Odd Voice Out
Today was to be Odd Voice Out's first major presentation of 2020. We were all set to showcase our current titles and promote our newly published anthology collection at the Northern YA Literature Festival in Preston, together with pitching our small press to an audience of teachers and librarians. The event was officially postponed two weeks ago with organizers fearing that if they didn't cancel themselves, they'd soon be forced to. At the time, we still didn't quite believe the Covid-19 outbreak would cause so much societal shutdown in such a brief time. Yet here we are. Like everyone else in the world, we're struggling to adjust to the new normal and trying to adapt what we do to the limits imposed by the pandemic.
Sadly we can no longer promote our wonderful 'Odd Voices' collection at the literary festivals, readings and gatherings that we'd been busily scheduling. But we're not going to let that stop us getting these stories out into the world. While it is going to take us all a hot minute to refocus our creative energies, we are already discovering many exciting ways that writers can continue to make their voices heard, even while locked indoors. After all, locking ourselves away in self-isolation is something we writers all do without our governments telling us to. And right now readers have never been more needful of stories. I have witnessed as much panic loaning from libraries, members exiting with heavy book bags, as I've seen from the supermarket hoarders. We'll do our best with the tools we have to left to get our anthology out to a readership who will value it. We'll also spend our quarantines deep in our writing caves, using our craft to make sense of what the world's become.
We never planned it this way, but there couldn't have been a more fitting year for us to be running our 'Teens of Tomorrow' contest for our next YA anthology. As a wise teenager said to me only yesterday, we are now living through a moment in history and that has a way of waking you up. In my own cli-fi novel 'Shrinking Sinking Land' and its upcoming sequel 'Every Day Above Ground' I had my main characters, along with the rest of the world, go through a mass-sheltering period called the 'Global Mandatory Hibernation'. It's been startling to see a world-wide lockdown so similar to the one in my science fiction story, written just four years earlier. With our current future so uncertain, now more than ever we need writers to try and imagine what tomorrow will hold - for all of us, but especially the young.
Please visit our contest page for details of where you can send your future-focused short stories. The deadline of August 31st is still a long way off, as it the end of the current crisis. We eagerly await your visions and voices.