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“These regular anthologies ... are becoming essential volumes for fans of short fiction.”

— Scott Pack

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Somewhere This Way

Submission Call: Ghost Stories

Our annual submission call for ghost stories, featuring a general strand and a themed one.

Deadline: Open now. Deadline 31 January 2020.

Word count: 1,000-20,000 words

Submission fee: standard (see submission guidelines).

Payment and rights: standard (see submission guidelines).

How to submit: Use our standard submission form, and select 'ghost story submission' or 'Ghosts across borders' in the drop-down box at the start of the form.

This year we're launching a new annual call for ghost story submissions, which replaces our old ghost story competition.

There are two strands to the submission call: a general strand for all types of ghost story and a themed strand.

General Strand

Under this strand we welcome all types of ghost story, on any subject.

This year's theme: Ghosts Across Borders

There has been a lot of talk lately about the borders between countries. How we enforce them, choosing to build walls on them; or relax them and allow the freedom of movement. How we try to define them, and how we ask them to define us. This year’s ghost story theme asks writers to examine the subject of borders through the dark lens of supernatural fiction.

There are many types of borders: in the first instance we’re thinking of contemporary borders between countries, but it could be historical borders, or those that separate counties, districts, even individual properties. We are looking for stories that involve physical borders, though — or characters that travel beyond them. So no borders that are solely metaphysical, please: no ‘borders between life and death’ (that’s just any ghost story, after all). Don’t be intimidated by this rule: if your story strays too far from the set theme, we’ll still read it as a general ghost story.

So, to work. Send us stories that ask what it means to encounter a border or to cross one, to be abroad or to meet things from other places, that examine freedom of movement and its opposite ... and most importantly of all, tell us: what’s that moving in the shadows behind you?

If you want to tackle this theme without using the supernatural, we’d still love to read your story: just send it to us as a general submission instead.

Note: what counts as a ghost story?

'Ghost story' can mean a lot of different things, from an encounter with an actual phantom to more unusual paranormal phenomena and unexplained events. All types of story are welcome, so feel free to experiment: if you choose the themed strand and stray too far from the theme, we'll still read it as a general ghost story. If you stray too far from the supernatural element, we'll still read it as a general submission. Keep in mind that our readership (and by extension our editor) may be more likely to respond well to psychological chills and unexplained mysteries than in-your-face gore.

As always, we welcome writers and stories from around the world.

The stories we select from this submission call will feature in a future Fiction Desk anthology. If you've not yet read one of our anthologies, it’s worth picking up a recent volume before you submit, to get an idea of the range of styles we feature in our pages. Our latest, Somewhere This Way, is out now.

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