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Prairie Soul Press open for submissions until January 15th!

Prairie Devil - short stories - $100 flat rate

The archetypal battle between good and evil has been fueling storytellers for millennia and the first story portraying this battle that really grabbed me as a kid was the movie Star Wars. I saw it at the movie theatre when I was 7 years old and was consumed by it. The malformed, evil dark lord Darth Vader versus the young, beautiful, and pure of heart Jedi descendant Luke Skywalker. I can see how problematic these stereotypes are but missed it as a kid.

Over the last few years, partly due to the pandemic, I noticed that more and more of the things I believe in are being attacked by those who claim to be on the “good” side. Basic human rights for everyone regardless of sexuality or gender identity, safe access to abortion and reproductive care for women, social services and mental health support for the mentally ill, safe consumption sites for people with addiction – apparently all of these things are evil. 

This has bothered me a LOT and the news is full of stories of people being persecuted for not embracing the extremist version of hateful controlling religion and far-right politics. Things have been violent and depressing. Fortunately, we also have news of people standing against book bans, protecting drag queens, working to house the homeless, preventing discrimination in the workplace, and fighting back against hateful rhetoric. It feels like a never-ending battle.

After Prairie Witch was finished and out into the world, I knew that I wanted to do one more Prairie-based anthology. And it took a meeting and a great discussion with Jim Jackson earlier this year to really crystallize the idea. I want another anthology to celebrate my love of the prairies and my enjoyment of a scary story, but also to explore this bizarre shift between the perceptions of good and evil. I find myself on the evil side with a lot of really nice people. We’ve already established that I would have been burnt at the stake as a witch in the last anthology, and because I have read a lot of books about world religion, I desperately want to read stories that challenge the stereotype of evil, in particular, the Devil. 

The Devil can be portrayed however you wish – as person, a pet, a ghost, a demon, the neighbour next door – but the Devil must come across as the Devil. Channel the fire and brimstone, alternative lifestyles, satanic panic, the concepts of sin and damnation. The stories can be set in the past or in the present but must be set on the prairies and have the strong prairie vibe of the last two anthologies, both culturally and geographically. 

So send me your stories exploring the idea of the Devil but challenging the stereotype that to side with the Devil is truly evil. Maybe those good guys are the evil ones? It sure feels like it to me. Get political, get biblical, challenge the status quo, challenge religion, challenge pacifism. I want to read terrifying stories centred around the Devil and a better world for all set in the Canadian prairies.

This anthology is open to anyone who is a Canadian resident and lives in one of the Canadian prairie provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba). I would love to see stories from BIPOC, LGBTTQQIAAP, disabled, chronically ill, and neurodiverse people. I also want to see submissions from progressive older people because ageism is a thing that needs to be smashed along with ableism and the patriarchy. 

Stories should be a minimum of 2000 words and a maximum of 6000 words. Please submit in Word only in Times New Roman 12 pt font, double spaced and one-inch margins. Submissions sent in other formats or fonts will be deleted unread.

Stacey Kondla, editor

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submissions close January 15th, 2024, 11:59pm Mountain time

Prairie Witch

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