Monday, April 13, 2020

Book Tour and Giveaway - Odd Voices: An Anthology of Not So Normal Narrators by Various Authors

Title: Odd Voices: An Anthology of Not So Normal Narrators 
Stories By: K.C. Finn, Kell Cowley, Eddie House,  Mary Ball Howkins, Tonia Markou, Jack Bumby,  A. Rose, Colby Wren Fierek, Oceania Chee, Catherine Johnson 
Publisher: Odd Voice Out
Publication Date: February 21st 2020
Print Length: 192 pages
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Short Stories
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In every new story we pick up, we’re seeking an exciting original voice. So why are there still voices we don’t hear from nearly enough? Why are there characters that so rarely take centre stage? In this collection from Odd Voice Out press, we discover the stories of twelve teenagers who stand out from the crowd and who’ll not easily be forgotten.

With settings that range from Scotland to Syria, Mexico to Mauritius, Africa to Russia, these stories take us to all corners of the globe and into the lives of young people with their own unique circumstances and perspectives. Characters dealing with issues of culture and class, exploring their sexuality and gender identity, or letting us into their experiences with illness, disability or neurodiversity. Their tales span all genres and can’t be reduced to labels. These are stories about bending the rules and breaking the law. Stories of fighting for survival and finding your place in the world. Stories of family solidarity, unlikely friendships and aching first love told by teenagers who don’t always fit in and aren’t often heard.

With a foreword by award winning YA author Catherine Johnson, this anthology brings together the top ten stories of Odd Voice Out’s 2019 Not So Normal Narrators contest, as well as bonus stories from in-house authors Kell Cowley and K.C. Finn. 

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Teens of Tomorrow Writing Contest Information:

YA Fiction's March into the Future

Open for Entries: Friday 21st February, 2020
Deadline: Monday 31st August, 2020
Prompt: Future-Focused Diverse Teen Fiction
Prize: £200, £100, £50 (First, second and third prize respectively)
Publication: A dedicated anthology will include the top ten tales, available winter 2020/21.
Wordcount: 2000 - 5000

Internationally open to entrants aged fourteen and above.

We stand at the dawn of a new and uncertain decade. Here at Odd Voice Out press we are calling for short stories that reflect the socio-political issues that young people are dealing with now and will continue to tackle in the coming years. Entries submitted to our Teens of Tomorrow contest can be any genre - fantastical or realistic - and they may be set in the future, the present or even the past, provided that they centre on forward-looking teenage characters grappling with the world around them, the times ahead of them and the roles they personally aspire to play. Send us your utopias, dystopias, protest stories, political thrillers, social satires, climate fiction and prophetic steampunk.

Turn the hashtags trending today into a powerful YA story of tomorrow!


Any inquiries to oddvoiceout@gmail.com
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The Full Details
Your short stories with ‘odd voices’ must be written for a YA audience (that’s around 12 to 19 years old), but other than that they may be set in any genre or time period. This means that relevant content which is sexual, violent or contains extreme language will be accepted, provided it is somewhat moderated for a teen audience, rather than for adults (think about movies rated 15, compared to 18).

Our contest is open to writers aged fourteen and over from all nationalities and backgrounds (you should be at least fourteen years old by the closing date for entries). Entries must be no more 5,000 words long and be a minimum of 2000 words. Your entry should not have been previously published, self-published or accepted for publication in print or online, or have won or been highly placed (e.g. shortlisted or semi-finalist) in another competition at any other time. Longlisted stories are acceptable, provided they have not been in print or online in full.

After our closing date of Monday 31st August, we will select ten finalists to feature in an anthology collection that will be made available in ebook and print editions, to be released alongside our usual book range. The winning entry will also receive a £200 cash prize, whilst second and third place will receive £100 and £50 respectively. All ten finalists will also be invited to participate in social media promotions, live events, interviews and broadcasts as per the promotion schedule for the anthology.

To cover prize fees and reading time, there is a small entry fee of £4 per story, payable via PayPal at the time of entering. Authors may enter up to five different stories, but must pay the entry fee for each one as a separate entry and transaction.

Co-authored stories are accepted, up to a maximum of two authors per story, and in the event of winning, authors would share the prize money evenly. 
Odd Voice Out is an independent literary press, publishing YA and crossover stories filled with unique characters thrown into extraordinary circumstances. Our genre-bending books take contemporary social and political themes and explore them through a range of historical, futuristic, surreal and supernatural settings. Our diverse young heroes are never your typical leading guys and girls, but are flawed insecure misfits struggling with everything from racial and sexual identity, to body issues, disabilities, mental health and worst of all, being teenagers growing up in worlds gone mad.

