Finalists announced for pandemic anthology

Finalists announced for pandemic anthology

Muskeg Press is happy to announce the 10 final stories for its anthology Influenced: Stories from the Lockdown, a collection of short stories submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was a very difficult decision to determine the final 10 stories for this collection, because we had so many high-quality submissions,” said Chris Armstrong, owner of Muskeg Press. “But ultimately these ones were chosen because they were the best fit for the anthology.”

The original call for submissions went out in April 2020, asking writers for poetry or prose works of 5,000 words or less. There was only one requirement: the stories must not mention COVID-19, instead serving as distracting narratives for the writer and the reader. This was inspired by the spirit of The Decameron, a collection of short stories written by Giovanni Boccaccio in the 14th century, after a plague had ravaged most of Europe.

The deadline for submissions was June 30, and by that time, Muskeg Press received just over 700 submissions from all over the world.

“It was very humbling to get all these stories from writers from so many different paths,” said Armstrong. “On a personal note, it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life to read all these submissions over the course of a month.”

Of the 10 finalists, three are from Prince Rupert: “Inheritance” by Conar Harris; “Open Door” by Rudy Kelly; and “By the River” by Shannon Lough. “When we announced the call for submissions, we were hoping for some local content, so we’re very happy to see local representation in the anthology,” said Armstrong.

The other finalists, by alphabetical order of the author’s last name, are:

  • “Puck Fair” by John Paul Davies
  • “Blue” by Angie Ellis
  • “In the Forest, Under a Claw-Shaped Moon” by Sharanya Manivannan
  • “Chasing YourGirlLovesMe27” by Evan Manning
  • “The Transcendentalist” by Will Russell
  • “Cuddlefish” by Drew Taylor
  • “Trash” by David Ward

Influenced will by published later this year, and will be edited by John Farrell, a local writer and editor with years of newspaper experience on both sides of the Pacific. More information on the book will be on the Muskeg Press website in the coming months.