Politics & Prose Calls for Submissions for New D.C.-Based Anthology

  • August 17, 2012

"At Politics & Prose, employees will soon have to shift from tackling piles of books in the storeroom to tackling the slush pile."

by Sarah Vogelsong

At Politics & Prose, employees will soon have to shift from tackling piles of books in the storeroom to tackling the slush pile.

The nationally recognized Cleveland Park bookseller recently issued a call for submissions for an anthology of local work that will represent the first release in a planned Politics & Prose imprint. Titled District Lines, the anthology is open to original, previously unpublished short stories, poetry, essays, “smart, cohesive ramblings,” and black-and-white artwork including photography, drawings, and comics.

“We didn’t want to do just stories,” says Susan Coll, Editorial and Programming Director at Politics & Prose and one of the anthology’s editors. “The world has enough of those [anthologies]. Why not do something more original and quirky and integral to our community?”

All submissions should incorporate or be built around a particular neighborhood in the D.C. metropolitan area.

“D.C. has a reputation that it’s homogenous, but there’s such a depth of experience here,” says Mark Moran, a Politics & Prose employee and the anthology’s co-editor. “We want to try to bring out the diversity.”

While Coll and Moran are spearheading the project, District Lines is a collective effort of the Politics & Prose staff. After Coll broached the idea to owners Bradley Graham and Lissa Muscatine, a team of employees from all of the store’s divisions was assembled for brainstorming. Moran proposed the theme of an anthology that mapped out metropolitan-area D.C. neighborhoods and experiences at the group’s first meeting.

“Everyone in the room just looked at each other and thought, ‘Well, okay! This meeting is adjourned,’” says Coll.

The group will also act as an editorial team to handle and evaluate the flow of submissions, dividing the art and manuscripts according to employees’ particular areas of expertise. The submission deadline is September 22, and Politics & Prose hopes to get the book on the shelves shortly after the winter holidays.

Politics & Prose’s venture into publishing is made possible by its print-on-demand Espresso Book Machine, which employees have named Opus. Coll sees District Lines as following in the footsteps of businesses such as the Harvard Book Store, which in 2011 published Minimum Paige, an anthology made up of original comics and graphic storytelling work.

“I think there’s huge potential for a Politics & Prose imprint,” says Coll, “but I want to grow it very slowly and carefully.”

In the meantime, the staff is focusing its energies on District Lines. A submission fee that was originally required has been removed to allow a larger pool of participants, and the team has already begun to receive the first manuscripts and artwork.

Although Politics & Prose is still feeling out its first steps in the publishing pipeline, Moran is optimistic: “I’m excited and looking forward to hearing the voices of people in the D.C. metropolitan area.”

For more information and updated submission guidelines, visit www.politics-prose.com or email Susan Coll at [email protected].

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