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DIGBETH STORIES

An anthology of new writing from Birmingham

*** CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS ***

 

Writers of Birmingham, your city needs you!

 

We are bringing together the writers of Birmingham and giving life to the stories of this Invisible City. Our first anthology will be called DIGBETH STORIES.

What are we doing?

We are excited to be publishing an anthology of new writing focussed on Birmingham, and the post-industrial, ever-upcycling, ever-reinventing village of Digbeth in particular.

 

We have felt for a long while that the city hides its light, built as it is on modest foundations. Others speak for us, define our identity. Let’s speak for ourselves. We are so much more than the large city at the end of the London train line.

If the following statement for our project chimes with you, we want to read your words.

 

You’re late. The work has begun. Great engines arrived in the night, set up camp and began casting down the low walls, levelling out the rough ground scattered with hardcore that used to be car parks, factories, warehouses. Old plumbing has been torn from the foundations, the entrails of the past divining the future.

This city within a city, this throwback castle keep, is walled-off and wreathed with warning signs: no trespassing. But it is ours.

The canals cannot be touched. Not really. They can be covered but not lost. Waterways have their own topology. A steel curtain fences off the towpaths and wharves, but through the gaps buddleia sprouts, its roots splayed between the brick courses like the gangly limbs of many-legged beasts tapping into the veins of the place. Communing with the past.

Deep-down lie freshwater springs. A secret river flowing beneath, part of the city that often feels like a secret itself. A million people live in Birmingham, Britain, hidden away. No boasting Mancunian swagger or London indifference, no Northern pride or Celtic independence. Brummie roots lie deep in humble soil. A city built on commerce, after all. No time for boasting. There’s metal to be smelted and bent into shape, gun barrels to be proofed, wheels to be balanced, futures to be cast. All business.

Digbeth Stories embraces all this, holds it tight, compacting, compressing until all that is left is the diamond heart of the city. Digbeth Stories is Birmingham speaking out, because we never shout, clearly and concisely with purpose and pride.

This anthology focuses on Digbeth, the mystical, mechanical, creative engine room of the city, an ever-changing idea that welcomes all. We are looking for fiction and non-fiction, essays, memoir. All contributors should use Digbeth as their starting point, literally or tangentially, focusing upon the lives lived, businesses built, the changes implemented through innovation, war or planning, love or hate – history itself, and place Birmingham firmly on the map.

It’s place writing and people writing, a place is no place without the hands that build and rebuild, and those are your hands.

 

 

Why Digbeth?

 

We have chosen Digbeth as our focus because it represents a visible shifting margin of renewal. HS2 is coming, and the old is being swept away, whether we like it or not. There are stories here, stories in the cobble-stoned, weed-infested backlots of the businesses, pubs, construction yards, offices and homes of the area, and we want to read them. Show us all the complexities and wonders (however dubious) of life in the UK’s Second City.

 

What are we looking for?

 

Prose, be it fiction, flash fiction, creative nonfiction, essays, memoir, you name it - no poetry. We want your stories. We think the best pieces clock in at around 2500 words, but we’ll look at anything up to 5000 words. Our debut anthology will be around 250 pages.

What do you have?

A newcomers arrival account to the city?

A towpath diary from a sweltering summer?

A history of a name long lost who made their trade in Digbeth?

An urbex diary from real life (or next-to-real life)?

A horror story from the dodgy under-the-arches nightclub?

There are so many stories to tell, and we want to read them!


 

Who are we looking for?

Anyone with a passion for prose. It’s an open door.

When do we want it?

As soon as possible, but the deadline is the 30th of SEPTEMBER 2022

Who are we?

Garrie Fletcher, writer, Room 204 member.

Nigel Proctor, filmmaker and writer.

Peter Haynes, writer.

Is there any money?

YES! We can pay £20 for each piece we accept for the anthology. It may not sound like a lot but it's great to get paid for good work.

 

Formatting and where to send your work

 

Submissions must be double spaced in a readable font like Arial and saved as a Word doc. Email your work to: invisiblecitybrum@gmail.com with ‘submission’ in the subject line.

Idealy we like proper manuscipt format, some pointers for which you can find here:

https://www.shunn.net/format/

 

If your work is not saved as a Word doc we will not read it. Don’t risk a great piece of writing slipping through our fingers. Sadly, we live in the digital age and we will not be taking physical submissions.

 

What are you waiting for? Get writing!

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about

Digbeth Stories champions writers shouted down by bigger and brasher municipalities, puts their words on the map, is based in Birmingham and damn proud of it too. 

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contact

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Thanks for submitting!