Pure Slush invites love-inspired poems and prose

Heart leaf by Judy Darley
Indie publisher Pure Slush is currently inviting submissions for their Love Lifespan Vol. 4.

Submissions close on 31st August  2021.

Established in 2010, Pure Slush publishes print anthologies of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

When asked what Pure Slush is ‘about’, founding editor Matt Potter said: “Fun, humour, attention, absurdity, humanity, love, sex, more fun and more humour and more absurd humanity.”

But what do the folks at Pure Slush like?

Here are just a few pointers (and some editing tips): “Send a story about knitting that’s funny … and we’ll probably like it.

Send a story with arty, complex imagery … and we probably won’t like it.

Send an honest story about love or a funny story about sex … and we’ll probably like it.

Send a story that’s stylish but empty … and we’ll probably ask you to rewrite it.

Send a story about human foibles that’s real but has no feeling … and we’ll probably ask you to give it more emotion.

Send a story about war and the battlefield and we’ll probably yawn our way through it (sorry, but true!) … but send a story about the homefront or the army stores or the munitions factories, and we’ll look at it with renewed interest.

Send a story about desperation and we’ll probably like it, especially if it makes us weep … but send a story that’s cynical and jaded and comes not from the voice of experience but from the voice of hip and arrogance and well, it’s not going to do much for us.

Send us a ‘battle of the sexes’ story (he said / she said; he did / she did; how stupid are the opposite sex, hey?) … and we’ll have a hard time with it.

Send a story that’s 1000 words long but only in one or two paragraphs … and we’ll ask you to divide it further.

Or send us a story that is all reported (or indirect) speech – She said (that) she couldn’t keep her breakfast down – and we’ll ask you to make it direct (or quoted) speech – She said, “I couldn’t keep my breakfast down.” (What is this fashion for stories entirely made of reported speech? Direct speech is always more immediate and takes you there now!)

Send a story where you want us to love every single word and space … and not suggest changes … and, um, you will probably be disappointed and / or angry with the response. We enjoy working with writers who want to make their story better: writers married to every word can be tiresome.”

Got that?

Pure Slush Love pale pink book coverYour Love submission must be:

  • original, so previously unpublished online or in print (so that includes authors’ websites and blogs)
  • For fiction and non-fiction, stories and essays,150-word minimum – 1000-word maximum
  • For poetry, 80-word minimum – 1000-word maximum per poem – maximum number of poems you can submit is 5.
  • must include something about love … which means the characters can be any age, any persuasion and anything.

Find full details of how to submit your love-themed works here: https://pureslush.com.

Got an event, challenge, competition, opportunity or call for submissions you’d like to draw attention to? Send me an email at JudyDarley (@) ICloud (dot) com.

Submit your manuscript to Soft Skull Press

Sad Ghost Cereal cr Judy Darley

Soft Skull Press invites un-agented authors to submit complete manuscripts until 21st July 2021.

They describe themselves as “a home for projects that dissolve categories and hierarchies, provide an alternative to dominant narratives, and make room for new and unexpected ideas and feelings. We aim to create lasting and transformative relationships with writers, and to continually reimagine how a book can be written, published, and sold.”

They publish adult literary fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and hybrid projects. At this time they are especially seeking and encouraging submissions from BIPOC writers and underrepresented voices of any race, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, class, and physical or mental ability.

Authors of accepted submissions retain full copyright license to their work.

For your chance to be published by Soft Skull Press, upload your full manuscript and a statement of intent to their Submittable queue.

There is no submission fee.

In the ‘cover letter’ field, include:

  • A one-paragraph summary of your project
  • The total word count
  • A brief author bio
  • Your contact information

Please submit only one manuscript.

They welcome simultaneous submissions, but ask that if your work is accepted elsewhere, you withdraw your submission promptly.

They also advise: “Please send your work only if you feel it is ready to be read; we will not be accepting updated versions of the same work once submitted.”

Find full submission details here.

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw attention to? Send an email to judydarley (at) iCloud (dot) com.

