Red Wedge magazine, a publication of revolutionary arts and culture, seeks submissions for its inaugural short fiction contest, named for the great Senegalese fiction writer, communist, and trade unionist, Ousmane Sembène. God’s Bits of Wood, Ousmane Sembène’s masterpiece, fictionalized the great Dakar railway strike that spelled the beginning of the end for French colonialism in West Africa, and was published in 1960, at the height of third-world anti-colonial struggles. Sembène was a freedom fighter who used stories as his weapon. This contest seeks to help re-establish a tradition of revolutionary-left literature which consciously sees itself as part of the global upheaval that has punctuated our lives, especially since the crisis of global capitalism in 2008.
The judge for this year’s contest will be Trish Kahle. Kahle is a recipient of the Rondthaler Fiction Prize, the Niven Prize from the Center for Women Writers, runner-up for the Black Warrior Fiction Prize, and a contributing editor for Red Wedge.
Submissions will be open from August 5th, 2015 through December 31, 2015. Winners will be announced in late January. A $15 entry fee will be collected at the time of submission. Submissions received by snail mail must be accompanied by a check or money order (no cash).
The winning story will be published in the Winter/Spring 2016 print issue of the magazine and the author will receive two print copies of the issue, a $100 honorarium, and nomination for the Pushcart Prize.
All stories will be considered for publication even if they are not the contest winner, and all entries will receive a digital copy of the issue containing the winning story.
- Entries must be under 7,000 words in length.
- An author may submit multiple stories, but a separate entry fee must accompany each one.
- No simultaneous submissions.
- Work must be not have been previously published.
- The bulk of the story must be in English, although inclusion of other languages is acceptable as long as meaning can be inferred from context.
- Electronic submissions preferred, but snail mail submissions also accepted.
Instructions for submissions:
- Your name should not appear anywhere on the body of your submission (in the story).
- All submissions should be sent in Times New Roman, 12 pt. font, double spaced.
- Electronic submissions should be sent via the online submission form. Snail Mail submissions may sent to Red Wedge magazine, ATTN: Contest, PO Box 47872, Chicago, IL 606047
What is political fiction?
Political fiction is not polemic, nor does it merely imply the telling of intrigues and great men (who are somehow always men). In seeking political fiction for this contest, we are seeking a commitment to the craft of fiction, to the honest expression of our worlds, our imaginations, our futures, our pasts, ourselves. And we seek fiction that does not evade the deep-ridden contradictions of capitalism, of oppression and exploitation, but which, in the tradition of Ousmane Sembène, points us to them and says, “strike the hammer here.”
We seek fiction in the spirit of Nina Simone’s definition of an artist:
An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times. I think that is true of painters, sculptors, poets, musicians. As far as I’m concerned, it’s their choice, but I choose to reflect the times and situations in which I find myself. That, to me, is my duty. And at this crucial time in our lives, when everything is so desperate, when everyday is a matter of survival, I don’t think you can help but be involved...We will shape and mold this country or it will not be molded and shaped at all anymore. So I don’t think you have a choice. How can you be an artist and not reflect the times? That to me is the definition of an artist.