Cold Flashes: A Call for Submissions

Author and anthologist Michael Engelhard (latest book: Wild Moments) invites submissions from writers and photographers for a new project.

Ever heard the old saw “if you can’t say it in a page, you won’t be able to in a hundred?”

In these times, writers as well have to economize. Embracing the idea that less can be more, I am looking for short prose submissions for a new anthology—Cold Flashes: Literary Snapshots of Alaska. These are highly polished micro-narratives that explore the state’s many facets, settings, and exotic inhabitants, flash-frozen slices of life. They are fiction or nonfiction. Sweet as smoked salmon. Short as summer nights and winter days north of the Arctic Circle. The genres and tone range throughout the register: humorous, contemplative, action-packed, tragedy, romance, sci-fi, mystery… anything but poetry (as poets have an unfair advantage in this).

I will accept a maximum of two submissions per writer and might include both in the book. Maximum word length is 450 words. So, there’s no time for throat-clearing or verbal calisthenics. This is art in a nutshell. Think of these “word nuggets” as the equivalent of Japanese haikus. I am looking for the unexpected turn of event, the flash insight into human and non-human nature, for the sort of episode that could be the core of a novel. Submissions need to have a clearly identifiable Alaska setting or theme.

To get a better idea, you can check out a writing sample at:

Given the large number of contributors and the tough market, I cannot pay for submissions this time; but this it a cutting edge, fun project and a writerly challenge, and there’ll be complimentary and discounted copies of the book.

Flash fiction is quickly becoming fashionable. There already are numerous contests for it. Time is of the essence, and you don’t want to miss this new form. This collection is meant for sophisticated readers with little patience or time (and thus, very timely)—writing to be savored piecemeal at the coffee shop, on the bus, in the outhouse, waiting in line at the P.O., during breaks or breakdowns, while the children are playing, or in your tent on the tundra . . . Submissions should be marked “fiction” or “nonfiction” but hard to tell apart. Have fun with it, and please circulate this call to other writers and photographers.

That’s right. There is also a visual component, the picture that says more than a thousand words: black-and-white Freeze Frames that are eloquent as well as artistic. You may submit a maximum of two shots, as low-res jpgs or pdfs only, at this point. Don’t forget to title them, as this could be part of the narrative context. No Photoshop jobs, please. One of these photos will grace the book’s cover.

All submissions should include a 35-word bio and be sent to the following address:

All other things being equal, original work will have preference, but I will consider previously published material if the artist obtains permission to reprint it. Please indicate clearly whether your submission is original or has already been published.

The deadline for submissions is November 1, 2009. The University of Alaska Press is committed to this project, and I’m confident that it will come together nicely.

I look forward to your flashes of genius.

by Michael Engelhard

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