• The Publishing Post

bigblackbooks: Submissions Call for Issue #1, New Black Writing

By Jane Link


While contributing to The Publishing Post’s BIPOC team last autumn, I wrote an article for The Bookseller titled “All I want for Christmas is the death of lazy, diversity language.” In it I talked about how frustrating it is to see racialised people lumped together into vague, catch-all acronyms like BAME, BIPOC, POC and the like, terms which are only ever used in white spaces. “All too often we scrolled across well-meaning people using POC when they mean Black, racism when they mean anti-Blackness,” I lamented. Earlier that year, during the sudden summer push to publish more Black voices, I wrote an article for RaceBaitr about the need for Black input at all stages of the publishing process. “Instead of wondering when and what Colson Whitehead’s latest will be, readers should be asking how these Black-authored titles would be different if they were also Black-edited, Black-designed, and Black-publicised.”


It was partly all those frustrations reaching fever pitch in the autumn aftermath of that taxing summer—and my lifelong desire to see my first love, books, love me in return—that pushed me to finally roll up my sleeves and do some of the work myself. As Cassava Republic’s incredible Bibi Bakare-Yusuf tweeted recently, ”we need a movement, not a hero.” Enter bigblackbooks.org, the new Afroliterary platform and publication with over 1000 followers launched in February 2021. It is a multiform project with a simple mission: to build up the Afro-literary world and “pay Black readers, writers, authors and publishers their literary dues.” That means we are open to any type of collaborative work with similarly minded partners and accept requests for partnerships at bigblackbooks@hotmail.com. We are always looking for authors to interview, new writers, books to review, issues to talk about, genres to explore, new titles to shout about and whatever else you may have up your sleeve.


Our e-platform is dedicated to publishing and publicising quality reviews, interviews, essays, reading lists and other features on a new category each month. From romance and memoir to historical fiction and self-help, we love it all. bigblackbooks is conscious of how white genre categorisations exclude many modes of storytelling. Our ultimate goal is to trouble how we think about genre and build a world where we tell the stories we want to tell, in the ways we want to tell them. This October is for dreaming about elsewheres through fiction and non-fiction travel writing. November will be for slowing down and indulging in some poetry collections. December will, of course, be about challenging our ideas of religion through ‘Afrojujuism’, a term coined by Dr. Nnedi Okorafor to explore how many African ‘fantasy’ titles are not truly fantasy in the sense of fictional but rooted in African spiritual beliefs.


bigblackbooks.org has interviewed the prolific children's author Jewell Parker Rhodes, the award-winning YA author Dean Atta, the prodigy Chibundu Onuzo, the current National Book Award nominee Safia Elhillo and many more. We have worked with and published a variety of special features by the book world’s most talented book content creators and book influencers such as Mocha Girls Read, Amasyn Reads, Loc’D Booktician, thefemmelibrary, Nyam with Ny, With Love, Saoudia, aishathebibliophile, The Burrell Review, the inimitable Heroine’s Corner who is running BLACKBRIATHON this month and The Publishing Post’s very own Leanne Francis.


Our bi-annual digital and print publication is dedicated to spotlighting emerging Black writers in exploring a particular prompt through various modes of writing—fictional, critical, non-fictional, poetic and more.


Submissions for Issue 1 are open until 30 November 2021 and the issue will be published in April 2022.

If you are an emerging Black fiction, non-fiction, or other writer with few to no publications, we’d love to read your work. Here is the submission call:


Our inaugural issue will be titled New Black Writing. As you’ve probably already deduced, this issue is committed to championing new Black voices from Africa and her diasporas across America, Britain, the Caribbean, Canada, Europe, and wherever else Black people have blessed. People of mixed or biracial Black heritage are welcome.


There is power in numbers; in pan-Africanism; in Black internationalism; in putting Black voices from everywhere and anywhere into fruitful dialogue and communion. It’s both a terrifying and exciting time—economically, politically, socially, and of course culturally. We want to capture the trepidation, exhilaration, frustration, and perhaps infinite possibility of the now. We want to hear how you see the past and the future converging in the present, in the new. New Black Writing is a still of the Black moment.


From genre and literary fiction to op-eds and criticism to prose poetry and graphic lit to memoir and manifestos to hybrid pieces and literature-we-have-yet-to-categorise, New Black Writing welcomes the very experimental and very best new writing across a variety of forms, themes, genres, issues, and more. Attract us with your daringness and keep us with your craft.


We are a very new publication and cannot guarantee pay right now. We are hoping to change this soon and put the ‘paying’ into our mission of paying Black readers, writers, authors, and publishers their literary dues.


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