Spoon Knife 7 and Tinfoil Hats Ready for Pre-Order

We are delighted to share two new books: Spoon Knife 7 – Transitions and Tinfoil Hats. These anthologies are designed to show beautiful new ways of living outside of social norms. When we imagine freely and make bold choices, amazing paths open up. You can order on our website, and the paperbacks will ship in April 2023.

Please stay tuned for Spoon Knife 8 – Smoke and Mirrors. Submissions are open through July 2023, with publication in Spring 2024.


Call for Submissions: Spoon Knife 8

Autonomous Press is now accepting submissions of short fiction, short literary memoir, and poetry for the eighth volume of Spoon Knife, our annual genre-bending lit anthology.

We are accepting submissions until July 31st, 2023.

Authors will be notified of acceptance or rejection by the end of 2023.

Spoon Knife 8 will be published in Spring 2024.

The theme for Spoon Knife 8 is Smoke & Mirrors. All submissions should touch in some way or another on this theme, but it can be interpreted as broadly and strangely as you like, and as literally or figuratively as you like (i.e., actual smoke and actual mirrors need not appear).

Please note that above all else, Spoon Knife is an anthology of stories, which we select primarily based on the quality of the storytelling. Many would-be contributors, in past years, have been unclear on the nature of Spoon Knife and have wasted their time sending us pieces that read more like blog posts or political activism. We highly recommend reading a recent volume of Spoon Knife in order to make sure you understand what this series is and what it isn’t.

All submissions must be sent as Word documents (.doc or .docx files).

Prose submissions (fiction and memoir) must meet the following criteria:

  • 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced.
  • First line of each paragraph indented.
  • No extra whitespace between paragraphs.
  • Consistent use of Oxford commas.
  • Thoroughly proofread and spell-checked.

If you’re submitting poetry, you may send up to 3 poems (please put them all in a single document). Poems should also be in 12-point Times New Roman font, but do not need to be double-spaced.

Maximum length for submissions is 10k words. Exception: you can assume this limit to be as flexible as you need it to be if you’re an author whom we’ve previously published or whose submission the editors have actively solicited.

Payment for accepted submissions will be $20 plus 1 cent per word, sent near the time of the book’s release. Our process, on acceptance, includes a close copy-edit, and we’ll check in with authors if it looks like there should be any change beyond basic typo fixes; we don’t send author proofs.

Spoon Knife 8 will be co-edited by Nick Walker and Phil Smith.

Email all submissions to nick [at] autpress [dot] com. The title of your email should be your name plus the words “Spoon Knife 8 Submission.” The body of your email must include a 1–4 sentence bio written in the third person, with the exact name under which you wish to be credited; this is the bio we’ll use for you in the book.


A Mad, Mad World / Interview with Dr. Phil Smith

  • How did you get involved with AutPress?

a number of years ago, wandering around the inter-webs looking for new and interesting ideas about neurodiversity, while teaching at a university, i discovered some blogs written by people who became founding members of the Autonomous Press collective. i was smitten with their ideas, which approached neurodiversity and neurodivergence and queering in ways i hadn’t seen before. i started sharing those ideas with my students and colleagues. i also realized that this way of thinking saw neurodiversity as a big tent – that it included Madness. as i began to claim Mad identity for myself, i began also to see how i fit within that bigger, broader neurodivergent community. 

when I began seeing the first books that AutPress put out at conferences and elsewhere, i was really excited – here were people that thought like me, had ideas and experiences that were jammin’ and exciting, and wrote for the kind of diverse and wild audiences i hoped to reach. one of the original editors at Autonomous Press reached out to me and asked if i thought i had a book in me that might be of interest to AP. i thought some, and read some, and wrote some, and the result was Writhing writing: Moving toward a mad poetics, which AP went ahead and published in 2018. it was a somewhat complicated project getting it into print, because my writing style is sometimes a bit, uh, unusual. AP went above and beyond putting it into a format that matched my vision, and put awesome cover art done by a wonderful writer, artist, and former student, Dr. Jacquie St. Antoine, on the front. i was pretty much stunned when it received the 2020 American Education Studies Association Critics Choice Award in 2020 – i never expected anything like that kind of recognition.

