Be prepared for your submission! Take a look at what themes are coming up and what they entail.

For information on how to submit, please visit our Submission Guidelines page.

Next Issue: Australian Gothic

Submissions open May 29th 2021 – June 13th 2021
For release August 2021

Australian Gothic is a distinct genre that stands out against its European and American associates. Gothic fiction is characterised as a piece of work that includes elements of horror, suspense, death, decay, darkness, murder, mystery, doomed romance, and more…so how can such a bright and sunny country like Australia have such a dark genre of fiction? 

Australian Gothic uses the vast landscape to isolate its characters in small, quiet country towns or truly isolate them in the middle of the bush. It also recalls Australia’s bloody colonial history, drawing on the past and ongoing suffering of Aboriginal peoples to overlay the present with a sense of foreboding and doom due to the past crimes un-addressed, such as in Kathleen Jennings’ Flyaway and Kate Grenville’s The Secret River, and to some extent Alexis Wright’s Carpentaria. It also heavily relies on landscape to set the scene, for example The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham is set in the small town of Dungatar, Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay is set in a private boarding school in Victoria, or The Dry by Jane Harper is set in the small rural town of Kiewarra.

While a sense of unease is present in Australian Gothic, there can also be elements of humour and joy. Any readers or viewers of Rosalie Ham’s The Dressmaker might remember the witty dialogue between Tilly and her mother, or, similarly, Aaron Falk’s reconnection with an old friend in The Dry. Australian Gothic is not about constant bleakness and no sense of hope, but it is a genre that captures both the darkness and the lightness in the lives and souls of characters; the points of joy, love, and hope are made all the brighter by foreboding atmosphere and often bleak or ambiguous endings.

For this issue we challenge you to create an Australian Gothic poem or short story. The era, characters, setting, and plot is up to you, but the piece must capture the essence of Australian Gothic.

Other examples of Australian Gothic include Bereft by Chris Womersley, Day Boy by Trent Jamieson, My Life as a Fake by Peter Carey, and The Salt Madonna by Catherine Noske.

Upcoming themes:

Revenge – more details coming soon
Submissions open 28th August 2021 – 12th September 2021
For November release