Sabah Carrim Interview – Author of ‘Size of Rice

1. You are one of the most experienced authors in our collection. How long have you been writing and what has been your proudest achievement so far?
I started writing when I was very young. But professionally, I started working on my first novel when I was 16, and then completed it later at 28.

My proudest achievement so far has been a series of events last year where the short stories I wrote were shortlisted in various competitions across Africa, Europe, and the US.

2. What does a typical writing session look like for you?
I write poetry almost anywhere, because it can be done very quickly. If I work on a novel or a short story then I usually do it at home in my study, or in a noisy cafĂ©—I like the movement around me, although I don’t like to take an active part in it.

Once I am done, I usually spend hours looking at the work in the course of polishing it. And by this, I really mean hours. I can write a poem in twenty minutes but spend an entire day polishing it.

3. How do you approach writing YA fiction with a teenage protagonist as opposed to writing fiction that’s about and aimed at adults?
I try to recall memories of my teenagehood when I write YA fiction. I used to keep a diary where I would record my thoughts daily, and maybe because of that and a few reasons I may not entirely aware of, I can recollect those days very vividly.

Writing for adults just means I can make direct and indirect references to the literature I read today, and introduce the more mature thoughts I have now compared to when I was a teenager who had many more questions than answers.

4. Can you talk about residing and setting stories in Mauritius? What aspects of the island and its culture are you most keen to convey to readers from all over the world?
In most of the stories I have written about Mauritius, I have dealt with my own experiences growing up there as a Muslim, and as a person of Indian origin, and my main focus has been on decrying the superfluity of religion and culture that complicates our lives unnecessarily, and makes us lose focus on what I deem to be the bigger picture of everything else.

5. How did you go about creating Binti’s distinctively neurotic voice?
It was based on my own neuroses as a child growing up with a madrasa education where I was told that the hair on any part of my body should not be longer than a grain of rice. I remember how this and other similar teachings haunted me for days, especially because I tended to push the logic further, and end up wondering as Binti does in the story, what type of rice my teacher was referring to.

Of course back then I didn’t realise that that would be good material for a short story.

6. Do you think Muslim teens (and other religious youth) have a tendency to over-think their faith and worry about whether they are getting it right?
Not necessarily. I realised with time that the reason those questions haunted me and not my other friends and classmates who were given the same teachings, was that they didn’t necessarily break their head over such matters.

I think it’s only when one pushes the logic of all these teachings to the end that one realises how nonsensical they are, but more often than not, parents and teachers are not equipped for such a challenge, and end up criticising and humiliating the child or the student for asking so many questions.

7. It’s rare that the hormonal and bodily changes of female puberty are portrayed in teen fiction. Do you think there’s a pressure on young girls not to talk about their growing pains and how they are affected physically and emotionally?
I don’t think so. I just think many writers are trying to be politically correct, and write literature that would appeal to a lot of people. (The existence of social media where everything written is instantly posted to seek ‘likes’ doesn’t help in this respect.) In the process, I think many of us are not taking our roles seriously as thinkers, as the marginals, as those who ought to be daring enough to say what’s politically incorrect, and make people—our readers—shift uncomfortably in their seats, and encourage them to put into question all the dogmas and prejudices that they have embraced effortlessly.

Writing about the growing pains of young girls is not a topic that would necessarily please most readers—as it would certainly make many shift uncomfortably in their seats, wondering why the author had to talk about such personal and private matters, or why he or she couldn’t have just stuck to a ‘pleasant’ topic. (People often say that to writers who write about sensitive matters.)

8. What advice would you give to other writers looking to represent culture and faith within their fiction?
Be daring. Take risks. Be politically incorrect, and by this, I mean you should go beyond just using unacceptable swear words.

Trust me, it’s not enough. Do more than that. Go all the way.

Write about that which will make people rethink what they’ve taken for granted.
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22 comments:

  1. I like the use of color on the cover. Congrats on the release.

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  2. The cover art seems appropriate for the book. Good job.

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  3. I like the cover and the concept is interesting!

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  4. Love the cover Thank you so much for sharing!

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  5. colorful book cover and the book sounds interesting.

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  6. Nice cover. It sounds like an interesting book. Thank you for sharing.

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  7. Retro looking cover... i like it. Good luck on the tour! :)

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  8. I think the colors really jump out at a person and draws there eye.
    Theresa Norris
    weceno at yahoo dot com

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  9. I like it.

    mia2009(at)comcast(dot)net

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  10. I enjoy reading short stories and these are touching upon a wide variety of subjects with sensitivity for ethnic diversity and identity.

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  11. I think that your book cover is colorful and attractive.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  12. This book sounds crazy intense, definitely want!
    @tisonlyme143

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  13. The book sounds like a lot of fun! I love vibrant colors and short stories, so I'm already adding to my TBR list!

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  14. Seems interesting!

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  15. the cover is very colorful I love it!

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