perhaps two years ago or so, Nick Walker, managing editor for Autonomous Press, put out a call to folx, asking if there were people who might be interested in doing some work for AutPress, perhaps eventually joining the collective. because of my interest in the broader communities AP reaches and touches, my experiences as a writer and editor, and the generosity that AP had offered me as a writer, it felt pretty natural to offer up my time and effort – to give something back to folx who had given something to me. AP collective members were gracious in welcoming me, helped me understand some of the processes and history of the press, and continue to mentor me about – well, all kinds of things. it’s been an exciting process of learning and doing and being (do-be-do-be-do).

  • We are looking forward to the Mad Studies books, both the anthology and the collection of personal stories. Can you tell us what prompted you to begin these projects, and what you are hoping to accomplish with them?

Writhing writing has always been the beginning, for me, of a trajectory of work looking at Mad life, knowledge, and experience, growing out of my increasing awareness and understanding of my own Mad identity and life. it reflects my own growth of understanding of Disabled and Mad people in the world, along with my own life as a Mad academic, poet, and writer. i’d been presenting and writing bits and pieces, here and there, about Madness, and listening and reading the work of other Mad writers and thinkers. i began to realize that the broader life knowledge of Mad people had long been left out of psy-complex understandings of the world, and wanted to add to the growing body of work that shared Mad knowledge and life-experience. i knew that the first place to start would be by asking Mad people to share what it was like to live in a world dominated by saneist and ableist ideologies and approaches to Madness and so-called “mental health” (a term i generally reject). 

much of the ani-psychiatry movement work that i saw going on around me, even to the current time, while doing important things to critique the psy-complex, still didn’t go far enough, to my mind, in bringing forward the work of Mad people in and outside the ivory tower. so i put out calls to the broad Mad community to share two kinds of stories: one about their own lives in the world, and the other about how they see Mad Studies taking a place alongside Disability Studies and other social justice approaches to exploring and being in the world. what would those stories look like/sound like/read like? how would they be different from the kind of stories about Mad people that we usually see or read about from the dominant, normative culture?

the proposals i’ve received back are – amazing. they, and the writing that is starting to come in, is everything i’d hoped for – different words, different knowledge, different ways of looking at the wider wurd whirled. the writing, and the people behind that writing, are hilarious, vulnerable, insightful, poetic, horrifying, glorious explorations of the kinds of lives Mad people experience every single day. i think these two projects will put Autonomous Press even more at the forefront of broadening the already big tent of neurodiverse, queered thinking and writing than it already has been.

  • What is a typical day for you?

well, first, there is no typical day. i live in a cabin beside Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, far off the beaten path – like, literally. my mailbox and the nearest paved road is a half mile away. the closest place that is plowed in the winter is a quarter of a mile away, up a pretty steep hill that most people find a little scary. so my days often involve a fair amount of what colleagues call “bread labor” – doing the work needed to keep mind and body together. i heat mostly with wood, so that takes a bunch of time to cut, split, stack, haul, and burn. getting supplies up and down the hill is not small project, especially in the winter, and given that i have to drive an hour and a half each way to get to the decent size city i go to for food and provisions.

mornings are spent, in large part, reading and writing and editing. i’m fortunate to have pretty decent internet access, so i’m able to communicate with friends and colleagues around the world on the projects we work on together. as long as the power doesn’t go out (we had a big storm before thanksgiving a couple of years ago that knocked electricity out for eight days, and left my path up the hill clogged with trees under a heavy load of ice until spring), i’m able to keep up with the writing and learning that are important to my way of being. afternoons i spend taking care of firewood, working in the garden, harvesting fruit – all of the things needed to keep my small homestead going.

it’s a fair amount of work – and I love every minute of it.

