Thursday, October 12, 2006


I keep stumbling upon new writing deadlines. When I should be taking a break from writing, or writing the novel I'm supposed to have been writing for ages now, I find myself sniffing out (yet) another Call (or set of Calls) For Submissions to keep busy with.

Yesterday I mailed off (snail-mail) my entries for two poetry competitions, one in Ireland (Feile Filiochta), the other in the US (Dorothy Rosenberg Poetry Prize). I hardly make any snail mail submissions - which is not my fault since 99.5% of the submissions I make are to magazines/journals/anthologies outside Nigeria - outside Africa in fact, and it's a bother to have to mail off loads of work using the unreliable Nigerian postal service, NIPOST. Not to talk of the near-impossibility of getting IRCs (I doubt if we have them here in Nigeria, seriously!), and of course the cost of international postage. Email is far easier for me, so I mostly confine myself to those submissions I can make by email.

Good thing is, quite a number of excellent journals accept email submissions: Callaloo (for writers submitting from outside the US, but you have to query first), The New Yorker (surprised?), Glimmer Train, McSweeneys, Prospect (UK), Magma, and many small press journals in the UK and US.

If one is thinking of submitting to The Paris Review, Wasafiri, Sable, Stand, Acumen, The Rialto, Ambit, etc, you have to do it the old-fashioned :))) way. One way I worked (walked?) around the snail mail sub problem was to leave some money with a friend in the UK (on my visit in 2005), and then email my work (already laid out properly, of course) from Nigeria to him for printing and postage. I've submitted to Wasafiri, Faber and Faber African Short Story Anthology, TinHouse, that way. [Wasafiri was the only success :)))]

Back to my deadlines talk. Weighing on my mind at this time are the following deadlines:
1) Callaloo (one of 4 special 30th Anniversary issues): December 1
2) BBC African Performance (Radioplay) Competition: December 15
3) Castello di Duino International Poetry Competition: January 2007 (I got a "Noteworthy Poet" commendation in the 2006 edition, and my work is due to appear in the competition anthology)

And then of course there are a thousand and one other magazines I'd like to submit to: Paris Review, Wasafiri (again), Atlantic Monthly, and the big-name British Poetry mags (Ambit, Stand, The Rialto, Poetry Review, etc). And yes, almost forgot this, the Guardian (UK) poetry workshop deadline is Sunday (I'm a big fan - but it's been a Love most unrequited, so far...)

At this rate, I might never face that novel - not when I could always write more poetry and short stories! But I guess one could combine everything. I don't need to shut off every other thing to write a novel, do I? Well, I dunno the answer to that, since I have never written a novel before....ok, ok, ...that'd be true if we disregarded my THE MYSTERY OF THE DISAPPEARING BIRD (or was it a cat?) - featuring the Five (or seven?) Mystery-Trailers (it was my brother who created the "Down-Trackers"). I wrote that Blytonesque opus when I was twelve, and it, very sadly, remains unpublished... sob, sob. The world doesn't know how much fine literature it is missing...sad, sad...


Araceli Aipoh said...

Can't say much about the poetry submissions. I have never done anything like that, including for my novel (for the novel, okay, I did submit once - by email - and I think I fell into the hands (box?) of people pretending to be publishers...I'm so ashamed...that I swore I will never make another submission again. Never say never? I made the submission when NSOL was already published, so it was easy for me to just forget about the whole thing.

Anyway, please write that novel...

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