The Food of My People: Call for Subs

Candas Jane Dorsey and I are co-editing a new anthology for Exile, with a planned 2018 release date. The theme is food, and the title is The Food Of My People, after CJD’s story in Playground of Lost Toys, my 2015 release from Exile, co-edited with Colleen Anderson. The call goes live on Saturday April 1st, and closes on August 1st. Please share widely!

Speculative writing, whatever the sub-genre, is full of food scenes. Food can be integral to the magic, the meetings, the processes of narratives from hard SF to high fantasy. For all of us, eating is a symbolic and magical act, a transformation, a covenant, a ritual, a comfort, and a necessity, and this awareness has been expressed in story – all the way from myth, legend and fairy tale to modern speculative writing – in many memorable ways. Alice eats and drinks to participate in Wonderland, Ripley’s alien has to feed its young, Persephone eats the pomegranate seeds and spends half her life in the Underworld, the witch entices Hansel and Gretel with food to become food, the food in 2001’s famous white room is spookily nutritious and generic, and Soylent Green is people.

We can’t live without food, but sometimes we can’t live with it, either. In literature and in history, food-themed stories have had a darker side: starvation, poisonings (whether intentional or accidental), struggles with eating disorders, and more. We’re all drawn to candy coatings (in this case, literally) but we also want the story about how the missing ingredient ruined the feast.

For The Food of my People anthology, its award-winning editors seek speculative writing that makes the magic and reality of food and nourishment integral to each story and its outcome.

See the story “The Food of My People” by Candas that sparked this anthology, and began as an enquiry into what might be the everyday magic of the post-aboriginal incomers to the Canadian prairies, the culture of the jellied salad and the Saskatoon pie. Ursula Pflug and Colleen Anderson chose it for Playground of Lost Toys (Exile Editions, 2015), and when Candas read the story at ICFA she and Ursula were enthusiastic with how many people stayed after to share stories of their food and heritage – including recipes! … and the idea for The Food of My People: the anthology, was born.

Please include a recipe with your story! We do hope to see actual family recipes from all over the world, but also welcome fantastical recipes with imaginary ingredients – or both! In Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate, the recipes and plot lines are interwoven, and this is what will delight us most. Don’t booby-trap your recipes with nasty tastes or ingredients, and fantasy recipes must be clearly unattainable.

Note: The publisher intends to launch this book in Toronto (and follow in other locations), with a special food-related event, so authors will be selected to participate/read and their dishes will be professionally prepared and served.


Your submission can be in any speculative genre that suits the theme of your story.

Length: up to 5000 words. Art that relates to/complements the recipe may also be considered (i.e. if it runs through the story, or somehow adds a special “flavour” to the work, etc.).

Payment: 5 cents/word (CAD) for original fiction, and a contributor’s copy.

All writers must be Canadian citizens (living in Canada and/or paying taxes in Canada) and permanent residents of Canada. Note: if you are an ex-pat living abroad, or from another country, we do have a 10% window for content by non-Canadian residents.

We want to include a wide and diverse range of voices, including writers of colour and of indigenous/Native heritage, Francophone writers, those with disabilities, the vast LGBTQ2IA, and new generation writers (aged 18-30). As is our publishing tradition, we encourage works from creative people who come from all walks of life, those who are under-represented through the mainstream, because Exile cares a lot about the multiplicity of voices and perspectives that make up Canada.

No multiple submissions (send us your best stuff!). If you receive a rejection before the deadline, you may submit a new work.

We are looking for original fiction and artwork. Reprints will be considered only in extraordinary circumstances.

Submit stories in standard manuscript format as a .doc, .docx or .rtf, with indented paragraphs, italics in italics, and bold in bold. Include a cover letter with your name, story title, word count, full contact information, and previous publications in the body of the email.

Submissions in English only, although stories translated into English are also acceptable.

Rights purchased: First English-language rights & non-exclusive Anthology rights for one year from publication (print and eBook).

Deadline: August 1st, 2017

Reading Period: April 1 to August 1st, 2017, and replies will come before or by September 1st, 2017

Expected publication date: TBD

If you have any further questions, please write to us at


Image by Carolyn Roper.

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