caught they will be severely punished. Four young girls, three of them pregnant, decide to escape their abusive husbands and attempt to cross from Morocco to Spain.


    Set against these turbulent backdrops, the children’s voices, apolitical, remind the reader of the distilled best of human relationships. With no resources and armed with only loyalty, guts, and tenacity, they risk their lives for their friends.



    Novel-in-progress set in post-apartheid South Africa.

    Here I was in love with Jan and I could not understand how it was possible, could not move away from the heat of him. We stepped over the invisible lines that separated us and, just like that, we were together.

    His eyes showed me that he, too, could not see how he had come to fall so suddenly, so hopelessly. It was as though his mind was trying to catch up with the legs that had already sprinted away with his heart. I ran with him. I did not question how we got to this place. For a whole month we blistered each other with looks and passed secret scorch marks when our hands touched. We finally skipped afternoon classes and went back to the apartment.

    He said nothing. Took my hands and put them around his neck,

    --Now I have a necklace of Motsumi.


    The opening chapter won the Africa Book Club October 2014 competition. Read it here.


    July 2014

    Arjun Kulkani brings his family to North West London, England, after Indian Independence. While he struggles to fit in, his family adapt almost seamlessly. When he is diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy, he suffers a further loss of identity. Even as his body fails, Arjun gains more understanding of his youthful impatience, his careless cruelty to his family, and how to love even those he doesn’t like.


    Excerpt: "Sometimes Sunila goes to stand at the bottom of the garden pretending to tidy up the compost heap, and allows the forbidden thought to come: divorce. She can only whisper it. It’s a bad word. Bad people do it. But in the Women’s Own magazine at the doctor’s office, she read that Elizabeth Taylor had done it. She’d done it so many times that it was just part of her normal routine. Get up, put on face cream, divorce Richard. How daring it sounds, so chic."


    Click here to buy a copy.


    Collaboration with Lisa Sanders, fine artist


    January 2017

    Prose-poetry and fine art

    The Shedding Fox

    lives in a shed and sheds

    She cannot stop the shedding so it is better and warmer to be here in the dull sweet-wood room among the thin-pale layerings of her-fur her-skin

    Sometimes it’s quiet and she thinks, my-fur my-skin falling, catching the light

    Because light is where my-fur my-skin colors and turns and changes even as it is dying

    That is the beauty of every great thing: to fall into color and die


    I recorded the narrative with the amazing Paul Tavenner and am now taking short videos for our video-o-rama together. If you'd like to be included (10-15 seconds of fame) wearing a Japanese Fox mask, drop me a message below!

  • Shop Now


    To contact me directly, please use the form below.


    Gold Line Press, August 2016.

    SMALL CHANGE does what great fiction should do. Rather than strive for newness for the sake of novelty, or reinvent language to showcase the writer’s chops, it approaches language in a new way because the material—struggling for life and love in the Middle East—demands it. Fresh, invigorating, and profound, I hope you enjoy these stories as much as I did.

    --David Treuer

    Fiction judge of the 2016 Gold Line Press Competition


    Each of Hunter’s three stories does what stories should do, using small moments in time to touch larger themes. Here the touching, sometimes tactile, sometimes cerebral, sometimes brutal, sometimes beautiful, presses against the Middle East, a place where turmoil too often touches its people. SMALL CHANGE points to big change with quiet grace, touching hard places and hopeful places.

    --Adam Berlin

    Author of BOTH MEMBERS OF THE CLUB, THE NUMBER OF THE MISSING, BELMONDO STYLE, and HEADLOCK. He teaches at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and is editor of J Journal: New Writing on Justice.


    Complete review by Adam Berlin at Word Riot here.

    October 22, 2016.


    Audio preview here.


    Interview with Camille Bradshaw of Gold Line Press here.


    Interview with Natalie McNair of Speaking of Marvels here.


    Video of Why There Are Words May 11 2017, reading here.


    What readers are saying

    I was so gripped and moved by those three stories, and they've continued to haunt me.

    --Jean Hegland


    The voices are unique and yet hit me in my solar plexus. In fact, I had to put the book down in some places because I was afraid to read further - feeling their threat was my threat. The topics are today's topics and written in a way that people can feel at one with the characters. So much so that when they finish the book and put in down, they are thinking not only of the story but their own situation within this world.

    --Joan D


    This is a 'small' book which could 'change' your understanding of childhood, as viewed from the perspective of children from other cultures who are facing adult challenges.

    --Amazon Customer

    These pics can be downloaded free. Please credit Zena Fairweather for the first two and Michelle Wing for the fourth one.