  • What sparks joy in your life?

i feel so privileged to be able to live the life that i do. looking out from my cabin porch is a bay on the largest body of freshwater in the world by surface area in the world. it has the best sunsets on this or any planet, and its moods and beauty changes with every moment. when a gale is blowing, with twenty or thirty foot waves crashing against the shore, and the snow blowing sideways so it can’t even land on the ground, sitting inside by the woodstove is such an incredible experience.

i see very few humans unless i go to town (and then only to talk to the folx at the post office or the grocery store or hardware store or the guy who fixes my chainsaw). but the neighbors – animal people of all kinds – are the most amazing people i’ve met. the turkey hens bring their bunch of poults down to the field for me to admire parading around the field. fawns bound through the grass – once, one lay down in the grass right in front of me, and i reached out to touch it. ravens nest nearby – earlier this summer, one flew from the tree they were nesting in, flying directly to me, hovering overhead, to see if i was a threat. i told them that i was the same guy that had been here last summer, and they turned and flew back to their nest. pileated woodpeckers, porcupines, bald eagles, chicadees, hummingbirds, nuthatches, garter snakes, a big ole hoppy toad that lives underneath my rhubarb leaves – these people check on me daily, and i on them.

being outside in all weather, amongst the tree people and lupine people and black-eyed susan people, water people and rock people – picking blueberries that will end up in my pancakes, writing about my life, reading and learning, spending time doing real physical work that will have a direct impact on whether i’ll be warm enough that night – i’ve been so lucky to build a life that keeps me safe and whole. yes, i experience Madness every day, but my daily habits and chores and delights of weather and sky and animals and water – these give me so much – i’m not even sure i can put it adequately into words. it suits me.

Call for Submissions: Mad Studies Stories and Theory

Autonomous Press seeks submissions of abstracts for two upcoming anthologies, Tinfoil Hats: Stories by Mad People in an Insane World and A Mad Turn: Anti-methods of Mad Studies.
The Basics
Autonomous Press seeks submissions of abstracts for two upcoming anthologies, Tinfoil Hats: Stories by Mad People in an Insane World and A Mad Turn: Anti-methods of Mad Studies.
We’re looking for abstracts of 500 words or less, with short accompanying author bios of 150 words or less (written in the third person), for each anthology. Deadline for abstract submissions is October 31, 2020. Selected authors will be notified by November 31, 2020, with final submissions by March 1, 2021 for Tinfoil Hats and July 1, 2021 for A Mad Turn.
What We’re Looking For
Tinfoil Hats will include stories by neurodivergent people who identify as being Mad, about living Mad in a saneist world. We see these stories as intensely personal – or as intensely as can be done when the intensity can be difficult to write or talk about. They may include stories about incidents and experiences that might seem intensely shameful, horrifying, scary, or hard. We look for narratives about what it looks/feels/sounds/smells like to be Mad, and experiences of interacting with those who stigmatize/psychiatrize/traumatize Mad people.
A Mad Turn will envision Mad Studies as a field, and and what it means to “do” Mad Studies. It will explore and think through what Mad Studies might bring to academia, education, culture, and other social institutions. It will be a place to talk about what Mad Studies offers Mad people and Mad activists. A Mad Turn will explore intersections with anarchism, disability justice, Mad justice, as well as gender and queer and race studies. Writing will generally be plainly spoken, working to step away from jargon, while understanding that there are things that need to be/can only be said with complex language, and working to explain that complexity.
Format and Length
For each book (authors are invited to submit pieces for one or the other or both), we’re looking for 10,000 words or less of fully-polished prose, submitted in standard manuscript format (title page with contact info, double-spaced Times New Roman 12-point font, pages numbered with either title or author’s name in the header). All submissions must be in a Word-compatible format (.doc, .docx) – no other file formats will be accepted. Writing may be poetic, in the form of memoir, or other alternative means of written expression.
How to Submit an Abstract
Email all abstracts to phil@autpress.com
When submitting your abstract, please put in the subject line one of the following:
“A Mad Turn Submission”
“Tinfoil Hat Submission”
Please send only one submission for each anthology, and only put one submission in each email.
Please include a cover letter that clearly specifies the name under which you want to be credited in the body of the email.
Abstracts (as well as final submissions) must meet the following criteria:
  • Double-space all text.
  • Indent the first line of each paragraph, and do not put extra whitespace between paragraphs.
  • Make the first page a cover page with title and author contact info.
  • Number all pages.
  • Use Oxford commas consistently.
  • Thoroughly spell-checked and proofread (we recommend it be reviewed multiple times, by the author and by at least two other readers who have a sharp critical eye for detail, punctuation, grammar, and clarity of writing).
The Editor
Phil Smith is a recovering Professor of Special Education. He identifies as Mad (as hell) and Disabled, and also works as Development Editor at Autonomous Press. He’s published widely, including Writhing Writing: Moving Towards a Mad Poetics (2018, published by Autonomous Press). A poet, playwright, novelist, and visual artist, he’s an activist, and served on boards of directors of national and state organizations, including President of the Society of Disability Studies. He lives in a cabin beside Lake Superior, where he makes maple syrup, heats with wood, and yells at chipmunks.

