Deadline June 1st 2022
open call for xeno short stories (animal series)
“There is no limit to the extent to which we can think ourselves into being of another. There are no bounds to the sympathetic imagination.”
Coetzee, The Lives of Animals
Non-human animals have played an important role in western culture, from children’s fables to cartoon and movie characters in popular and occult media. More worldly spread we represent animals as beings that bring us happiness and companionship, how many tiktok videos appear on your feed (if you have social media) of usually domesticated or captive animals being cute and silly, making us laugh or cry, hypnotizing us with their facial expressions and body language. It is undeniable that we have generated a very humanistic relationship with specific animals (mainly mammals) in today’s capitalist culture.
We usually see these animal representations responding to human emotions, conflicts and needs. But a very important part of how we relate to animals in capitalism gets buried underneath all of these anthropomorphizing tactics imposed on non-human bodies and voices. These popular strategies suppress a deeper understanding of how these other sentient beings may perceive the world. But what if we were to anthropomorphize on a less human centered level? Even though every time we try to speak through a non-human voice we have to accept the impossibility of truly inhabiting another being’s vital experience, we can find ways through creative practice to expand the way we sympathize or empathize with non-human animals. Xeno fiction proposes an exercise of placing our imagination, and with it our body, inside another’s perspective.
This open call aims to convene writers and non-writers that would like to experiment with animal embodiment through literary works. We are looking for short stories in which the narrator is a non-human animal, to be published and distributed by Cthulhu Books.
Deadline: June 1st 2022
Benefits: We will publish in print the collection of the stories selected to be distributed internationally. Selected authors will be given full scholarships to two of our seminars during our academic season of 2022 and 2023. They will also receive five copies of the printed publication.
How to submit:
- Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “title_XENOFICTION”
- For this first phase we ask for a sinopsis, or fragments of a potential or existing text, or a proposal for a story. Word limit for this phase: between 250 and 500 words.
- Please submit your proposal in .docx, .doc, or .odt format.
- Please include a short author bio in the body of the email.
- If your proposal is selected we will get in contact to further discuss this opportunity and specifications.
- If you are applying with illustration, alongside your proposal please send a sample or portfolio.
Multiple and simultaneous submissions:
It's perfectly fine to send us more than one story. You should send each story in a separate email, and each one will be considered a separate submission.
Simultaneous submissions are accepted. However, notify us promptly if your work is accepted elsewhere; send an email to email@example.com with the subject line "withdrawal".
International submissions and translations: We are a bilingual platform, so we are open to texts in both English and Spanish. The final edition will keep the original language of the text. Feel free to send texts mixing both languages.
We ask for first serial rights on any story we publish. This means that the story should not have appeared anywhere else, either in print or online (which includes publication on an author's own website). When we publish a story, we ask for a brief period of exclusivity (usually one year), and the right to keep the story in print as part of the anthology. We don't ask for more rights than we need to produce our anthologies, or place any limits on what you can do with your story after the exclusivity period. Copyright always remains with the author.
Illustrations by: Marina González