Night Sky Press invites you to collaborate on a fictional planet

Iceland cr Judy Darley. A winter sunrise over a snowy landscape where everything is white, silver, blue and blackNight Sky Press is a brand-new, biannual, same-world anthology series. For every issue, Founders A’liya Spinner and Keith Nelson come up with a different unique and original world for you to root your stories on. The first issue’s focus is Orcanus: The Crystalline World, a brilliantly detailed creation designed to inspire your imagination and prompt a curated collaboration while pushing “same-world speculative fiction into an accessible, modern spotlight.”

Your submissions must, in some way, have this world as a setting or key factor in the story. “This is meant to inspire creativity, rather than constrain it, and we encourage authors to expand on the world’s provided skeleton in unique and visionary ways.”

Selected works will appear together in that planet’s anthology, reimagining collaboration to build a world from contributors’ shared vision.

Submissions are open until 30th April 2021.

The emphasis is on collaboration.  “As an idea, it’s as expansive as the universe we wish to create,” A’liya Spinner and Keith Nelson say. “Night Sky Press was founded on the ideals of teamwork, creativity, and openness to ideas that haven’t garnered ‘mainstream’ attention. For now and forever, our vow is that every issue will be a new and incredible vision, every planet will be a playground for inventiveness, and every author will be as greatly valued as they deserve to be. (…) We have created the skeleton and the sky; you will create the stars.”

You are invited to send:

  • Flash fiction and short stories between 500 and 5,000 words. Longer stories accepted within reason. Poetry submissions are also accepted, so long as they relate to that issue’s world.​
  • Stories about hope, discovery, mercy, love, and passion. “We love tales about the better half of humanity (or alien-ity!), but we won’t reject stories about struggle, turmoil, or conflict, either. We acknowledge that life, even in the interstellar age, isn’t all glory and tranquillity.”
  • The founders welcome works from authors of all backgrounds, and especially encourage works by and about LGBTQ+, BIPOC, disabled, and other traditionally marginalised writers and characters.
  • Unusual perspectives are welcomed. “Have you always wanted to write from the viewpoint of an android, alien lizard, or amorphous, sentient fog, but been unsure where to submit it? We love the creative, the strange, and the new.”
  • “Stories that take creative use of our setting, and expand, deepen, and enrich our world. Don’t be afraid to add your own flare, aliens, landmarks, and history within our provided framework.”

Along with the usual vetos on gore, sex and hate-writes, the founders comment: “Our anthology is open to all writers, of all experience levels, ages, and perspectives. Don’t doubt yourself or your work; we want to hear your voice!”

Find full details of how to submit here: https://nightskypress.wixsite.com/night-sky-press/submit 

Got an event, challenge, competition, opportunity or call for submissions you’d like to draw attention to? Send me an email at JudyDarley (@) ICloud (dot) com.

Flash Frontier entreats your sweet words

The Florist Elderflower meringue dessert by Judy DarleyThe lovely folks at New Zealand’s Flash Frontier magazine are currently inviting submissions of short tales from across the world on the theme of ‘Sweet’.

The deadline is 10th March 2021. Submissions must be only 250 words in length. Stories of 251 words won’t be accepted.

They say: “We are looking for variety and originality. Tickle us, haunt us, gobsmack us. Choose your words carefully and leave our readers wanting more. And do it in a small space. (…) We love original art in all forms – colourful and daring, muted and understated. We’ll choose art each month that reflects the theme.”

Send only previously unpublished stories, and make sure you follow their style guide to the letter!

To get a taste of what the editors like and get inspired, read Flash Frontier’s latest issue, on the theme of doors.

Find full details of how to submit your work here: https://www.flash-frontier.com/submissions/ 

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw attention to? Send me an email at JudyDarley (@) iCloud(dot)com.

The New Deal on Migration invites input from artists

Train station cr Judy DarleyThe Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) has put out a call for submissions from visual artists working in all disciplines to contribute to a campaign to safeguard the safety of undocumented migrants.

Find out more about the campaign and how art can help bring about a fairer future at a special event on Wed 2nd September.

  • Deadline for submissions: 9am Monday 7 September
    Notice of successful commission: 5pm Friday 11 September
    Deadline for completed work: 9am Monday 28 September (or later, as agreed)

If you have queries, please contact Ruth at membership@jcwi.org.uk

The JCWI says: “Undocumented migrants have been on the frontline of this crisis. Working in hospitals, as delivery drivers, in takeaways or care homes – the work they have done has been essential, but invisible.

