The Emma Press

December 2021 Submissions: Short and Longlists

Congratulations to all the listed writers and thank you to everyone who submitted. Putting together a whole proposal is a huge achievement, and we’re so grateful that you chose to share your work with us. Please see below for details about the listed submissions.


Clare Pollard with The Untameables

Clare Pollard’s unusual inverted Arthurian tale challenges dominant chosen-one narratives in children’s fiction. The gorgeous poetic prose is grounded by utter mastery of the mythology and a contemporary voice. The sort of book that is rich and exciting for both children and adults, it felt like something very new.

On Instagram and Twitter as @poetclare,

Daryl Li with Past Lives

Daryl Li’s stories are just very brilliant, each one is surprising and strange. The strangeness never feels forced, only like a strong conduit for feelings that won’t go anywhere and need to be dealt with. Each story is meticulous and controlled. All the stories were very strong but we were very taken with ‘Ghost’.

On Instagram and Twitter as @nonstickpanda.

Jane Houston with Double Vision

We found this submission to be very accomplished and confident and we loved the gothic edge, laced with sweet lychee flavoured poems. We also loved the way that Houston wrote about the collection, as poems in which ‘each eye sees a different story’. Favourites were The Bridge series.

Laurie Bolger with Makeover

The tone, formal variations, the assuring quality of Laurie Bolger’s Makeover were all standouts to us. We were drawn to the faded imagery of past girlhoods and old new loves, and we were impressed by the poet’s ability to undercut nostalgia with a frenetic anxiety about the way things are/were/should be. Favourites included ‘Chick Flick’ and ‘Roadside Cafe’.

On Twitter as @LaurieBolger and Instagram as @lauriebolger_.

Lucy Ingrams with Field Music

Lucy Ingram’s gorgeous nature poems are perfectly formed little stories that remind us poetry is for everyone, especially when the words are as beautiful as these. Ingram’s use of space on the page is very sophisticated in the way it builds in breaths and teaches the reader how best to hear the poems. Faves included ‘the way gulls dissolve into sky’ and ‘minute by minute’.

Maya Caspari with Inheritances 

We loved the sense of a family history given by this collection, the way the poet was able to capture the intimacy, tenderness and frustration that comes with knowing a person so well. We felt the poet had a fresh and original voice and enjoyed poems that expressed considered and interesting perspectives. We loved the poem ‘Mixed Other’, about whiteness, as well as ‘Before’ and ‘Instructions for Writing to your Sister’.

On Twitter as @Mayamnc and Instagram as @mayacaspari.

Zaina Ghani with In the Name of Red

Zaina Ghani’s lush poems sit robustly, stifling, cloying, opulent, and then suddenly burst with juice. We loved the drama of these poems and the way the poems work together to express a clamouring need to escape a dusty, faded cage that no longer serves. We also loved the way the collection would lapse into peace after a series of intense poems. Favourites included ‘Hades at the End of Summer’ and ‘Moths of the Red Room’.

On Twitter as @zr_ghani.


Caroline Gilfillan and Jenny Copley with The Frost Man’s Daughter 

Daniel Skentelbery with The Acts of John and Mary Magdalene Apostle to the Apostles

Jess Bains with October on May

Joe Bedford with Hard to Love Another

Katherine Fraser Kirk with Making Friends With Your Feelings

Lizzie Holden with Salty Wine

Mark Russell with L’Chaim

Nikita Parik with My City is a Murder of Crows 

Rachel J Fenton with Songs From A Room

Katherine Wolf with The Marvelous Animals of Stranalandia

Image used is ‘Royal Bank Branch, Notre Dame Street, Montreal, QC, 1911’, from Musée McCord, accessed via Flickr Commons.

Pema is the eCommerce Executive at the Emma Press.
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