    Bios for re-use

    50 words:

    Sandra Hunter’s stories have won the 2017 Leapfrog Press Fiction Award, 2016 Gold Line Press Chapbook Prize, 2014 H.E. Francis Fiction Award, and two Pushcart nominations. She is a 2017 MacDowell Fellow. Books: fiction chapbook SMALL CHANGE and debut novel, LOSING TOUCH. Her short fiction collection, TRIP WIRES, is out in 2018.



    90 words:

    Sandra Hunter's fiction received the 2017 Leapfrog Press Fiction Award, 2016 Gold Line Press Chapbook Prize, 2014 H.E. Francis Fiction Award, and two Pushcart nominations. She placed second in the 2017 Katherine Anne Porter Prize, and is a 2017 MacDowell Fellow and a 2017 Jentel Resident. Books: SMALL CHANGE (2016) and LOSING TOUCH (2014). Her short fiction collection, TRIP WIRES, will be published in 2018. Her second novel, THE GEOGRAPHY OF KITCHEN TABLES, is under contract. She is is currently working on the sequel, FISSURES OF MEN. She lives in Ventura, California where she teaches Creative Writing and runs writing workshops.



    150 words:

    Sandra Hunter's fiction received the 2017 Leapfrog Press Fiction Award, 2016 Gold Line Press Chapbook Prize, 2014 H.E. Francis Fiction Award, and two Pushcart nominations. She placed second in the 2017 Katherine Anne Porter Prize, and is a 2017 MacDowell Fellow and a 2017 Jentel Resident. Her debut novel, LOSING TOUCH (2014), examines the double loss of identity through immigration and chronic disease. Her fiction chapbook, SMALL CHANGE, won the 2016 Gold Line Press Chapbook Prize. The stories are set in the Middle East, are told through the voices of children. Her short fiction collection, TRIP WIRES, that explores the lives of young people set against turbulent backdrops around the world, will be published in 2018. Her second novel, THE GEOGRAPHY OF KITCHEN TABLES, set in post-apartheid South Africa, is under contract. She is currently working on the sequel, FISSURES OF MEN. Sandra lives in Ventura, California where she teaches Creative Writing and runs writing workshops.



    • 2017 Winner, Leapfrog Press Fiction Contest, for collection TRIP WIRES
    • 2017 MacDowell Fellowship
    • 2016 Gold Line Press Fiction Award for collection SMALL CHANGE
    • 2014 Africa Book Club Award for excerpt from THE GEOGRAPHY OF KITCHEN TABLES
    • 2014 H.E. Francis Short Story Competition for "Against the Stranger"
    • 2013 Women's Domination Short Story Competition for "Human Voices Drown Us"
    • 2nd place, 2017 Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Fiction, for "Finger Popping"
    • Finalist, 2017 Enizagam Fiction Prize, for "A Girl Needs Spiked Shoes"
    • Hon Mention 2016 New England Book Festival, for chapbook SMALL CHANGE
    • Short list 2016 Bridport Prize, for "Fishers of Men"
    • Finalist 2016 Curt Johnson Prose Awards, for "Fishers of Men"
    • Finalist 2016 Cupboard Pamphlet Prize for collection CROSSING THE WIRES
    • Semi-finalist 2015 Lascaux Prize for "30 Below"
    • Semi-finalist 2015 Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize for collection CROSSING THE WIRES
    • Finalist  2015 Nelson Algren Award for "Jewels We Took With Us"
    • Finalist 2015 Tucson Book Festival Literary Awards for "Natural Sex:
    • Semi-finalist 2014 Tucson Book Festival Literary Award for collection SMALL CHANGE
    • Pushcart Prize nomination 2013 by Carve Magazine for "Human Voices Drown Us"
    • Finalist 2013 Katherine Anne Porter Fiction Prize for "Angel in Glasgow"
    • Finalist 2013 SLS-Kenya Contest for "Listening for Nothing"

    Professional Memberships: Greater Los Angeles Writers Society, PEN America, Association of Writers & Writing Programs, Hedgebrook Cedar Deep Giving Circle, Women's Writers Project, Women's National Book Association, American Association of University Woman.


    Agent: Writers House

    What I'm up to

    Work stuff: This is what happens: I set up the Traveling Library poster, lay out the books, look up and say, "The Library is open". And then get mobbed. I've learned to stand back while the students storm the books. So cool to see everyone excited about reading.


    Yum stuff: Donut Friend. A vegan and "mostly gluten-free" bakery in Highland Park: Custard Front Drive, Fudgegazi, Jets to Basil, Polar Berry Club and ice-cream filled donuts with fruit and nuts and, and, and. Great gift for friends!

