Call for submissions: In Transit

Oh my, almost three months without a new post. No wonder a few people asked me if I'm still blogging anymore ...

(It also makes it funny that I was invited to a government event in January and then introduced as a "blogger", as if that's the only thing I do --- would you introduce someone at an event as a "smartphone user" as if that were their official job or designation?)

Anyway, here's a good reason for a new post: the call for submissions for a new literary anthology.
My co-editor Ruihe and I have been bandying this about for some months, so we're excited to finally get this off the ground (pardon the pun).

Call for submissions
In Transit: An anthology of writing from Singapore about airports and air travel

Airports and airplanes are places of transit – where people meet, say goodbye, where life-paths cross, converge, diverge. In Singapore, the airport and the notion of air travel have a particular hold on our mobility and our imagination. Given Singapore’s tiny size, going abroad for work or pleasure, particularly by air, has become a relatively common experience. And over the years, Changi Airport and Singapore Airlines have become cultural icons, closely intertwined with our sense of national identity.
Unsurprisingly, then, many Singapore writers have shared a penchant for writing about air travel, literally and also as a powerful symbol of longing, aspiration, and home – or homelessness. In fact, there is already a small but significant body of published poems by Singapore writers involving airplanes and airports, which testifies to the potential for a wider conversation across genres and generations.

In this context, Math Paper Press and editors Zhang Ruihe and Yu-Mei Balasingamchow are seeking previously unpublished short stories, poems and creative nonfiction for an anthology of English-language literary writing, to be published in early 2015, tentatively titled In Transit. We are interested in writing from a Singapore perspective about airplanes, airports or anything related to air travel, either as literal subject matter or as metaphor.

Some prompts to consider, though this list is neither prescriptive nor exhaustive:
  • What does it mean to live in and travel from a city-state so small, a commercial jet can overfly it in 3.25 minutes? Or a country often touted as having the world’s number one airport and number one airline?
  • What does it cost – in every sense of the word – to travel by air? What mobilities does air travel represent, in addition to geographical mobility?
  • Who (or what) flies in and out of Singapore, and why?
  • What place does the airport occupy in everyday life in Singapore?
Submissions should follow these guidelines:
  • The work must address the theme of airports and/or air travel, with a perspective from Singapore.
  • Writers need not be Singaporean or residing in Singapore, but works should engage with or refer to Singapore in some way.
  • Short stories and creative non-fiction (essays/memoirs/travelogues) should be 2,000 to 5,000 words long.
  • For a working definition of what constitutes creative nonfiction, please refer to this overview that we have adapted from Pooja Makhijani, the editor of another Math Paper Press anthology, Altogether Elsewhere.
  • Each poetry submission is limited to no more than three poems per writer.
  • Submissions must not have been published elsewhere, whether online or in print.
  • The deadline for submissions is 31 May 2014.
  • All submissions will be read anonymously. The title of the work and writer’s NRIC/FIN number must be indicated on the top right hand corner of each page of the manuscript. If you do not have a NRIC/FIN number, please contact us and we will assign you a serial number to use to identify your manuscript. No name, address or identifying marks other than the title and NRIC/FIN number should be indicated on the manuscript.
  • Send your work as an MS Word document (.doc) to [email protected], with your name and contact details in the body of the email. Please consult William Shunn’s article on proper manuscript format. Submissions in other formats will be deleted unread. 
Writers whose works are selected for publication will receive an honorarium of $90 per short story/essay submission, or $60 per poetry submission. Each writer will also receive two copies of the published anthology and a 40% author discount on further copies.

About the Editors
Zhang Ruihe works in education and has been involved in Singapore’s literary scene for over 10 years, serving as Essays Editor for the Quarterly Literary Review Singapore (QLRS) from 2005 to 2009, and winning the Golden Point Award for English Poetry in 2013 with her group of poems, Nordic. Her work has been published in QLRS, Mascara Literary Review and Singa, and she has participated in writing programmes run by Singapore’s National Arts Council, the Arvon Foundation and the University of California, Berkeley. She has been awarded a grant by the Vermont Studio Center for a creative nonfiction residency in 2014.

Yu-Mei Balasingamchow lives in Singapore and writes about history, travel and culture in Asia. She is the co-author of the award-winning history title Singapore: A Biography (2009), and has covered Vietnam and Korea for Lonely Planet. In 2012, she was editor of POSKOD.SG, an online magazine with essays and critiques on Singapore culture. Her first published short story, “Lighthouse”, was selected for the inaugural Epigram Books Collection of Best New Singaporean Short Stories (2013). She is working on her first novel, with funding from Singapore’s National Arts Council.

(The above call is also posted on the In Transit blog.)

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