The lack of papers makes their lives vulnerable. Cut off from basic rights – the right to healthcare, the right to housing, the right to income support – and incentivised or forced to keep working even when it would be safer to shield. The hostile environment has cost some people their lives – afraid to seek help in case they get deported – and put countless more lives at risk.

As a new normal begins to take shape, we are launching a radical new campaign that centres the voices of undocumented migrants,and calls for all our lives and work to be equally valued and protected, no matter what papers we hold.

Our major new campaign (working name: “a new deal on migration”) will call for a radical re-think of the way that the lives, and the work, of undocumented migrants is portrayed and valued. Detailed policy asks will sit alongside a communications campaign, designed to mobilise those who are already passionate about migrants’ rights and start new conversations with some of those who are not.

We are demanding radical change. We need your help to share the ideas within this campaign, inspire people in our belief that a fairer future is possible, and motivate our audiences to take action.”

Objectives

The team are seeking illustrators, graphic designers, photographers and other visual artists to commission for three briefs.

The aim will be to:

  • Generate engagement on social media. That means content that grabs attention and encourages audiences to stop scrolling.
  • Inspire and motivate – to spread the word that change is possible. “We have been inspired by creative campaigners from around the world and what we are looking to do is celebrate those who share their stories and inspire readers/viewers to get involved.”

    View the inspiration board.

    Download the creative briefs and guidelines.

Liars’ League NYC seeks stories to perform

Kalamazoo railway tracks by Judy Darley

The folks at Liars’ League NYC have announced a new set of submissions themes and deadlines for 2020. they say: “In a nutshell, we’re looking for fresh, character-driven fiction up to 3,000 words, except in the case of our Flash Fiction event in May, where the word limit is 1000.”

Liars’ League offers creative opportunities across the globe, with regular literary nights in London, Hong Kong and New York, matching up writers’ tales with actors and audiences.

Submission themes

Success & Failure – Deadline: Wednesday, 4th March 2020

Short & Sweet Flash Fiction – Deadline: Wednesday, 6th May 2020

Before & After – Deadline: Wednesday, 9th September 2020

Weird & Wonderful – Deadline: Wednesday, 4th November 2020

Simply send your story by email to info@liarsleaguenyc.com by midnight PST of the deadline day in either doc., docx., or rtf. format. Not sure what to send? It’s worth taking a look at the stories in their Archive to get a sense of the type of work they love.

Find full details of how and what to submit here.

Meanwhile, Liars’ League London are currently inviting submissions on the theme of Young & Old, with a submission deadline of Sunday March 1st 2020. Find full details on their website. 

Liars’ League Hong Kong are seeking submissions on the theme Terms & Conditions, with a submission deadline of Friday 24th April 2020. Find full details on their website. 

 

How stories can change the world

Mackerel skies over Temple Meads cr Judy DarleyGot an idea for a project that aims to boost civic involvement in government decisions? The Commonwealth Foundation is seeking submissions for their grants programme. The Foundation in interested in supporting a pool of ideas for advancing societies and offers grants to help make these concepts a reality.

The Foundation believes in the power of stories and storytelling for social change and will award grants for creative approaches that have the potential to influence public discourse.

Foundation grants can add up to a maximum of £200,000 over four years in support of innovative projects and approaches that seek to strengthen the empower of civic voices to engage with governments, with the potential to improve governance and development outcomes through their active participation.

The selection process is highly competitive and rigorous; selected projects will have been designed to undertake work that has the potential to lead to one or more of the outcomes in the Foundation’s strategic logic model.

An internal review process, including long-listing by the Grants team followed by a short listing process involving all programme teams, prepares a final list of applications that is then submitted to the Grants Committee. Final decisions on which projects to support are made by the member states represented on the Foundation’s Grants Committee.

