Desi Queer Horror Zine: Call For Submissions

Horror is everything that doesn’t quite ‘fit in’ with societal norms; it is a celebration of our biggest fears, an acknowledgement of our realities with the volume slightly turned up.

As you reach out to write tonight, may the ghouls guide you…

As you reach out to create, may their screams fright you…

These are our sweet whisperings in your ear, as Gaysi embarks upon a very, very haunted journey towards making a brand new zine – this time drenched in horror. We want your skeletons (not necessarily just the ones in your closets), dark webs (of more than just secrets), blood and gore, and maggot-infested bodies (to begin with) – in a super special, horror-themed zine, tentatively titled ‘Shock!’

‘An intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust’ is how the dictionary explains ‘horror’. But in our opinion, these feelings simply scratch the surface of what ‘horror’ can be. Horror is everything that doesn’t quite ‘fit in’ with societal norms; it is a celebration of our biggest fears, an acknowledgement of our realities with the volume slightly turned up. It can hold a mirror up to some of our biggest failures as a society and also take a dig at these failures in a literally ‘bloody’ environment. It tests the limits of our imagination, while also making zombies dance.

There is also no denying how terrible and full of horrors the world around us can be. Things can go from good to bad to worse in a matter of seconds. Some of us manage to survive, some of us, unfortunately don’t, and those that don’t, either start believing in monsters or end up becoming one. From horrors that threaten our existence: environmental, biological, political, or physical to horrors that manage to fracture our perspective of the world: violent, mental, abusive, or supernatural, there are countless narratives and examples of horror just in our immediate environments.

There is one thing, however, that should be obvious about the genre but for some reason, isn’t: queerness in horror. As a genre that imbibes nonconformity and countless manifestations of extremities and everything in the middle, it is surprising that we still only see heteronormative characters and their stories in almost every iteration of a horror narrative in India. And this, is exactly what ‘Shock!’ plans to change.

Gaysi Family is super excited about putting together an original zine featuring your ideas and visions, that, as always, never fail to blow us away. This year, it is to celebrate everything queer and everything horror. We are looking for original stories, poems, illustrations, essays, memoirs, graphic narratives, and other offbeat explorations of ‘desi-queerness in horror’.

Please have a look at the guidelines below for more information.

The deadline for draft submission is 7th June so do make sure your proposals have been sent to gaysifamily[at]gmail[dot]com by then with the subject line ‘Shock!’.

A FEW POINTERS:

  1. Only original and unpublished work will be considered.
  2. We are looking for original fiction, non-fiction, essays, photo essays, illustrations, poetry, art, graphic stories, scribbles, notes, quotes, or any other explorations on the theme ‘horror’, focused on queer experiences.
  3. Narratives that are of ‘Indian’ sensibilities, talking about issues or stories that are inimitably Indian are encouraged.
  4. To help us gauge more closely, we suggest you send in an abstract of the submission you’re planning to send. It should include a thorough outline that introduces your piece proposal and how it plans to explore the theme of horror and queer narratives.
  5. The maximum word limit for textual submissions is 4,000 words; there is no minimum length. Do share a brief bio and your SM links with your submission.
  6. All visual submissions must include the following details:
    1. Title of piece
    2. Nature of piece (graphic narrative, illustration, photo-essay, photo series, collage, etc.)
    3. Brief overview of the concept
    4. Piece breakdown (in order to gauge how the concept will be expressed, please provide a few details such as the sequence of panels, or quick key points that the piece will cover).
    5. Colour (B&W/4-colour, etc.)
    6. A little about yourself (a brief bio and your SM links).
  7. Any content that is even mildly offensive or in any form derogatory to the LGBTQIA+ community will not be considered.
  8. Due to the volume of queries and submissions normally received, do allow us 2 weeks to respond from the date of receipt.

PAYMENT AND GENERAL TERMS

  1. The copyright of the work will lie with you and you can republish the work (crediting Gaysi of course) once the zine is released.
  2. We offer reimbursements to all the contributors.
  3. Contributor copies are sent to writers and artists whose work appears in that zine.

About the author

MJ

Now 30, 100% shudh desi lesbian. Likes living large, and on the edge. Dislikes stagnation, fence sitting and hypocrites. Lives in a bubble of joy, with occasional lapses into drama queendom. Currently nursing a massive crush on actress Chitrangada Singh (kind of eerie, her resemblance to the late Smita Patil, don’t you think?). Aspires to build a fully functional support system for the Gaysi community in India. And most importantly, top the 'Hottest eligible desi-lezzie' list one bright sunny day.
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