Open your cupboards, flick through the well-thumbed pages of your recipe books, smack your lips against the saltiness and savour every last crumb. Next year, we will be publishing our second themed collection of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, and this time we want your words about food.
It can be sweet, savoury, sour – but food is about so much more than just the first bite. That’s something our writers have shown us time and time again in response to some of the culinary themes we’ve shared over the years – like NOURISH (Sept 2017) and FEAST (Nov 2019).
The careful process of preparing a pot stirs up comfort, while a meal placed in front of you acts as a reminder to pause, just for a second. Weighing up what’s for dinner can introduce uncertainty, as can deciphering a foreign menu in a new country or watching the etiquette of your fellow diners. Relationships can hinge upon a broken toaster, and can be pieced back together with an apology cup of tea.
We know that whole stories are made across a table and, because we love reading what women have to say about food, we want to create a collection that brings these stories together in one place.
Perhaps it’s woven into your heritage, a thread that ties you to the relative who taught you to make dough, or the memories of a meal always eaten around a table, elbows nudging against one another.
It can be picky. It can be tricky. Trying to find a friend in something we are told to break down to the sum of its parts. To navigate and balance. To ignore labels of good, bad, fast, slow – scraping guilt off of a plate the next day.
Food is the foundation of our routine, with meals hooked upon the hours of each day, ticking from breakfast to lunch to dinner – snack times, coffee breaks and emergency meal deals fitted in between. But it’s more than that, too. It’s how we understand ourselves: what stings our tongues or makes us salivate for more. Everyone’s relationship to food is different, and we want to hear about them all.
So tell us, what fills you up, Damsels?
Let us know by Friday 3rd July. Our submissions guidelines and a link to the submission form can be found below. We can’t wait to hear from you.
For this collection we will be accepting fiction, non-fiction and poetry, as well as everything in between, but please note we will be favouring long-form pieces of creative writing for this collection. We’re especially keen to hear from women of colour and underrepresented writers.
For long-form pieces of writing, the word count must be no longer than 5,000 words.
We are limiting submissions to one per author. Your submission must be previously unpublished work.
During this time, we would prefer not to encourage writers to develop a pitch that we cannot guarantee will come to fruition and so, unfortunately, we are not accepting pitches and all submissions should be complete pieces of work. However, we love working closely with writers to develop their work, and would encourage any writers unsure if their completed piece is the right fit to send it in for consideration. For more of an idea of what we’re looking for, examples of previous food writing we’ve published can be found here and here.
Dear Damsels currently exists as a volunteer-run platform, but we continue to work towards changing that and all writers who are selected to feature in this collection will be paid for their work. Being published is such an important landmark for an emerging writer, as is reflecting this in payment for their work. As this is the first book we will be publishing without crowdfunding, we are currently finalising a payment amount and will confirm this with the authors chosen for the collection. We are always trying to strike the balance between ensuring projects are financially feasible, while still providing opportunities for women who otherwise may not have shared their story.
Any profit we make from the collection once production costs have been recouped will be put towards DD’s future publishing projects supporting women writers. If we are unable to fulfil the costs of production, the collection will be published online with full payment being made to the contributing writers.
All work is to be submitted using the Google Form linked below. Please do not email your submission as it may not be counted.
Please send any questions to email@example.com
We will do our very best to respond to all submissions by Monday 27th July.
Find out more about our first paperback publication
Let Me Know When You’re Home: Stories of Female Friendship
For more writing opportunities, sign up to our mailing list – we send out a new theme letter every two months.