Western Press Books

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New Call for Submissions

Manifest West #5: Serenity and Severity

The editors of Manifest West #5: Serenity and Severity want your best work describing and expressing this titular theme as it relates to the West. We are seeking voices from all perspectives and walks of life in the West to contribute to our collection of poems, short stories, and creative nonfiction essays. In your submission, share with us your understanding of this classic Western dichotomy in whatever form you see it taking.

The theme brings to our minds the serenity of growth and renewal that follows the severe destruction and terror of a forest fire. We also think of the pleasing severity of our peaks and sharp precipices over our meadows' serene smoothness. A dearth of precipitation at haying time is what all ranchers pray for as the serenity of dryness is preferable to the severe hardship and danger of wet hay. During the rest of the season, serenity is a surfeit of rain to water that same hay; in drought, the lack of rain is the height of severity. Inspiration may come from concepts like easy or arduous, harmonious or tragic, restoration or desecration.

How do you define our theme? What is your take on this archetypal contrast? How would you express the dual sense of nature as it impacts our identity and shapes our character, lifestyle, outlook, worldview, and values? Are serenity and severity symbiotic or exclusive; is it possible to have one without the other? We want a wide and deep sample of Westerners' writing, so please send us your best work and share your voice.

For short fiction, literary or genre stories are equally welcome - we value both art and fun and want any well-written stories that relate to our theme. Short fiction submissions should be 1,500-7,500 words and you may submit one story.

For flash fiction, the same style guidelines as above apply and you may submit up to three flash fiction pieces totaling no more than 3,500 words combined.

For poetry, all forms are acceptable (including prosaic poetry), though we particularly love submissions in which form and content interact. You may submit up to 10 pages of poetry.

For creative nonfiction, submissions should be 1,500-7,500 words and you may submit one nonfiction piece.

For all submissions, remember that your piece must relate to our theme of serenity and severity in the West in order to be considered for publication. Please include a cover letter providing us with your name and contact information, as well as a brief explanation of why you believe your piece is a fit for our upcoming issue. You may submit in each category if you wish. We only accept previously unpublished manuscripts. We only accept electronic submissions in .doc or .docx format uploaded to https://westernstatepress.submittable.com/submit, and they should be in Times New Roman 12-point font with 1-inch margins. We will be accepting submissions from October 1, 2015 - December 31, 2015. Authors whose pieces are accepted for publication will be notified by January 31, 2016, and will receive one copy of Manifest West #5 as payment. If you have any questions, please contact our editorial team at manifestwest5editors@gmail.com.