Interview with Dr. Phil Smith

It was a pleasure for Azzia Walker to connect with Dr. Phil Smith, author of Writhing Writing: Moving Towards a Mad Poetics and our newest collective member.

“I’ve been reading since – really, I can’t remember NOT reading. I can’t imagine not having a book to hand; I’m literally always in the middle of one. Or two. Or three or four. I prefer real paper books, and hardcover, but failing that, anything in print will do. At school, I remember disliking recess, because it meant I had to do something other than read – I have a vivid memory of sitting against a baseball diamond fence backstop, in the sun, reading a book. Books make sense to me, in ways that people often don’t.

“I’ve been reading science fiction since my early teens. I’ve diversified since then – mysteries, all kinds of non-fiction – but science fiction is still pretty central to my existence.

“I wrote my first poetry when I was 14, for an assignment in English class. I didn’t think much of it, but my teacher did, and said so. It was awful stuff, really, but I haven’t stopped messing about with words on paper and screen since. The juxtaposition of words and sounds is something that resonates and excites my being – when I’m in the zone, I’m at my happiest. Much of the writing that I think is my best is stuff that I just let flow – it requires no effort, no intent. It just comes. I literally sit in front of my computer for hours, making words happen, and the time feels like it doesn’t pass at all. I think that writing is literally the only thing I’m truly good at. There are many things that I enjoy – but writing is the one thing I make that is really worth doing.

“I wanted to be part of AutPress because I’ve believed in its mission, work, and the people behind it almost since it began. The writing that I’ve seen come out of it – the thinking and being that folx have created – is truly the kind of work that I want to support and help create. It’s among the most powerful, profound, and life-affirming work that I know of.

“I’ve always got writing and reading projects floating around in my head. I’ve had in mind a text exploring the meaing of Madness, and what Mad Studies might look like, for awhile. There are a couple of books of poetry that I’m working on, as well as a couple of books of photographs that need to be finished. For AutPress, I have in mind two books at the moment – one an edited collection of stories by Mad people, exploring their life experience. The other is an edited work looking at Mad Studies as folx are currently thinking about. I’ll be going to several conferences this spring, and hope to talk to people I meet about AutPress, and explore with them what kind of writing they’re working on or thinking about that might fit with what AutPress does.

“I’m at my happiest when I’m exploring the edges of what seems possible, or likely, or reasonable. Adventures of the mind and body are what I live for. Meeting new people, exploring new landscapes, creating beauty and joy – these are incredibly important in my life. Folx reading this should feel free to get in touch about what excites them, and to explore with me the boundaries of queer, neurodivergent life and being.”

Stay tuned for Spoon Knife 5 coming out in fall 2020, and you can join the email list to become notified of new publications.

Call for Submissions – Spoon Knife 6: Rest Stop

The Basics

Autonomous Press seeks submissions of poetry, short fiction, and short memoir
pieces for an upcoming anthology, Spoon Knife 6: Rest Stop.

Scheduled for publication in Spring 2022, this sixth volume of the Spoon Knife Anthology series continues to bring some of the best short format works by both established and new writers with a focus on queer, neurodivergent, and disabled voices.

Deadline for submissions is Thursday, December 31, 2020.

What We’re Looking For

Original work exploring the theme of Rest Stop. A product of mid twentieth century car culture and the US interstate highway system, a rest stop can be clean and welcoming. Or it might be filthy and frightening. Because you never know until you enter, the rest stop is a respite of last resort.

