Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Call for Submissions: Surreal South

Surreal South Submission Guidelines
Press 53 . PO Box 30314, Winston-Salem, NC 27130-0314

Link to submit work for this anthology can be found here.

“The man who cannot visualize a horse galloping on a tomato is an idiot.”

—Andre Breton

Step into, say, 90% of university writing workshops, and you’ll find the students interested in writing outside the lines slumped in their seats, looking like they’ve been pelted with rocks. For many decades now, realism has been the order of the day for those teaching serious fiction. Disappointing, isn’t it? Our children are drawn to the fantastic, and naturally blend it with their own daily reality. So we immerse them in games and literature that excite their imagination... until it’s time to write. Then we toss a big, fat brick of realism at them and wonder why their prose has all the sparkle of desiccated mouse turds.

We put together the first edition of Surreal South in 2007 to provide a legitimate platform for untethered work. Many of those first contributors, like Robert Olen Butler, Julianna Baggott, and William Gay, had long experience letting the surreal shine through their writing. For others, like Kyle Minor, had never before published stories with surreal elements. Kyle's story, “The Truth and All Its Ugly,” changes just a single aspect of the real world: a person can order up a robotic version of a departed loved one if he so desires. When Kyle’s protagonist replaces his dead son with a robotic look-alike, the result is poignant, literary perfection.

With Surreal South ’09, we focused on new, emerging writers like Oscar Hokeah and Becky Hagenston, whose story, “Anthony”—the tale of a little girl with the ghost of a young black man living in her tummy—makes us smile every time someone mentions it.

Surrealism is not just reality with a twist; it’s a new reality that’s both seamless and shameless. Unafraid. For the 2011 edition, we are specifically looking for monster or ghost stories.

Our definition of the surreal includes dream stories, horror stories, monster stories, insanity, magical realism, the distorted, the peculiar, the impossible, and the irrational. We have as part of our mandate some small reconciliation between so-called "genre" fiction and so-called "literary" fiction. The southern part? The writer needs to be associated with the geographical American south (born, living, spent time in prison or otherwise dallied somewhere south of the Mason-Dixon) or the material needs to be plainly set in or derived from the South.

There’s one thing we can’t stress enough: We’re not looking for standard literary, fantasy, or crime stories. We want your dreamworld visions told in prose that will blow us away. Take a look at one of the first two editions of Surreal South. Buy, beg, or borrow at least one of them, because we’re very specific about what we’re looking for. We receive lots of terrific Southern stories without much in the way of surreal content, and that’s disappointing, because we simply can’t use them.

We require non-exclusive print and ebook rights to each story. While preference will be given to new, original work, we will consider work that has been published elsewhere. You must currently own free and clear rights to the piece. We will not be able to negotiate with other publishers.

What will you get for your efforts? Not a hell of a lot by commercial standards. A contributor’s copy, and a nice discount from our kind and very patient publisher, Press 53. Press 53 will also give you a fifty-dollar website credit so you can sample/give/enjoy more of their terrific books. We have excellent taste, and high standards, so you’ll be part of a select group of writers doing something very cool. You could ask for more, but why would you want to?

Beware: if you send us anything resembling desiccated mouse turds, we will make fun of you.


Surreal South ’11 seeks submissions of prose fiction of 1000 to around 7000 words.

The fiction or the author must be in some manner southern, and the work must contain surreal elements.

Content must reflect the Ghost and Monsters theme.

All submissions should be submitted through the submission link posted above. No other method of submission—snail mail, email, thought-transmission, etc.—is acceptable.

Only one submission per writer.

Submitter must own/control print and ebook rights to the work.

Submission must contain these elements, and these elements only:

a.The story or self-contained novel excerpt of 1000-7000 words.
b. Author bio (no longer than 250 words).
c.Story note relating to the origin of the story and its surreal elements.
d.Information on the publishing history of the story (if applicable).

Submission deadline: March 15, 2011

Publication date (ebook and print): October 31, 2011

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