Unstitching silence: Fiction and poetry by Caribbean writers on gender-based violence
Presented by the WHO and the UN as a global public health crisis, gender-based violence (GBV) is particularly pervasive in Anglophone Caribbean countries, which have some of the highest rates of reported rape and femicide in the world. Homophobic and transphobic violence is also an urgent human rights issue in the region. GBV can be understood as any form of violence and abuse – physical, psychological or emotional – which is rooted in gender norms and power dynamics. It can be inflicted on women, girls, boys and men in a variety of contexts. This call for submissions, cognizant of the vital work already undertaken in the region and its diaspora on GBV, seeks contributions to a fiction and poetry anthology focusing on the roots, repercussions and systemic truths of GBV as they affect a plurality of Caribbean citizens.
This phenomenon has long been a concern in Caribbean literary writing. However, the topic remains pressing, particularly at the present moment when the pandemic has intensified occurrences of GBV globally. This anthology seeks to extend ongoing conversations around GBV in the region, offering a platform for new and emerging writers who have something to say on this issue. GBV is a challenging subject to write about and to read about, and yet it a subject which requires more attention, reflection and debate. The anthology will ask: How can stories of GBV be told with both sensitivity and candour, in ways that impact meaningfully on those who encounter them in fiction and poetry? How might the sharing of stories empower victims and survivors of GBV? What are the connections between creative narratives that centre GBV, and the development of policies and activities aimed at reducing GBV? And are definitions of GBV shifting, alongside evolving attitudes to gender and sexuality in the region?
Possible areas of focus could include (but need not be limited to):
- Sexual violence
- Relationships and GBV
- GBV in inter-racial relationships
- GBV in the LGBTQ+ community (we would particularly welcome submissions on trans perspectives)
- Toxic masculinities
- GBV within religious and spiritual contexts and settings
- GBV in non-nuclear and non-traditional family structures
- GBV as it affects migrant communities
- Writing on GBV that deals with AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases
Poetry submissions should be 3-5 poems not exceeding 15 pages. Fiction submissons should be minimum 2,500 words and maximum 7000 words. Please send your submission to GBVanthology@gmail.com by 15 January 2022, along with a 50-word biography. All those whose submissions are accepted for publication will participate in a virtual masterclass run by Shivanee Ramlochan which will take place in May 2022, hosted by Bocas Lit Fest. Contributors to the anthology will receive a fee of £250.
Submissions need to be by authors who either hold Caribbean citizenship or were born in the Caribbean. Submissions must have been written in English originally; translations are not eligible. Submissions should be previously unpublished. Contributors to the anthology will receive a fee of £250.
About the Editors
Shivanee Ramlochan is a Trinidadian poet, arts journalist and blogger. Her debut poetry collection, Everyone Know I am a Haunting, which addresses and gives voice to survivors of sexual assault, was published by Peepal Tree Press in 2017 and was shortlisted for the 2018 Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection.
Lucy Evans is Associate Professor in Postcolonial Literature at the University of Leicester UK. Her research focuses on contemporary Caribbean literature and she is currently leading a collaborative research project, ‘Representing gender-based violence: literature, performance and activism in the Anglophone Caribbean’, funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council.
About Peekash Press
Peekash Press was founded in 2014 as a joint imprint of Akashic Books and Peepal Tree Press, dedicated to publishing Caribbean writers based at home in the region. In 2017, the literary NGO Bocas Lit Fest assumed responsibility for the imprint, which is now based in Trinidad and Tobago. peekashpress.com