Call for Submissions: Short Fiction 18th April 2018 – Posted in: Blog


Dazzle me. Haunt me. Tom Vowler talks about joining Unthank as short fiction editor and what he’s looking for in short fiction collections.


I am delighted to join Unthank Books as Short Fiction Editor, tasked with commissioning single-author collections to complement an already respected and talented list. I also look forward to joining Ashley on Unthology, continuing his fine work in bringing you the best work of voices new and established.

The short story is probably the literary form that most animates me – its audacity, its mutability, its sheer transformative qualities. It is the high-wire act of literature, always punching above its weight, offering glimpses of truths other forms clumsily mishandle. Writing good stories is infuriatingly tough; writing a collection of great ones, a near impossibility. Yet still we try.

What are my aesthetic preferences? Who do I love to read? Sarah Hall, William Trevor, Junot Diaz, Annie Proulx, George Saunders, Helen Oyeyemi, Alice Munro, Colin Barrett, Daisy Johnson. Yet such a list merely brings into relief those absent from it. And besides, new voices excite me in equal measure. Those cuspal writers, whose febrile toil and alchemy has prevented their submitting work as a collection. Until now.

You’ll probably have appeared in some fine journals around the globe, your collection long in the making, for nothing of worth was ever achieved overnight. Your book will break me, startle and delight me. It will insist on its place in the world. It will already feel accomplished and authoritative, stories that possess great voltage, that kick and bite. Your love of language will overwhelm me, sentences that take residence in my marrow and remain there.

I’m partial to a messy story, or at least the illusion of such. Certainly I’m drawn to irresolution, because, well, such is life. And a ghostly quality, as Sebald claimed all good writing must possess.

Give me a story (or voice) I haven’t read before. Come dazzle me. Haunt me.

Send three stories or no more than 10,000 words and a bio to

You view our general submissions guidelines here. 



We’ve now been so inundated with wonderful submissions that we’re closed for subs until further notice. Sign up for our mailing list if you would like to find out when we reopen.


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