Think transitional spaces/times/experiences.
The space between where you are and where you will be.
Times in which the present has a self awareness of impermanence.
If desired, season with dirt and compromise, and garnish with implications of seediness.

The Editors

B. Allen is a memoirist who serves as CFO and Development Editor for Autonomous Press. Since the 1980’s, in venues ranging from indie weeklies to the Huffington Post, Allen has been writing highly personal stories of disability’s intersection with poverty, feminism, queer culture, and abuse.

J. S. Allen, PhD, is a neurodivergent writer of imaginary stories. By day he is a data scientist who dons pants as necessary and uses the power of statistics to make the world suck less for children in his community. By night the pants are gone and Dr. Allen is in front of his computer composing his life’s work, a sweeping fantasy epic called The Waters of Life and Death.

Format and Length

Fiction and Memoir: We’re looking 10,000 words or less of fully-polished prose, submitted in standard manuscript format (title page with contact info, double-spaced Times New Roman 12-point font, pages numbered with either title or author’s name in the header.)

Poetry: You may submit pieces of any length and style, provided they fit the theme of this collection.

Please submit no more than three pieces total.

All submissions must be in a Word-compatible format (.doc, .docx, .odt).

When and How to Submit

The submission deadline is Thursday December 31, 2020.

Authors will be notified of their acceptance or rejection by Sunday, February 28, 2021.

Payment for accepted submissions will be 1 cent per word, to be sent by check or PayPal during the second quarter of 2021.
Email all submissions to info@autpress.com.

When submitting your work, please put in the subject line one of the following:

“Spoon Knife 6 Submission – Fiction”
“Spoon Knife 6 Submission – Memoir”
“Spoon Knife 6 Submission – Poetry”

Please include a cover letter that clearly specifies the name under which you want to be credited, along with a 3-4 sentence bio of no more than 150 words written in the third person. The name and bio should be typed exactly as you want them to appear in the book.

Previous Anthologies in this Series

Q&A with Ada Hoffmann

We’re continuing the interview process with our awesome authors. Azzia Walker, our operations manager, got to know Ada Hoffmann, author of Monsters in My Mind and The Outside, which is coming in June 2019 from Angry Robot Books.

Q. What got you started with MONSTERS IN MY MIND?

A. I started publishing short fiction in 2010, and by 2015-ish I had an amount of it out there that I felt was a book’s worth. I always loved the idea of having a short fiction collection of my own, so I started experimenting with themes that could tie together big chunks of my work and with different ways of arranging the stories and poems.

When Dani Alexis Ryskamp beta read the manuscript for my novel THE OUTSIDE, she offered to publish it. I wanted (and, eventually, got) an agent and a bigger press for the novel, but I had been playing with the collection idea for a while at that point and had been struggling with where to send it, so I asked if we could do that instead. I liked the idea of publishing MONSTERS with a group of neurodivergent publishers who “got” my work.

I actually changed the entire story order for the NeuroQueer Books imprint. I asked myself: how did the stories and poems engage with the idea, literal or metaphorical or subtextual, of being neuroqueer? I knew what stories I wanted to start and end with, and between them I was able to order the works in a way that charted a satisfying path between different ways of engaging with that concept, like a meta-plot.

Q. Was there anything that surprised you about the stories or the characters as you got further in?

A. Not a lot – most of the stories were already polished and published before I assembled them. Even the new ones had already been through beta reading and revisions.

The surprises were mostly to do with how well the stories fitted together. I was surprised how much of my work I could fit into the structure I’d come up with, even if it had nothing to do with neurodiversity at first glance. It also surprised me which stories I ended up dropping. I had a couple of published stories that I think are great stories, and that even engage with neurodiversity and mental illness themes more directly than some of what made it in. But they didn’t fit the meta-plot – they contradicted what I felt like the meta-plot was overall trying to say. So I left them out. Maybe in a future collection!

Q. What do you want people to come away with after experiencing your work?

A. I hope people feel a sense of wonder. I want them to feel that they experienced some image or idea that was new to them, that their mind expanded a little bit, or that they’ve seen something from a different perspective. I also want them to be able to engage their emotions and have fun!

