The Midwest is not just a place to flyover or pass through to more exciting destinations. Our goal with this anthology (we are currently in the process of finding a publisher) is to show that there is much more happening in the region than it may appear at first. There is a literary movement quietly happening: Midwest Gothic. To that end, we are looking for short stories that reveal the darkness and complexity of the Midwest.
While Midwest Gothic shares many similar traits with Southern Gothic and Gothic literature, such as the grotesque, characters with strained mental states, and elements of the supernatural, it is not just a mere transportation of these elements to the Midwest. Two key ideas inform Midwest Gothic: restraint and the unspoken. Emotional restraint keeps characters from revealing their secrets and also isolates them from others. A lot is left unsaid between Midwesterners–this is how they can be outwardly friendly, surrounded by people, yet still be utterly and hauntingly alone. Geography mirroring the psychological landscape is also an important element in the Midwest Gothic aesthetic. At first, the flatness of the landscape appears one-dimensional, static, and dull—until you realize the vastness is overwhelming, limitless, and eternal. The void can swallow you. Running underneath all of this is a current of horror, which is sometimes overt and sometimes only alluded to or implied.
If you’re writing in the Midwest Gothic vein, we’d love to read your work. Below are the submission details:
- Submission period: October 1 – October 31
- Stories should be no more than 10,000 words
- Please submit only 1 story at a time unless they are under 1,000 words, then you may submit up to 3
- Previously published work allowed
- Please include a brief statement on how your story fits within the Midwest Gothic aesthetic and your connection/ties to the Midwest
- Submission will only be accepted via Submishmash
We’ve done a few posts about stories that are Midwest Gothic, so take a look around if you want to know more about this genre. We look forward to seeing your work.