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“This was the beginning of the fairy tale, he thought…”

Assassination Scene, Jason Atkinson

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Houses Borders Ghosts

Submission Call: Stories about books

For stories about books, exploring them as physical objects and looking at the role they play in our lives.

Deadline: Open now. Deadline 31 January, 2022.

Word count: 1,000-20,000 words

Submission fee: standard (see submission guidelines).

Payment and rights: standard (see submission guidelines).

How to submit: Read the submission guidelines, then send us your story through our submission form. Choose the ‘Stories about Books’ submission type at the top of the form.

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Whatever kind of writer you are, something we (probably) all have in common is a love of books. This submission call is for stories that feature books and the role they play in our lives.

We welcome both realist and our usual range of supernatural and speculative fiction; the book(s) in your story might be physical or ebooks, old or new. Whether it's a cursed papyrus scroll, a love affair ended over the disputed ownership of a battered paperback, to the impossibility of finding a bit of peace to sit down with an ebook reader, we want to hear about it all.

Exactly where the book fits into the story is up to you: it could be central to the meaning of the story, a handy plot MacGuffin, or just add character and depth to the tale. Feel free to experiment, and don’t worry if your story only fits the theme loosely: any stories that stray too far will still be considered as general submissions.

If you're in need of inspiration, we'll be exploring aspects of this theme between now and January on our website. Sign up for our email newsletter to stay informed.

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, Houses Borders Ghosts, is out now.

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