Q. What’s next for you?

My debut novel, THE OUTSIDE, is coming out in June from Angry Robot Books. It’s a space opera with elements of cosmic horror, featuring an #ownvoices autistic protagonist and other diverse, non-neurotypical characters. It’s also a queer book – the protagonist is a lesbian and her supportive girlfriend is a major character. There are very few straight characters, actually. I’m watching the buzz build and I’m VERY excited.

I’ve been struggling with burnout after finishing my PhD thesis, so I haven’t written as much new work as I’d like, but short fiction and poetry will always be there in some form. I have lots of ideas for THE OUTSIDE’s potential sequel, though it won’t be greenlit until we see how the first book does, and I have the beginnings of an unrelated novel involving dragons.

I also am continuing my Autistic Book Party project, a long-running review series that talks in depth about representations of autism in speculative fiction. Autistic Book Party is funded through Patreon; the reviews are free for everyone, but backers help choose which books are reviewed, along with some other goodies. If that’s of interest, you can check it out at https://www.patreon.com/ada_hoffmann.

Q&A with Verity Reynolds

It’s always a pleasure to talk with AutPress authors. Today we share an exchange between Azzia Walker, the operations manager, and Verity Reynolds. Stay tuned for Verity’s next book, and be sure to check out Nantais.

What do your characters teach you?

Since I began writing as a child, my characters have always done the one thing I was least allowed to do: have feelings and express them. So for years, they were the ones teaching me how to identify, process and manage my emotions. They’ve also taught me a lot about interpersonal communication; I can work out how conversations are likely to go before I actually have them.

What was the feeling after finishing Nantais?

Overwhelmed. Relieved. Terrified. I wrote a blog post about it at the time.

Today, that blog post reads like the verbal equivalent of chucking pasta at a wall, which is a pretty good description of my feelings at the time, too. 

What advice do you have for a new writer?

When new writers ask me for advice, my mind always goes to Marge Piercy’s “For the Young Who Want To,” specifically the last two lines: “Work is its own reward. You have to/like it better than being loved.”

New writers are especially likely to want, not to write, but to have written. They want to be where published writers are, having written a book/play/short story/etc, and so they ask for advice for getting to the point of having written. 

But the only way to have written is to write, and writing is hard. It’s brutal. There are no shortcuts. Writers joke about this all the time; the #amwriting hashtag on Twitter is full of authors making fun of themselves for scrolling #amwriting instead of actually writing. 

So my advice to new writers is: You have to like the work more than being loved. You have to find something in writing that you only find in writing – not in having written, not in scrolling Twitter, not in skiing or changing your oil or serenading infants. Find that, and the rest will take care of itself.

(This is not the piece of advice for which I’m most asked. That’s how to make a living as a fiction writer, to which my advice is “Don’t try.” Only 10 percent of the membership of SFWA currently makes a living solely from writing, and of those, only 5 percent do it solely from fiction. I consider myself extraordinarily fortunate to be in that intermediate 5 percent who make money solely from writing, even though it’s technical writing that makes up the gap.)

What are you working on these days?

I’m slowly finishing the draft of Nahara, which is the sequel to Nantais. My brain is already onto the next book after that, The Ambassador, so I’m expecting the writing of that one to go fairly quickly.

When I’m not at my desk, I’m working with Boundless, which is an Independent AA winterguard out of Battle Creek, Michigan. It’s our first year on the floor and we’re by far the smallest guard in our division, but the members are doing outstanding work. I’m also preparing for a concert with the Hillsdale Wind Symphony in May. And, of course, I’m always working on spoiling my spouse and our three cats.

What sparks joy in your life?

My spouse. My cats. Long walks in the woods (or, failing that, the treadmill) in which I don’t have to care what time it is or which deadlines are looming. And working with students, either in winterguard or in my spouse’s band program. The young people can get ON my lawn!

Call for Submissions: Spoon Knife 5

The Basics

Autonomous Press seeks submissions of poetry, short fiction, and short memoir pieces for an upcoming anthology, Spoon Knife 5: Liminal.

