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WE: Special Open Submission Centenary

The Utopia of Us: Call for Submissions
The Utopia of Us: Call for Submissions

The year 2024 marks the centenary of the first publication of the hugely significant novel We, by Yevgeny Zamyatin. The direct inspiration for George Orwell’s 1984, We also influenced many other novels, such as Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Dispossessed and Kurt Vonnegut’s Player Piano.

Strikingly, the Russian novel was first published in English, and in the US. Indeed, it wasn’t until 1988 that it was published in the author’s native country. Clearly, this was a book that the people in power in the Soviet Union wanted erased. Yet it ushered in a new genre – the future dystopia – and in doing so gave birth to the many dystopian novels and films which have found their way into our popular culture.

Setting aside what its publication history says about Russia’s past, it also happens to be a beautifully written and page-turning novel, and one that is still currently relevant since it speaks to the very heart of what it means to be human. In short, the centenary of this wonderful novel should be, and needs to be, celebrated, and how better to do that than by a globally minded, independent press, publishing an anthology of science fiction stories inspired by We?

The majority of stories for the anthology (current working title: The Utopia of Us) will be commissioned from some of the finest authors writing in the genre. However, in the spirit of Zamyatin’s novel, I want to give other writers (experienced or up-and-coming or brand new) the chance to have their stories published alongside these professionals. But this will be a tough gig, because not only does the submitting writer’s story have to be well-crafted, imaginative and compelling, it has to, in some way, be directly inspired by Zamyatin’s novel.

By all means create a dystopia (story and characters) of your own, but you must include something – small or large – which makes a very obvious connection to We. There are so many arresting ideas in Zamyatin’s novel from which to draw on: the houses of glass in which the citizens live; the poet who turns traitor to OneState by declaring himself a genius; the gleaming rocket in which the citizens will take their perfect “utopia” to the civilizations beyond the stars; the atomization of individuals such that romantic and familial relationships are an impossibility; the Ancient House full of relics of the past; the mathematician-protagonist’s abhorrence of irrational numbers. I’d also like each author’s title to be three separate words/phrases to echo the way each chapter is titled in the novel. For instance:

Announcement – The Wisest of Lines – An Epic Poem

So, quite a challenge! But if you’ve read We, or plan to read We (you can read it online here for free or if you’d prefer to buy a paperback/ebook, I can recommend the Clarence Brown translation) and are looking to create a short story for the anthology that is both unique, but in some significant way references We, then you’ve got a great chance of making me sit up and pay attention.

Chosen authors will receive a one-off payment of £75 for their story, and given Russia’s current war with Ukraine, royalties from the book will be donated to the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.

Interested in the challenge? Then read on.


Who: All writers, all levels welcome (unpublished, published, solo or agented).

What to submit: An original short story, word count between 2000-6000 words written in the English language. (The word count is somewhat flexible, but anything over 6k words will be a hard sell.)

Genre: Science fiction.

Audience: General Trade (No Children/YA/Teen).

Email Title: Please state We Anthology Submission – “Your Surname" when submitting.

When to submit: On the 6th, 7th and 8th October 2023.

Times: Submit between 12.00 AM of the 6th October to 11.59 PM of the 8th October, UK time.

What to include in the main body of the email:

· A line or two introducing yourself

· The title of your short story and its word count

· A one/two line blurb of your story, and how it is inspired by the novel, We

What to attach to the email:

· One Word document with the whole story included

· Clear font of your choice

· Double line spacing and numbered pages preferably

Email to teika [at] teikamarijasmits [dot] com during the submission days only.

Submissions which ignore the guidelines will not be considered and may not receive a reply. I will acknowledge receipt of your submission and aim to make my final decisions within 3 months of the submission window closing.

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