It’s more important than ever that political and socially conscious stories – whether they be non-fiction or fiction – reach as varied a readership as possible. We learn more about the world the more we explore beyond of the liminality of our own experiences, which is why political fiction should be read by everyone regardless of age or status.
Here at Fly on the Wall Press, we’ve long been dedicated to championing the power that socially conscious publications can bring. Change is only brought about when voices speaking from all walks of life speak up on the issues that matter the most to them – and it is these voices, whether they recite short stories or poetry, that our Press was created to represent.
Right now, Fly on the Wall is open for submissions, which means it’s your chance to send in some writing that challenges prejudice and injustice. So, what do we look for in a submission? There are a few guidelines that you should keep in mind:
We’re looking for full poetry collections, poetry chapbooks, individual short stories, or short story collections. Whatever form you choose, the manuscript should offer a complete theme or story arc – a strong narrative voice and style certainly helps too. Don’t be afraid to make a statement either! In the past, Fly on the Wall has worked with numerous charities such as Mind, Street Child United, and The Climate Coalition, on an array of sensitive topics, such as mental health, climate change, and poverty. Your work must be accessible and engaging; to not be so would to defeat the point of being socially conscious to begin with.
Because submitting to a magazine, contest, or Press is often intimidating, we’ve rounded up some of our best tips here so you can ensure your submission is at its best when it reaches us:
- Your opening sentence or line– does it earn its right as the big first punch of your work? Does it leave something for the reader to unpack?
- Collections – start with your best poem or short story first, one that stands alone in terms of form or style. Does it embody you as a writer?
- Collections – does it have an arc from the opening poem or story to the last?
- What message or questions do you want the reader to take away after reading? What lasting impression do you wish to leave?
If you’re unsure about what constitutes socially conscious work, have a look at any of our previous publications. Alternatively, here are a few excellent titles we recommend if you want to educate yourself deeper on the world around you:
- A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
- Look: Poems by Solmaz Sharif
- Don’t Call Us Dead, by Danez Smith
- Romeo and Juliet in Palestine: Teaching Under Occupation, by Tom Sperlinger
- Hood Feminism, by Mikki Kendall
- Common People: An Anthology of Working-Class Writers, ed. by Kit de Waal
Find out more about the Fly on the Wall submission guidelines here: https://www.flyonthewallpoetry.co.uk/manuscript-submissions
About the author of this post
Isabelle Kenyon is a northern poet and the author of poetry chapbooks: This is not a Spectacle, Digging Holes To Another Continent (Clare Songbirds Publishing House, New York, 2018), Potential (Ghost City Press, 2019), Growing Pains (Indigo Dreams Publishing Ltd, 2020) and one short story with Wild Pressed Books (Short Story ‘The Town Talks’, 2020). She is the editor of Fly on the Wall Press, a socially conscious small press for chapbooks and anthologies.
She was listed in the Streetcake Experimental Writing Prize 2020; 2019 and for The Word, Lichfield Cathedral Competition 2019. Her poems have been published in poetry anthologies by Indigo Dreams Publishing, Verve Poetry Press, and Hedgehog Poetry Press. She has had poems and articles published internationally in journals such as Ink, Sweat and Tears and newspapers such as The Somerville Times. She has performed at Leeds International Festival as part of the 2019 ‘Sex Tapes’, Verbose Manchester 2020 and for Apples and Snakes’ ‘Deranged Poetesses’ 2019.