Tuesday, September 9, 2008


(Please read the entire announcement before submitting.)

In October 2007, Press53 published Surreal South, a trade paperback anthology of Southern poetry and fiction with a surreal bent. The collection was edited by the husband-and-wife writers Pinckney and Laura Benedict, and included the work of twenty-seven established authors, including William Gay, Ann Pancake, Robert Olen Butler, Rodney Jones, and many others. You can learn more about the anthology here (www.myspace.com/surrealsouth), and you can order a copy through Press53 or through online booksellers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Press53 has elected to make the Surreal South anthology a biennial event. The next edition is due out in October 2009. It too will be edited by Laura and Pinckney Benedict. Whereas material for the first anthology was submission-by-invitation only, the second edition – which will concentrate principally on the work of new and emerging writers – will be filled by open submission.

Like the original Surreal South, the new anthology will consist of work, by Southerners or about the South, that contains surreal elements. We're defining the term surreal quite broadly, to include 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.

We're also defining "southern" broadly, simply to mean that either the writer needs to be associated with the geographical 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.

We're looking for excellent prose fiction, preferably short stories. Novel excerpts are acceptable so long as they have narrative integrity. We're hoping that folks will pull out of the closet their truly gruesome fantasies, stuff they'd be too timid or embarrassed or worried to send to a more conventional venue, and send them to us. Submissions will ideally be between 3000 and 7000 words in length, though some variation is possible.

We're able to pay two contributor's copies of the book on publication for non-exclusive rights to the story. The work can have been previously published anywhere, in any form, or be under consideration elsewhere, or unpublished; however, (re)publication rights for the story must lie with the writer, or the writer must obtain such permission. If you do not own rights to the story, please do not submit it. We are looking for twenty to twenty-five pieces of surreal fiction.

We can accept only one submission per writer, and (given the volume of submissions we anticipate) we cannot communicate about individual manuscripts other than to indicate that they are accepted or rejected. We will not in any case respond before the submission deadline of January 1, 2009. All submissions must be in Microsoft Word compatible format or Adobe PDF. Send submissions as email attachments to surrealsouth@gmail.com. Do not send submissions to any other email address on this website.

A cover letter is optional. We are interested in the work exclusively. If/when we need to contact you, we will use the email address from which the submission came. The subject line of the email should contain the words “Surreal South 09 submission” and your full name. The file name should also contain this information. You should copy the email to yourself or some other address that’s accessible to you; if it arrives safely and with attachment intact at that address, then you can assume that we received it in good order as well.
We want strongly to suggest that writers interested in submitting work for Surreal South 09 should purchase a copy of Surreal South in order to acquaint themselves with the sort of thing we’re looking for.

Literary magazines and other such venues typically receive submissions from many more people than they have subscribers. Such magazines are, like the Surreal South series, labors of love that do not enrich those who create and maintain them. Those who wish to keep such venues available for their own work and the work of those like them should want to support them financially.

If you think that Surreal South is a worthwhile effort – and if you plan to submit work to it, then presumably you do think so – then it only makes sense that you should help to support it. We are openly asking that you do so. The continuation of the Surreal South series is directly contingent on the number of books sold.


Surreal South 09 is seeking submissions of prose fiction (3000 to 7000 words approximately).

Editors: Laura Benedict & Pinckney Benedict

Publisher: Press53

The fiction must be in some manner “southern” and must contain surreal elements.

All submissions should be sent as email attachments to surrealsouth@gmail.com.

All submissions should be in Word or PDF format.

Only one submission per writer.

Deadline: January 1, 2009.

Publication date: October 31, 2009.

Please feel free to copy and post these guidelines anywhere you believe that interested writers will see them. Please do not alter or truncate them. Thank you!

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