Interstices–a new open call for submissions

Commissioning editor: Bridget Penney.
This open call is now closed.

‘Interstices are very small spaces “standing between” solid objects. Sometimes so minute the eye passes straight over them, yet a beam of light directed through an interstice has the potential to illuminate in an unexpected way. Interstices simultaneously divide and connect what surrounds them. They can be places for distraction, experiment and potentially radical redefinition. An interstice can also be a tiny interval of time, unaccounted for and uncountable, the transitional space at the end of a breath. On the web, interstitials are those annoying pages overlaying the content page you were expecting to reach. On the map, a border or nobody’s land could be visualised as an interstice; whether it’s safe or dangerous will depend on who you are.

Book Works invites proposals for new novels drawing on the ideas suggested by “interstices”. For instance, my novel Licorice grew out of my conflicted attitude towards “folk horror” and the challenges produced by trying to write radically in an inherently conservative genre. You could choose to engage with ideas of identity or genre or come up with some completely different way of investigating the “spaces between”. ’ – Bridget Penney

Listen to the theme of Interstices elaborated with readings by Bridget Penney, alongside sample writings, sound and music kindly contributed by Bob Lewis, Katrina Palmer, Ingrid Plum, and Timothy Thornton. Presented with Lizzie Homersham on Montez Press Radio, 24 August 2019:…

Commissioned and edited by Bridget Penney, author of Index (Semina No. 1, 2008) and Licorice (Interstices No. 1, 2020). To continue the Interstices series, we are looking to commission two writing projects (30,000-50,000 words in their finished form) drawn from open submission. A shortlist will be selected by Bridget Penney and Book Works publishing staff from the applications for this final commission in June 2020. A final selection will be confirmed in early July 2020, with publications scheduled to launch from Autumn 2021. The Interstices series is designed by James Langdon. The print run will be up to 1,000 copies.

Book Works will oversee all aspects of production, including design decisions, editorial control, budget, promotion and distribution of the book. We would expect the commissions to be underway from July 2020. Following delivery of a first draft of the manuscript as agreed with each artist/writer at the point of commission, the works will be edited by Bridget Penney and Book Works Editorial staff. Editing is expected to be a collaborative process between the editors and the commissioned artist/author, with the aim of producing a text sympathetic to the ambitions of the series. The editors would expect to work closely with you on any redrafts and revisions. You would be consulted at each stage of the process and expected to help take decisions about the way in which the work is presented in book form. You would also be expected to work to deadlines and attend meetings/be in communication as agreed, and should be willing to play some active part in the launch/promotion of the book.

Commissioned artists will receive a fee of £1,000 and 50 copies of the book.

To apply
Proposals are welcome from all sections of society, irrespective of nationality and residence, and we particularly encourage applications from underrepresented artists/writers. Proposals must be in English. We’re looking for coherent proposals for works of prose fiction that will take 12-18 months to reach a final, publishable state. The proposed text may also include poems and/or images and may form part of a practice that works across different media.

Please submit a proposal outline (500 words) that explains the form, references and narrative direction of your project and a sample of between 1,500–2,500 words of the proposed work. To support your application, you may also submit up to three examples (totalling no more than 5,000 words) of your previous and relevant work.

Please email your proposal to Gavin Everall,, putting ‘INTERSTICES SUBMISSION’ in the subject line. Please attach all documents as PDFs.

1. Outline of your proposal (500 words)
2. Sample of proposed work (1,500-2,500 words)
3. CV (max 2 pages). Please include the following contact details at the top of the first page: postal address, email address, contact telephone number/skype contact.
4. A completed Equal Opportunities form (download below).
5. A registration fee of £10/£5. If you are on a low income, in receipt of benefits or earning less than the UK Living Wage (2020) please select the reduced rate. The fee is payable by the following methods:

• Card payment (Mastercard, Visa accepted) please include name on card, card number and
expiry date)
• Direct bank transfer to: Book Works (UK) Ltd, account number 01949160, sort code 30-95-74
• Paypal email:
Reference for payments: Interstices + your name in the bank transfer/email message
6. OPTIONAL. If you wish to include examples of your previous work please send a selection of no more than a total of 5,000 words.
Due to the anticipated volume of applications we will not contact you personally unless you have been shortlisted. If you do not hear back from us we thank you for your interest in the series but please assume you have not been successful on this occasion.

Bridget Penney
Bridget Penney was born in Edinburgh and lives in Brighton. Her book publications are Honeymoon with Death and Other Stories (Polygon, 1991), Index (Semina No. 1, Book Works, 2008), and Licorice (Interstices No. 1, Book Works, 2020). Her stories and non-fiction have appeared in magazines and online, including 3:AM Magazine. Through the 1990s and with occasional forays since, she has co-edited the small press Invisible Books which published innovative poetry and prose including work by John M. Bennett, Claire Makhlouf Carter, Veronica Forrest-Thomson, Bill Griffiths, Stewart Home and Catherine Walsh.

Book Works
Book Works is the leading contemporary arts organisation with a unique role as makers and publishers of books. Established in 1984, we are dedicated to supporting new work by emerging artists, and our projects are initiated by invitation, open submission, and through guest-curated projects. Book Works consists of a publishing and commissioning department; and a studio specialising in binding, box-making and multiples. Our activities include publishing, a lecture and seminar programme, exhibitions, the development of an online archive, and artists’ surgeries and workshops held by both the publishing department and the studio. Book Works is a National Portfolio Organisation of Arts Council England.

Image: Marina Pierro in a still from Walerian Borowyczk’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Miss Osbourne (1981).

Interstices–a new open call for submissions; ; 2020; Contributors: Georgiou, Diana; Morrison, Harun; Editor: Penney, Bridget; | Designer: James Langdon | Downloads: Shop ()