I’m very, very excited to announce that this year I am judging the Carmel Bird Short Fiction Award for Spineless Wonders. The winner and shortlisted stories will be considered for publication in the Spineless Wonders annual anthology, which I have already been putting together, and trust me, you want to be published alongside these writers! The winner will also receive $500.
Entries close on 31 July 2013. Please read the submission guidelines very carefully, and do not send stories directly to me. I will be reading them blind.
So what’s the theme?
A woman driving across country sees the same hitchhiker again and again; another woman takes an elevator to a strange, deserted floor of a department building to be sold a busted thimble by a mannequin; the people on a quiet street begin to accuse each other of being aliens after the electricity goes off… these are some of the (trademarked) adventures in the realm of The Twilight Zone.
Watching and being spooked by these stories is a child in a lounge room at the bottom of the world. The settings are familiar, but also slightly strange. The child is used to these accents (except perhaps the way the presenter, Rod Serling, says Zyone) but it is not the way she speaks. She has heard that the water in her toilet even goes in a different direction. She suspects that, on this side of the world, they may be closer to the Zone than anyone suspects.
The ‘fifth dimension’ of The Twilight Zone, Rod Serling often said, was also the realm of imagination. And as anyone blessed/cursed with a good imagination may know, fear of the unknown or the inexplicable may not only keep you awake at night, but may compel you to write. Serling, and other writers on the show, developed frightening scenarios, and often with more than entertainment in mind. Episodes of The Twilight Zone are often metaphors for equality, justice, the nuclear threat and more. Though they are just as often pure, spooky fun.
You are being invited into the zone. You are invited to be inspired by it, by its mood, themes, characters, settings, symbols, liberal ideas, strangeness and openness; but you should also ponder the zone in relation to your own particular context. This competition invites zone-style, or zone-inspired stories from the bottom of the world. The ensuing collection will acknowledge the undeniable cultural influence of memorable American programs like TZ on our lives ‘down under’, but it will also engage with the way we appropriate the messages within them in our own context, and our own lives (and in regards to our own ‘uneasiness’). Your story can be set in any era, and any place (though our rich and varied landscape could provide so many great potential zones).
I’m looking forward to reading your stories…