We have great news for fiction and narrative nonfiction writers: we are launching a new quarterly literary journal to be published in print and online.
The to-be-named publication will feature emerging authors from our writing programs, but will also be open to submissions from authors and writers of any background. With the goal of cultivating short stories and narrative nonfiction work that wrestles with themes of liberty and freedom, the journal will publish a collection of 7-8 short works each quarter.
Stay tuned for more details, but if you’d like to submit something for consideration, please adhere to the following guidelines:
Fiction word count: 5,000-10,000 words
Memoir word count: 1,200-5,000 words
Essay word count: 500-2,500 words
Must grapple with liberty-related themes in some way
Writing tends to be a lonely pursuit. Hours spent writing characters and imagining storylines doesn’t exactly count as social interaction. Plus, how is a writer to know if their manuscript is even working? The answer can be found in a strong writerly community. But if you are a writer that cares about liberty, free markets and the founding principles of America, you’ll find that your options for community are quite limited. Last year, I stumbled upon a little saving grace: the Calliope Authors Workshop, a program dedicated to fiction and nonfiction authors who share an interest in liberty-oriented themes.
And the Postal Service has just issued a new commemorative stamp… of Flannery O’Connor, who was once asked why her fiction is so full of freaks and replied that in the South, we still know a freak when we see one. She also explained her use of the grotesque by noting that “to the hard of hearing you shout, and to the almost-blind you draw large and startling pictures.” To smash cut a culture growing increasingly blind and deaf to reality, we do need shouts and startling pictures, which is why we need writers like O’Connor.
My dear friend and mentor Ralph C. Wood argues over at First Things that this commemoration of O’Connor is appropriate for such a time as this:
Her characters learn to “see” by discerning the invisible realities that are both the cause and the cure of the world’s misery. They discover that, as O’Connor herself declared, evil is not a problem to be fixed but a mystery to be endured. Our great temptation, in an age of “antireligious religion,” is to believe that, because we can repair much of human pain by human measures, we can also mend the human soul. Thus do we also blink. We benignly yield to feelings that, at whatever cost, must not be “hurt.” We cancel our very humanity in conforming ourselves to a happiness that denies both our moral perversions and bodily limitations.
Flannery O’Connor’s characters do not blink. Like many biblical figures, her central characters are not good country people or just plain folks. They believe and they behave strangely. They often find what they are not looking for. They are put on the path toward something infinitely more important than social acceptance and cultural conformity. They are being burned clean and made whole—not by a soft-centered tenderness but by the purifying fire of divine mercy.
Read the whole thing–and then read some O’Connor. Even if her works are not your cup of tea, there’s a great deal to be learned from them.