Submissions Are Closed: It's Gonna Be a Great Book—The Best Book—Other Books Won't Even See It Coming.
It’s All Trumped Up started with a conversation over a six-pack of beer. This auspicious, truly American beginning, was shared between Paul and I as we sat on my front porch shaking our heads at the absurdity of the election season. We vacillated between despair and hysteria; we needed catharsis. It seemed with each day a different friend of ours found their identity under attack. On the news, I had seen that in addition to Trump’s diverse veins of demagoguery, his supporters were adding a dash of anti-Semitism. Days later in a basement apartment, a friend and I had a discussion that could have taken place in 1942. Had I traveled back in time? As the last line of Martin Niemöller’s famous poem begins, “Then they came for me—”.
From Josh’s experience of anti-Semitism to my friends’ concerns about access to birth control, the growth of the police state, gentrification, and affordable housing, I started to get a picture of the reality that people thought Trump would bring about if he were elected president. Each fear was a component of a coherent world created by appointing three supreme court justices and the broadcasting of constant hate speech, and each fear related to a very specific story. What better medium than fiction to capture the horror and absurdity of the moment we are living in? What better way to express our feelings of powerlessness?
What we didn’t expect was that this need for catharsis was global. We received over 100 submissions from all over the world. Writers from Cameroon, Italy, China, Taiwan, England, Russia, Australia, Mexico, and all four corners of the United States submitted stories that shook us to our cores, made us laugh, and at times—caused us to cry out in despair.
Unexpectedly, many writers thanked us for the opportunity to put their turmoil of emotions into words: to find some panacea for their political pain in ink. Yet, there were others, even within the academic circles in which Paul and I travel, that thought this work would only empower Trump. Even abroad, an Italian publication admonished It’s All Trumped Up for ignoring the causes of Trumpism and focusing on entertainment. Yet, what these respectful critiques miss is that the voice of the disenfranchised has been framed by a mainstream media that does not do them justice. Slogans of inclusiveness and love are shown only in opposition to hate. It’s All Trumped Up is a project that allows the disenfranchised and their concerned allies to frame the narrative in their own voice without the influence of corporate media. These voices are not engaged in a yelling match with a well-coifed candidate and his constituency. No, these are voices that raise up in a chorus of concern. They sing both a song of sorrow and satire for when the tears run dry, when the nation you love appears to be crumbling, there is little left but the hope in laughter.
To our submitters who have poured their heart and soul into their work we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Each and every one of you has left an indelible mark on the reviewers, Paul, and me. You have proven that in the face of hate the creative soul flourishes. You have stood up for those who feel voiceless in these trying times.
Over the next two weeks, we will begin crafting the accepted stories into the final publication. Writers, now that submissions are closed, you can expect to hear from us by September 8th. As we get closer to our publication date, we’ll be sending out emails about the release and looking for book reviewers. If this interests you, join our mailing list by filling out the form below or in the sidebar.
Lastly, we’d like to thank the good folks at Creative Loafing, The Guardian, the Reddit community, Vocativ, and others for spreading the word about our call. We know you all will be proud of the final work.
Yours in solidarity,
Paul and Josh