Thank you for considering Proximity for the publication of your true stories. We encourage the submission of original work from everyone—especially women, writers of color, and marginalized individuals, including gender-nonconforming and LGBTQ writers. We are committed to intersectionality and our founding mission.
Guidelines: Submissions must be previously unpublished (#) and submitted to Proximity for publication in one of the following categories: long-form (6,000 words maximum), mid-range (2,000 words maximum), flash (500 words maximum), or photo essay/multimedia. Multiple submissions and alternative forms of true stories are welcome and encouraged. #PleaseNote: Although we do not accept previously published work, we do make exceptions for book excerpts from books slated for publication or published no more than three years ago. ** See the Proximity website for frequently asked questions.
Issue 15 | Theme: CAMP
Editor: Brad Aaron Modlin (Guest Editor)
February 15, 2017 extended to March 14, 2017.
We’ve all gone to camp. Summer camp. Band camp. Space Camp. A campout with coworkers. S’mores over the kitchen stove. A campfire song sung on the subway. Or a ghost story whispered to nephews in a restaurant. The word “camp” comes in many forms. A team of people who rally around a cause or candidate may be called a “camp.” “cAMP” is a biochemical messenger that adrenaline sets into action. And what about “camp” as exaggerated performance? (The over-the-top lip-sync; the front lawn full of gnomes and pink flamingos; what Christopher Isherwood described as “expressing what’s basically serious to you in terms of fun and artifice and elegance”; what Susan Sontag compared to “a woman walking around in a dress made of three million feathers.”) And what about military camps? Refugee camps? Camp meetings? However it’s used, camp might suggest one simple truth: no matter where we are now, we’re on the verge of being somewhere else. For this issue, we welcome true stories that fall under the big tent of camp in any of its forms.
And don’t forget: Proximity seeks a strong sense of place, so keep that in mind as you send us your essays, images, reportage, flash nonfiction, poems, and multimedia around the theme CAMP.
Guest Editor BRAD AARON MODLIN is the author of Everyone at This Party Has Two Names – winner of the Cowles Poetry Prize – and the author of Surviving in Drought – a small collection of stories that won The Cupboard’s annual contest. His nonfiction has appeared in River Teeth, Florida Review, Proximity, Fourth Genre, DIAGRAM, and others. Brad earned his MFA from Bowling Green State and his PhD from Ohio University. He currently lives in Joplin, Missouri, and teaches creative writing at Missouri Southern State University.
Issue 16 | 2017 Prize Issue — WORK
Editor: Carrie Kilman
Personal Essay Deadline: May 1, 2017 | Narrative Journalism Deadline: July 01, 2017
Prize Judges: Adriana E. Ramirez (personal essay) and Ted Conover (narrative journalism)
For its second annual prize issue, Proximity is looking for true stories that explore the theme of WORK. Work defines our lives and our livelihoods. Work is labor. Work is art. Work is paid or unpaid, public or private or under the table. Work is at the heart of healthy relationships. Work puts food on the table. Work takes us out of our comfort zones. Work is political.
We’re looking for true stories that explore the many interpretations of WORK. All in a day’s work. Hard work. Dirty work. Grunt work. A piece of work. Work spouse. It’s good work if you can get it. Work your ass off. Work your way up. Keep up the good work. Work out. Work nights. Work like a dog. Work yourself up. Work wonders. Work together. Work ’til you drop.
As always, we seek stories across a wide range of forms with a strong sense of place — so keep that in mind as you send us your personal essays, photo essays, reportage, flash nonfiction, true poems, and multimedia around the theme of WORK.
Do you have a WORK story to share? We want to read it (or see it, or take a listen).
[Prize Entry Fee] $5, multiple entries accepted.
[Prize Details] Submissions will be accepted separately: Personal Essay Prize or Narrative Journalism Prize. Each Prize winner will be awarded $200. Entry fees go toward this award, and any fees that push past the cost of running this contest will be put forth to pay Proximity writers in 2018. Finalists will be announced in advance. Winners will be announced in October, the day of publication. All finalists will be published in our annual anthology and a selection among them will be published in Issue 16.
Founding Editor CARRIE KILMAN loves stories that explore what can divide and connect different peoples, places, and points of view. A former staff writer for Teaching Tolerance magazine and a graduate of the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, Carrie has written extensively about social justice movements across the US. Her work has appeared in In These Times, Alternet.org, Tolerance.org, Yankee Magazine, and Wisconsin Public Radio. She currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin, where she is a staff editor for the Wisconsin Historical Society Press and runs a life-story writing program for senior citizens. (@cailo)
Issue 17 | Theme: REUSE
Editor: Santi Elijah Holley & Erica Trabold (Guest Editors)
Deadline: July 1, 2017
What material do you find yourself revisiting when you sit down to write? Which memories have transformed into the kind of stories could you tell again and again? Nonfiction writing often resembles the process of REUSE — an act that is both intentional and responsible in a consumer-based society. A story that is familiar informs an idea that is new, a question that is old leads to an answer more complex than it first appeared. Reusing denies the disposal of what may be considered imperfect or messy, and instead embraces change. Further, the subjects nonfiction writers are able to surmount often have real-world consequences — climates changing, landscapes depleting, entire cultures obsessing over what is “new and improved.” The writer remains in the unique position to comment on the more challenging aspects of culture.
Remembering. Reimagining. Researching. Rearranging.
For this issue of Proximity, we are looking for submissions that showcase nonfiction’s relationship to REUSE and all its permutations. What reusable materials — papers, plastics, forms, styles, memories, fashion, family heirlooms — can help reveal something important about the larger world? We want writing that is interested in what emerges, or reemerges, from the process of reflection and rediscovery.
And because Proximity is interested in nonfiction with a strong sense of place, we are especially excited to read work that touches on issues related to land and the environment.
Guest Editor SANTI ELIJAH HOLLEY has contributed fiction, essays, and journalism to Tin House, VICE, Pacifica Literary Review, Monkeybicycle, SmokeLong Quarterly, and NAILED, among other places. He is a contributing writer for The Portland Mercury, Portland’s alternative weekly newspaper, and a contributing writer for Los Angeles-based ENDPAIN. A recipient of the 2017 Oregon Literary Fellowship, Holley lives in Portland, Oregon.
Guest Editor ERICA TRABOLD is a writer of family and memory at work on a collection of essays that populate the Midwestern landscape with prairie flowers, young girls, and an investigation of friendship and motherhood. Her essays have appeared in Proximity, Seneca Review, and The Collagist, and are forthcoming in Passages North, South Dakota Review, and an anthology of lyric essays by Tinderbox Editions. A Nebraska native, Erica currently lives in Oregon, where she graduated with an MFA from Oregon State University and served as the nonfiction editor of 45th Parallel Magazine. She writes for the Pleiades Book Review and was a 2016 artist-in-residence at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts.