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The Speculative Ramayana Anthology: Call For Submissions

Zubaan Books

Requirements: Stories should be between 2,000 and 7,000 words and in English. No reprints or material posted online. No multiple or simultaneous submissions. Stories should be submitted in standard manuscript format as an attached RTF file.

Where to submit: Stories should be emailed to zubaan.antho@gmail.com. Hardcopy submissions will be ignored. Include the story-title and author name(s) in the email’s subject line. For example:

Submission: “Name of Story.” by A. N. Author

Reading period: February 14, 2010 - July 31, 2010.

Publication date: February, 2011

Payment: Rs. 1000 (~$25) plus a contributor copy.

What we are looking for: Stories that use the Ramayana in an essential and innovative way. As the anthology title suggests, the stories need to have an speculative element. We take speculative fiction to include sub-genres like magic realism, science-fiction, fantasy, new weird, slipstream, interstitial, etc.

We’ve mentioned that the Ramayana should be used in an “essential and innovative way”. By “essential,” we mean that the stories should be about the Ramayana, and not say, about the Iraq war. That being said, the Iraq war is a perfectly acceptable setting for a story about the Ramayana. Perhaps one useful test of “essential” is this: if the Ramayana had never been written, would your story lose its point?

“Innovative” means that your story manages to surprise us. Be bold. Courageous. We've read a lot of tame retellings. There are a great many versions of the Ramayana-- over three hundred according to one authoritative count-- and people have been telling and retelling this story for millennia, so surprise is a scarce resource. On the other hand, this is a constraint uniquely suited to the speculative imagination.

We are especially interested in stories with strong female characters and feminist perspectives. The Ramayana has generally emphasized male voices; it would be interesting to hear from other perspectives.

Finally, it is worth emphasizing that we care deeply about how a story is told. We’re looking for literary stories. Given a choice between an idea-rich but poorly-told story and a well-told but not-so-brilliant story, we’ll pick the well-told one. Of course, we are looking for stories with both virtues: brilliant words and brilliant ideas. The Ramayana deserves nothing less.

Rights: Worldwide rights. Worldwide anthology rights. Worldwide electronic rights.

About the Editors:

Anil Menon
Anil Menon’s short fiction has appeared in magazines such as Albedo One, Apex Digest, Chiaroscuro, Interzone, Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, New Genre, Strange Horizons and anthologies such as TEL: Stories and Apex World SF. His debut novel, “The Beast With Nine Billion Feet” (Zubaan) was released in November 2009. Email: iam@anilmenon.com.

Vandana Singh
Vandana Singh grew up in New Delhi, listening to tales of the Ramayana from her mother and grandmother. She now lives near Boston, where she teaches college physics and writes speculative fiction. Her short fiction has been published in numerous anthologies and magazines, and shortlisted for the Carl Brandon and BSFA awards. Some of her stories are collected in The Woman Who Thought She Was a Planet and Other Stories, and she is the author of the Younguncle books for children (all published by Zubaan/Penguin India).

About Zubaan Books:
Zubaan Books, based in Delhi, India, is a highly respected independent publishing house with a strong tradition in feminist literature. It grew out of India's first Feminist publishing house, Kali For Women. Founded by Urvashi Butalia, Zubaan was set up to specifically continue Kali’s work. Over the years, Zubaan has helped developed a tradition of Indian speculative fiction by publishing the works of authors such as Priya Sarukkai Chabria, Payal Dhar, Anil Menon, Manjula Padmanabhan, and Vandana Singh.

Resources:

  1. Valmiki's Ramayana. Online "Graphic novel", courtesy Amar Chitra Katha.
  2. Mandakranta Bose (ed).The Ramayana Revisited. Oxford University Press. 2004.
  3. Malashri Lal & Namita Gokhale: In Search Of Sita. Penguin/Yatra Press. 2009.
  4. R. K. Narayan. The Ramayana: a shortened modern prose version of the Indian epic (suggested by the Tamil version of Kamban), Penguin classics series, Penguin Group, 2006.
  5. A. K. Ramanujan. “Three Hundred Ramayanas: Five Examples and Three Thoughts on Translation” in The Collected Essays of A. K. Ramanujan, Vijay Dharwadker (ed). Oxford India. 2004.
  6. Paula Richman, editor. Many Ramayanas The Diversity of a Narrative Tradition in South Asia (online text). Univ. of California Press. 1991.
  7. Patrick Tiernan. Ramayana Bibliography (online)
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