Scheduled for publication in Fall 2020, this fifth volume of the Spoon Knife Anthology series follows The Spoon Knife Anthology: Tales of Compliance, Defiance, and Resistance (Spring 2016), Spoon Knife 2: Test Chamber (Spring 2017), Spoon Knife 3: Incursions (Fall 2018), Spoon Knife 4: A Neurodivergent Guide to Spacetime (Fall 2019).

Deadline for submissions was Tuesday, December 31, 2019. You can join our email list to become notified when we start seeking submissions for Spoon Knife 6.

What We’re Looking For

limen: Latin, “threshold”

A liminality is a threshold, the place between here and there which is, in itself, both and neither. From it we get the word “subliminal” meaning, literally, “below the threshold of sensation.” A liminal space is a transitional zone. It is at the heart of a ritual or rite of passage, when one is no longer the thing they started as, but has yet to become the thing they will be. To stand at a liminal point is to occupy both sides of a boundary at once. Liminality can be disorienting, unsettling, ambiguous, and uncomfortable, but it can also be freeing, an existence without labels or boxes, or a means to a new becoming.

We are looking for fiction, poetry, and memoir that explores thresholds and liminalities of all kinds — including those not listed here. The work must further intersect with themes of neurodivergence, queerness, and/or the intersections of neurodivergence and queerness. Some examples might be:

  • racial or cultural liminality
  • the experience of occupying liminal space as an individual
  • the experience of collective or cultural liminal spaces, such as demimondes
  • rites of passage, including via formal ritual or ceremony, or as a transition between states of being, locations, moments in time or ages, statuses, or situations
  • sensory phenomena that occur at the threshold of sensation, perhaps sensed by some but not by others
  • metamorphosis or transformation
  • explorations into the subconscious or other borderland spaces
  • ghosts, entities out of phase with the material world, virtual entities, voices, or other characters that exist in threshold or liminal/subliminal spaces
  • doorways, gateways, and the literal and figurative passageways between here and there

The Editors

Spoon Knife 5: Liminal will be edited by Andrew M. Reichart and Dora M. Raymaker

Andrew M. Reichart is managing editor of Argawarga Press, an imprint of Autonomous Press dedicated to genre fiction. He is co-author, with Nick Walker, of the epistolary science fiction novel Insurgent Otherworld and the Weird Luck webcomic. He has also written four genre-blurring novels, Wallflower Assassin and the City of the Watcher trilogy, which will be re-released in new editions by Argawarga Press starting in 2019. For his day job Andrew helps run a small utopian tech firm, and he’s also an activist with a grassroots abolitionist project. He lives in California with his wife and a couple of dogs.

Dora M. Raymaker, PhD, is a scientist, writer, multi-media artist, and activist whose work across disciplines focuses on social justice, critical systems thinking, complexity, and the value of diversity. Dora is an Autistic/queer/genderqueer person living in Portland Oregon, conducting community-engaged research at Portland State University, knitting fractals, and communing with the spirit of the City. Dora’s work includes the novel Hoshi and the Red City Circuit and the short story “Heat Producing Entities” in Spoon Knife 3: Incursions.

Format and Length

Fiction and Memoir: We’re looking 10,000 words or less of fully-polished prose, submitted in standard manuscript format (title page with contact info, double-spaced Times New Roman 12-point font, pages numbered with either title or author’s name in the header.)

Poetry: You may submit up 5 pieces of any length and style, provided they fit the theme of this collection.

All submissions must be in a Word-compatible format (.doc, .docx, .odt).

When and How to Submit

As of Wednesday January 1, 2020 submissions are closed.

Authors will be notified of their acceptance or rejection by Friday, February 28, 2020.

Payment for accepted submissions will be 1 cent per word, to be sent by check during the second quarter of 2020.

Email all submissions to info@autpress.com.

When submitting your work, please put in the subject line one of the following:

    “Spoon Knife 5 Submission – Fiction”

    “Spoon Knife 5 Submission – Memoir”

    “Spoon Knife 5 Submission – Poetry”

Also, please include a cover letter that clearly specifies the name under which you want to be credited, along with a 3-4 sentence bio written in the third person. The name and bio should be typed exactly as you want them to appear in the book.