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Advance summary proposals required, with final manuscripts due November 5. Book collecting the accepted pieces to be published in December 2018, with a public launch following.

We are looking for a small number of contributors to add to a forthcoming book, tentatively titled AFTER: Stories about Loss and What Comes Next, on the theme of loss and its aftermath. Contributors will have great latitude regarding genre and approach, so long as the submissions are true. The final deadline for press-ready pieces is Monday, November 5, 2018, to reach publication in 2018.

This book will bring together both solicited pieces, some of them via a workshop dedicated to writing on this theme, and pieces from independent contributors. Submissions may be in any genre — personal essay and memoir, creative nonfiction, poetry, etc. — to reflect how the author chooses to approach the truth. For length, use as a rough guide the adjective “short” — no more than a few thousand words — keeping in mind that this is a collection in which no single voice may dominate.

To submit, we ask not for a completed piece but for a single page where you convey, as best you can, your approach and your intent. We are taking this approach because we will likely approach submission as a journal editor does, which is to say, without the ability to offer advice for rewriting or details if we must decline the submission. We recognize that the topic of loss, including and especially loss by death, is a difficult one that demands a real vulnerability, which is why we would like you to understand, before your invest yourself, whether your piece might fit the volume.

We are seeking pieces written not from the middle of the experience of loss, but from the more reflective place that comes next — from the scar, as they say, not from the wound. We will not be able to accept pieces offering advice or platitudes, no matter how well-meaning these may be. We are looking for writers who are as interested in the questions as in the answers, and who speak with the “I” of vulnerability rather than the “you” of assumed wisdom.

The publication process for this book will proceed much the same as with a literary journal. That is, contributors will grant the publisher right of publication, but writers will retain all copyrights to their work. We’ll also look forward to at least one celebratory public launch and reading in front of family, friends and others who care about the theme.

For more information and to submit your proposal, please contact Daniel Stewart at [email protected] or (231) 715-1786. 


Melissa Fournier, LMSW, works as the Program Director for Michael’s Place, a non-profit bereavement center in Traverse City, MI, where she facilitates Writing Through Loss, an ongoing writing program exploring and supporting the grief journey. Melissa is also a perinatal and pediatric hospice social worker. She holds a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Wayne State University. She is currently a student of Narrative Medicine with Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies. Her writing has appeared in Dunes Review, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Pulse: Voices from the Heart of Medicine, and Medical Literary Messenger.

Daniel Stewart, PhD, is a writer, historian, writing coach, book designer and storyteller through his practice History By Design. His articles, personal essays and short fiction have appeared in various literary and historical publications and he has edited Peaceable Kingdom: Michigan Writers Reply to Edward Hicks (forthcoming from Margin Release Books). He holds interdisciplinary, documentary and history degrees and certificates, and is a past president of Michigan Writers, Inc. He is currently finishing both a memoir and a novel on an old farmstead in Leelanau County he shares with his wife and a number of animals, some of them invited.