Announcing the Short and Long Listed Proposals: September 2021 Call for submissions

We are so happy to announce the shortlisted and longlisted submissions from our September 2021 general call.

We received 226 submissions overall. The shortlisted submissions are all collections that surprised us. They are all quite different in tone and subject matter, but something they share is an original and assured voice. We will choose which submissions to go forward with from the completed manuscripts. 

In the meantime, we wanted to celebrate their work and say a few words about why each proposal captivated us. We’ll also be posting excerpts from the proposals onto our blogs over the next few months.

Thank you so much to all the writers who submitted for trusting us with your work.

Shortlisted Authors

Alice Merry with New Troy

Old and new mythologies are cut through by a direct and forceful poetic voice. We were all particularly struck by ‘I leave myself in the bull-filled room’ on our first read, with its pulsing anger and effortless transition from myth-time to the present day. This is a confident, consistent pamphlet with resonances that really stayed with us.

Twitter: @alicekmerry | Instagram: @alicekatem

An Paenhuysen with Things with Teeth

Bilingual experimental microfictions that make events out of interactions and overheard conversations. Accompanied by little illustrations and lino prints that take the prose further into the strange. We liked how the author understood exactly what sort of book this unusual collection would be and explained it in their proposal.

Instagram: @anpaenhuysen

Andrea Davidson with Eggnwise/Eigenwijs and other poems

Highly original children’s poems with recurring motifs, including a pet fly and a restaurant called Gloria. These poems speak to the reader like a big sister or older cousin, and the collection as a whole functions as a memoir or letter home. We liked the poet’s reflections on learning Dutch, and the coincidences of sound across languages.

Twitter: @ADavidsonwrites

Charlotte Wetton with Accessioning

In Accessioning history is constantly reoccurring at each instant. We were all in love with the poem ‘Private Tour: Haworth’, which knocked us dead in 5 short lines. Wetton always seems to know exactly which word should go where.

Emerald Liu with Liminal Intimacy

These textural, deliciously physical poems impressed us with their finely-wrought imagery. We enjoyed spending time with these poems, progressing through their compelling stillness and following the poet’s reflections on love, relationships, and their Asian diasporic experience.

Twitter: @emeraldxliu | Instagram: @e.a.liu

Emily Zobel Marshall with Bath of Herbs

Tender, protective, lifesaving matriarchal traditions are gently held in the arms of these poems. Marshall’s poems have a cinematic vividness. We particularly loved two, quite different poems – ‘Picnic’ and ‘Bath of Herbs’ – which describe shared mother/daughter experiences: one from a place of mystified misunderstanding and one with worshipful appreciation.

Twitter: @emilyzmarshall | Instagram: @dremilyzmarshall

Kirstie Millar with The Strange Egg

This narrative collection shows chronic sickness to be a wonky loop made of crystalised agony and hazy dream through its exploration and refutation of the conventions of epic poetic cycles. Gory, gothic weirdness delivered through spare and precise language. 

Twitter: @KirstieMillar | Instagram: @KirstieMillar

Milena Williamson with Into the Night that Flies so Fast

A devastating collection that stages the 1895 murder of Bridget Cleary. Bridget was killed by family members who said that they believed her to be a changeling or witch. Williamson’s revealing monologues include the voices of Bridget, the author herself, and the voices of the people who witnessed or were involved in the killing, as they account for themselves and their beliefs. 

Twitter: @milenaevening | Instagram: @milenaeve.

Simon Costello with Definitions of Love

Sensuous poems that burnish magic from ordinary things. Situated in a subverted rural Ireland, the poems take a tender, forensic look at masculinity, bodies and love. We were struck by the richness of language and clarity of voice in this pamphlet – both conversational and elevated. 

Twitter: @SimonCostello13

Stephanie Powell with Birthday Dresses

Our attention was snagged by the line ‘Birthday farts’ in the opening poem, and we weren’t disappointed by how the pamphlet progressed. Centred around the body, place, sex and girlhood, this pamphlet is full of textures and tastes. These poems take the weather with them; they are hot and evocative with a tender heart.

Website: | Instagram: @theatticpoet

Longlisted Authors

Anam Zafar with Me, My Friend and the Donkey

Christy Ku with Spacewalking

Claire Collison with Chemo with Sharapova

Evelyn Foster with snow white’s sons and other inclusive poems

Kate Hendry with MX SIMP

Kathryn Bevis with Taking Up Room

Kristen Phillips with Dad, You’ve Got Dementia: Conversations with my father

Laura Vincent with Otaua Gothic (or, perhaps: Microwave Gourmet)

Lynette Teo with Away from Fairies

Mari Dunning with A Change of Skin

Mark Wingrave with Somnambula walks on the planet

[Cover image taken from page 62 of The Children’s Book of Stars (1908) by G E Mitton, held in the open-source archives of the Gerstein – University of Toronto. Source: Flickr Commons]

The Emma Press is an independent publisher specialising in poetry, short fiction and children’s books. We are trying to make publishing and literature as welcoming and accessible as possible.
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