The NLWC Carers Group invites submissions for its new anthology of short stories, memories, poetry, letters, and line art, all on the theme of CAREGIVING. Contributions are welcome in English or Irish.
We’re hoping for inspiring or uplifting pieces to publish alongside poignant and touching ones. Funny is always welcome, as are your tales of adventures & misadventures, and memories of significant moments as a carer.
There are no limits on what angle you use to approach our theme, whether it‘s helping parents with dementia, parenting special-needs kids, fighting depression or feeling blessed, helping a sibling with a terminal illness, coping with bereavement, or re-inventing your marriage after an accident or illness: YOUR story or art is what we want to see. More ideas can be found at the end of these guidelines.
The anthology will be published as a trade paperback of collected writing and artwork approximately 200 pages long, to be launched in Ireland at the end of November 2008. In January 2009, a companion e-book will be launched on our website, featuring the complete anthology plus additional stories, a directory, and an appendix of resources.
Our working title, 24/7, reflects the complete commitment that family caregivers provide to those they love. We’re assembling this volume for several reasons:
- To encourage and support carers who feel isolated or overwhelmed by their role, by sharing stories from others in the same situation;
- To educate new caregivers who don’t yet know what to expect from the role;
- To raise awareness among the general public as to the sacrifices, rewards, and challenges of full-time caregiving.
Memoir: True-life stories are invited in any length, though shorter pieces stand a better chance of being published unedited: even a single paragraph is welcome, but as a guideline, aim for 1,000--3,000 words.
Longer memoirs still have a good chance if the story being told is compelling or extraordinary. Because our membership lives in rural Ireland, stories with a like setting (or no setting) are particularly welcome. Letters or other prose forms are also invited. You may submit these under your own name, with a pseudonym, or anonymously if you like.
Short Fiction: Any genre or style, but no more than 5,000 words please. Excerpts (a novel chapter or scene froma play for instance) are fine, if the segment stands alone as a story.
Poetry: Any style or form, no more than three per author.
Line Art: The more the better, including abstracts, portraits, cartoons and comics, calligraphy, or doodles and scribblings. If you doodled while waiting through a loved one’s surgery, for instance, the immediacy of that might encourage someone else about to go through the same thing.
Only B/W line art however: we cannot accept colour or greyscale.
No reading fee.
All submissions must be the original work of the submitter: please do not send us any story, letter, art or poetry written by others.
One submission in each category per author please, except in poetry where the limit is three per author.
Deadline for receipt of entries is the 20th of September 2008.
We require one-time anthology rights, plus first electronic rights for the companion e-book.
Reprints are welcome, as long as you own all rights to the work and state where/when the piece was originally published.
Entries will be accepted by regular mail, e-mail, or you can tell your story face-to-face to the editorial team if you live in Leitrim, West Cavan, or surrounding areas.
E-mail attachments are welcome in .rtf or .doc formats (.gif or .jpg are fine for artwork) or embedded in the e-mail itself: please put ‘SUBMISSION‘ in your subject line and send to "pro" at "carersgroup" dot "com".
Typed or legibly hand-written entries can be posted to: NLWC Carers Group, Community Connections CDP, Killycarney, Blacklion, County Cavan, Republic of Ireland. Don’t forget to include a cover sheet with your name and contact information (telephone number, e-mail, and/or address).
Because this project is part of our Outreach programme as well as a fundraiser for the support group, the payment offered is a contributor’s copy of the anthology and an author’s bio published with each entry: you are welcome to promote your links, business or other published work in the bio, up to 100 words. Contributors and short-listed entrants will also be invited to be interviewed for the Carers Group blog and newsletter, and to attend the book’s launch in County Leitrim at the end of November.
The editorial team for this anthology will be led by the Group’s Publications Officer, Susan Carleton; design and production will be by our Development Worker, Hayley Fox-Roberts.
While we don’t want to limit your imagination or contributions, some topics which would fit this collection are:
- The moment you discovered (through diagnosis, news, or intuition) that you were now a full-time caregiver: how did you react? How did you feel? How did you deal with the news in the first few minutes, and the following days?
- Your first break or holiday: was it blissful relief or only more stress? Did your reaction surprise you (or your family)?
- What is the hardest thing about caring, for you?
- What sacrifices have you made, or what gifts have you received from caregiving?
- Imagine writing a letter to a new carer: what would be your advice, and what would you share?
- If a Fairy Godmother arrived and could grant you any wish EXCEPT to cure the person you care for, what would your wish be?
- What is your greatest hope, or your greatest fear, as a caregiver?
- What is the funniest thing that ever happened between you and the person you care for, perhaps a special story you share?
- Have you gained any special insight, or new philosophy, from your time as a carer? Has caring changed your outlook, or your life?
More information about the North Leitrim/West Cavan Carers Group can be found at www.carersgroup.com, where this submission information can be read in its entirety at http://www.carersgroup.com/submissions.html.
News and updates can be found at the group's blog which is linked from the homepage: http://nlwccg.blogspot.com .