Monday 12 January 2015

Submitting to UK prose anthologies

The Bath Short Story Award, the Bristol Short Story competition, the Bridport Prize, and the BBC National Short Story Award all have associated anthologies containing their short-listed stories. Below are some non-competition prose anthologies that you might aim for -

Magazines like the monthly Writing Magazine have calls for submissions to less regular anthologies - usually themed. Vanessa Gebbie pointed out that there's an open call for story submissions for an anthology to be published next Autumn by Freight books, on the hundredth anniversary of Einstein publishing his Theory of General Relativity - see the Call for entries (closing date 28 Feb, 2015)

A word of warning - in the poetry world people sometimes invite submissions for an anthology, printing most of what they receive and expecting contributors to buy a copy. Prose is far less prone to these money-making schemes, but it's worth sticking to the established publishers if possible. And of course it's a good idea to buy their books.

Tuesday 6 January 2015

A busy 2014 for Commane, Marshall, Nelson, and Gebbie

Some people were so busy during 2014 (and deservedly so) that even reading about their exploits tires me.

  • Nine Arches Press: Review of 2014 - Jane Commane lists the happenings of a very busy year. And it doesn't end there - yesterday, Daniel Sluman was listed as one of Huffington Post's 5 British Poets to Watch in 2015 (chosen by Robert Peake)
  • Becoming a poet - Roy Marshall writes a tongue-in-cheek (maybe completely true) account of what becoming a poet is really like (he should know - he's in many of the magazines I read)
  • Shutting Up - Helena Nelson reports on reading the latest batch of HappenStance submissions ("162 poets sent in work. ... 107 were female and 55 were male ... About 1600 poems ... I made hardly any offers. I agreed to do two debut pamphlets in Spring 2016 (2015 was already ‘full’) but both authors already knew an offer was coming ... I took 47 pages of (secret) notes")
  • 2014 round up, with special mentions - Vanessa Gebbie recounts her year.

Saturday 3 January 2015

Call my bluff

My Litrefs Articles site is looked at over 100 times a day, but some of the articles are rarely read. It's just dawned on me that most of the unpopular pieces try to expose the tricks of the trade. At how many poetry workshops are poets told to muddy the water by throwing in some obscurity if a poem doesn't sound deep enough, or add loads of white space if a poem's too short or simple? If the poets decide not to use these devices, at least they'll be more able to identify their use when reading poems, so I think the articles are useful.

The situation where these devices are more likely to succeed is when there's no penalty for over-use. Unless more critics are prepared to say that they don't understand something, or that 8 words scattered across a page are unlikely to work, then these devices will continue to be popular.