    Random stuff: Back to bouldering. You meet the friendliest people at the gym. Must try not to wreck right shoulder again. Or hand, or neck, or ...

  • WHAT'S HAPPENING 2016/2017

    Westlake Village Library

    Diving In And Staying In:

    a 4-part workshop series

    Date: Oct 18th

    Time: 6pm

    Where: 31220 Oak Crest Dr, Westlake Village


    Such a great workshop -- thanks everyone for the amazing dialogues you wrote!


    Join us for the final workshop when we'll get into conflict!

    Free Poetry Workshop

    When: 1:00pm, October 14, 2017

    Where: EP Foster Library, 651 E Main St., Ventura

    Contest Theme: The First Time, deadline 10/31


    The Ventura County Arts Council is partnering with Ventura libraries to hold a poetry contest at each participating library.

    The theme is "The First Time" since there are so many firsts that introduce us to beginnings, transitions, new ways of thinking and being. More info here.


    Each library is offering free writing workshops to help you prepare your poems. I'll be hosting a workshop at the EP Foster Library for everyone who wants to take part in that library's contest. It's going to be a riot!


    39th Nimrod Int'l Literary Awards

    and Writing Conference

    When: Oct 20-22

    Where: University of Tulsa, OK


    Jazzed to be invited to receive my runner-up award, meet the incredible contest judges, Jericho Brown (poetry) and Lauren van den Berg (fiction), and the fiction winner, the fabulous Jessica Cavaro. I'll also be co-teaching at workshop with Jessica--yeeks!

    AAUW Luncheon

    When: 10am, November 11, 2017

    Where: Four Points by Sheraton Ventura Harbor Resort, Schooner Drive, Ventura


    Every time women get together, something great happens. The American Association of University Women is holding a lunch event to celebrate women writers at this gorgeous location. A number of us will be giving talks. Looks like I'd better break out the ballgown and tiara.

    Community Literature Initiative

    Reading and Workshop

    When: 8:15pm, December 11, 2017

    Where: USC Kaprelian Hall Room 137


    Jazzed to the hilt to be visiting these incredible students to read from SMALL CHANGE and talk about keeping your sanity in the manic world of publishing.


    Territory wants your new-angle writing on maps. Sweek wants micro-fiction about light. The First Line provides your first line. What more could an anti-submitter want? Grab the your shorts on.


    SINGLE SUBS: magazine title, genres accepted, deadline, pay


    32 Poems (single page poems): poetry; open; no


    Azure: poetry, prose; open; no


    Barnstorm: poetry, prose; open; no


    Bayou (snail mail only): poetry, prose: 5/1; no


    Bayou James Knudsen Prize for Fiction (entry $20): fiction; 1/1; yes$$, magazine subscription


    Bodega: poetry, prose, interviews; open; no


    Boomer Lit: poetry, prose; open; no


    Common Ground Review: poetry, prose; 3/1; contributor copy


    Concis: poetry, prose; open; no


    Crashtest (grades 9-12): poetry, prose, art; open; no


    Prairie Schooner: fiction, poetry, essays, reviews: 5/1; no


    Room (female experience): poetry, prose; 10/31; no


    Santa Monica Review (snail mail only): fiction, nonfiction; open; no


    Small Words: haiku, palindromes; 10/22; no


    Storychord: fiction, photography/art, song; open; no


    Sweek Flash Fiction Competition “Microlight”: fiction; 10/13: yes$


    Sweet Tree Review: poetry, fiction, plays, nonfiction; 12/7; no


    The Boiler: poetry, fiction; 11/15, 12/15-2/15, 3/15-5/15, 6/15-8/15; no


    The Fiddlehead: poetry, fiction; open; no


    The First Line (“I’m tired of trying to see the good in people”): fiction, nonfiction; 11/1, 2/1, 5/1, 8/1; no


    Territory (response to maps “and the fallacies they engender”); poetry, prose; 3/1; no


    Under a Warm Green Linden; poetry; open; no


    MANUSCRIPTS: press, genres accepted, deadline, pay


    Bull City Press ($28 entry): Frost Place Chapbook Competition: poetry; Jan 5; yes$, fellowship to summer seminar including room and board, and 1 week’s retreat at the The Frost Place House-Museum in Sept


    Prairie Schooner Book Prize ($25 entry): fiction, poetry; 1/14-3/15; yes$$ and publication


    Under a Warm Green Linden ($12 entry); poetry; 3/20; no



A Proud Member of the Greater Los Angeles Writers Society