The Foundation is interested in supporting projects that strengthen civic voice so that it:

  • Is more effective in holding governance institutions to account
  • Enhances involvement in policy processes
  • Shapes public discourse

Your project should address one or both of the following, and may include the use of creative expression to achieve project aims:

1. Stronger civic voices engaging in policy processes to hold government to account

Your project will strengthen the capacity of civic voices in contributing to:

  • Monitoring government commitments and action
  • Supporting the implementation of the sustainable development goals or other international agreements, and related local and national policy agendas
  • Advocating policy priorities to government that address gender and other power imbalances, disparities and discrimination
  • Strengthening participatory methods of engaging in regional national and local governance processes
  • Raising awareness and advocating for specific policy issues

2. Public discourse that will support less-heard voices and enable the following:

  • contribution to public discourse on development issues
  • access to policy spaces and/or platforms with the potential to amplify voices and influence public discourse

Find further details.

Submit to The Mechanics’ Institute

London Millennium Footbridge by Judy DarleyThe Mechanics’ Institute Review (MIR) is inviting submissions of short stories, poetry and non-fiction for issue 16 of their print anthology from writers across the UK.

MIR is a literary print and ebook publication that champions the short story as an art form, promoting diversity and opportunity for all while publishing new work of the highest possible standard.

This year they are inviting you to write in response to the word climate. “Are we living in a climate of fear? Is the climate changing? What does it mean to have a climate? We want you to take the temperature and send us your stories, non-fiction and poetry.”

They’re seeking unpublished short stories up to 5,000 words in length, up to three flash-fiction pieces, to a combined total of 2,250 words, a non-fiction piece (creative non-fiction, essays) of up to 5,000 words, or up to six poems, amounting to a maximum of six pages in total.

Only one submission per person per issue is permitted.

Submissions are welcomed from both new and established authors, but you must live in the UK.

The deadline for submissions is 5pm GMT on Friday 15th February 2019.

Find full details, rules and conditions, visit mironline.org/mir15-entry-form/

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The Island Review invites submissions

Desertas Islands, Maderia

Got a story inspired by islands, or ‘which explores ideas of islandness’? The Island Review is currently open for submissions.

It’s a literary website I drop by often, simply to relish their short stories, poems, photography, and Flotsam. I highly recommend it. Submission periods are intermittent, but they’ve recently put out a call for “fiction, non-fiction, interviews, poetry, photo-essays, illustration, graphic stories, cartography, music, short films – or a combination of these, just as long they’re inspired by islands, wherever they lie (even if they’re just in your head).”

So very enticing!

To find out exactly what they’re seeking, drop by www.theislandreview.com/submissions/.

If you have anything that might fit the bill, make sure you get in touch. Who knows where your words, images or thoughts might wash up?

The Emma Press craves your gothic poetry

Taf Estuary and mist cr Judy DarleyThe Emma Press are seeking poems inspired by the theme of gothic, for an anthology edited by Nisha Bhakoo and Charlotte Geater. Consider the things that make your skin creep – the uncanny, eerie and deeply dubious – and consider how you can give it a fresh and unexpected twist. Write it modern and unsettling, lace it with light, lust and loathing, or simply make your readers thrill to their core.

They say: “We are looking for uncanny poems that make us think about the gothic in a new way. We want to see dark poems that spook us to our core, as well as lighter poems that engage with gothic themes or motifs.”

Gothic stories are full of hidden urges and unutterable acts, but equally, it can be about the way light and shade fall on a scene and evoke a mood. They say: “It’s a big genre and it encompasses so much – think of Jane Eyre and Dracula, but also think of Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea and Nick Joaquin’s Tropical Gothic.”

I’d also recommend a look at Poppy Z. Brite’s splendidly sultry gothic fiction.

You’re invited to send a maximum of three poems by 9th November 2018, but make sure you follow these guidelines:

  1. You must be a member of the Emma Press Club, which means you must have bought a book or ebook from the Emma Press website in this calendar year (i.e. since 1st January 2018), or already have been accepted into an Emma Press book. Read more about the Emma Press Club.
  2. Place a maximum of three poems, each no longer than 65 lines, into a single Word/PDF/ODF document. Please only include text in the document, and no images.
  3. Make sure your submission is anonymous. Make sure you haven’t put your name or any biographical notes in the document, and be aware that you will be asked to rename your document at a certain stage within the Google form.
  4. Fill in the Google form, which is accessible from here. It will tell you everything else you need to know.

Find full details and lots of tips here.

The deadline for submissions is midnight  on at the end of 9th November 2018. Good luck!

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw my attention to? Send me an email at judydarley(at)iCloud(dot)com.