Call for Submissions for the new Inscribe fiction anthology, NEXT! (a working title).

Inscribe announce the call for original short stories for their next anthology of fiction, edited by the internationally renowned and award-winning writer Leone Ross.

The genre for this new anthology is speculative fiction. There is no specific subject matter or theme -- anything goes, as long as it’s good. What we are looking for is the weird and the unusual.

The anthology will be published by Peepal Tree Press in Spring 2022, under our Inscribe imprint, which focuses on publishing new collections by writers of African and Asian descent and anthologies of groundbreaking new work from Black writers nationally.


We define speculative fiction as an umbrella term, including multiple genres, where the writer speculates on or imagines what is not presently real or possible. This is fiction in which the laws of the fictive world are different than ours. This invites a whole series of political, social, psychological, alternate-historical and personal interpretations of reality. Speculative fiction, especially in the context of culture, race, gender or sexuality, can make important points about our real world, the present, the future, and wide ranging themes - from prejudice to identity, climate change to corruption, from family shenanigans to sexual adventures. Writers can consider writing in the following genres, and hybrids of those genres: fantasy, science fiction, horror, magic realism, the supernatural, Afro-futurism, dystopia, weird fiction, the carnivalesque.


A story about a woman having a hard time with motherhood is not speculative as this happens in our present, real world, but having her give birth to prickly twin triangles, a 100-edged hectagon - or a smooth sphere when her marriage is happy - is speculative. Giving birth to shapes becomes a metaphor for marital discord.

Who can submit to Next!?

Next! (working title) is open to submissions from Black British writers. Our broad definition of 'Black British' is simply one of self-identification: i.e., if you are a writer ‘of colour’ born, raised, living, or have lived in Britain and self-identify as Black British, then we welcome your submission.

Suggested reading

Nalo Hopkinson, Octavia Butler, Irenosen Okojie, Leone Ross, Karen Lord, Anthony Joseph, Nnedi Okorafor, the Dark Matter series edited by Sheree Thomas and Walter Mosley’s Blue Light. Please share your own suggestions and favourites on our Facebook page, or tweet @INSCRIBEWriters.

(You can read Leone Ross' story, 'The Woman who Lived in a Restaurant' for free.)

Rules and guidelines for submissions

  • Submissions only accepted via Submittable. Submissions via any other route will be deleted unread.
  • Stories must be previously unpublished.
  • A maximum of two stories can be submitted.
  • Length: min: 1500 words, max: 5000 words (preferred length 3000-3500).
  • Writers of any age or gender can submit work.
  • Stories must be new, previously unpublished work.
  • Please include a story synopsis, which summarises plot, themes and outcome (approx. 150 words).
  • Presentation: 12 point; double spaced: serif font; numbered pages; title on every page; name on every page.
  • A 50-word biography in third person on a separate page. See the example below:
    • Kadija Sesay is the Publications Manager for Peepal Tree’s Inscribe programme. Her first poetry collection, Irki, was published by Peepal Tree. She has produced an app. based on her forthcoming collection, The Modern Pan Africanist’s Journey. She publishes SABLE LitMag and is an AHRC scholarship student researching Black British publishers.

Deadline for submissions: 1 December 2019.

  • Longlist: Announced in March 2020.
  • Shortlist: Announced in June 2020.
  • Final selection: Announced in Spring 2021.
  • Estimated publication: March 2022.

*N.B. Terminology: In this context we take ‘Black’ to mean anyone who considers themselves of Black African or Asian descent including people of mixed race with at least one parent of Black African or Asian descent.


Note on the editor

Leone Ross writes magic realism, erotica and literary fiction. She has published two novels, All The Blood Is Red (ARP/Actes Sud) and Orange Laughter (Anchor/Farrar Straus & Giroux/Picador USA). Orange Laughter was nominated for the UK Orange Prize and named by Wasafiri magazine as one of the most influential British novels of the last 25 years. Her short fiction has been nominated for the V.S Pritchett Prize, Salt Publishing’s Scott Prize and the 2018 Jhalak Prize, Edge Hill Prize, BOCAS prize and was runner-up in the 2018 Saboteur Awards. Ross has judged the Manchester Fiction Prize, the Wimbledon Bookfest Short Story Competition, the London Short Story Prize, and the 2018 VS Pritchett Prize. Her latest work is short story collection, Come Let Us Sing Anyway (Peepal Tree Press, 2017), described on BBC Radio 4 as “incredibly rare, extraordinary.” Ross is an editor and university lecturer in Creative Writing at Roehampton University.

Note on the Series Editor

Kadija Sesay is the Publications Manager for Peepal Tree’s Inscribe programme that has produced Red, Closure and Filigree. She has edited several groundbreaking anthologies, including Six Plays by Black and Asian Women Writers and Write Black, Write British: from Post Colonial to Black British Literature; and co-edited IC3:The Penguin Book of New Black Writing in Britain, Dreams, Miracles and Jazz: New Adventures in African Fiction and Dance the Guns to Silence: 100 poems for Ken Saro-Wiwa. Her first poetry collection, Irki, was published by Peepal Tree Press and she has produced an app based on her forthcoming collection, The Modern Pan Africanist’s Journey. She publishes SABLE LitMag. She’s received several awards and fellowships for her work in the creative arts and is currently an AHRC doctoral scholarship student researching Black British publishers.


The first masterclass will be during the Debden weekender on 13 July 2019. The Writing the Unreal Weekender with Leone Ross runs 12-14 July 2019.

There are a few daytime places if you want to attend for the masterclass session on 13 July only.

There will be further masterclasses in Manchester, Brighton and London before the deadline submission date. Visit for more details

Previous Inscribe Anthologies

Previous anthologies under the Inscribe imprint include Red: Contemporary Black British Poetry (edited by Kwame Dawes), Closure: Contemporary Black British Short Stories (edited by Jacob Ross) and Filigree: Contemporary Black British Poetry (edited by Nii Ayikwei Parkes).


For any other queries regarding the anthology contact:

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.