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Submissions for Volume 20: Nomad are now closed. The submissions deadline was 31 July 2018.


Note: Please ONLY submit your work in MS WORD (.DOC/.DOCX) documents attached with the email. We shall NOT consider submissions sent either in any other format (PDF, RTF, OTT, Pages etc.) or as text copied in the body of the email. Please also include the submission title and author’s name in the filename of the document.



Photo credit: Barbara Adams (courtesy sorayyakhan.com)


Guest Editor: We’re excited to announce that novelist Sorayya Khan will be the guest editor of Papercuts Volume 20.


Sorayya Khan is the author of Noor, Five Queen’s Road, and City of Spies, which received the Best International Fiction Book Award at the Sharjah International Book Fair in 2015. She was awarded a US Fulbright Research Grant to conduct research in Pakistan and Bangladesh, and received a Malahat Review Novella Prize for what became a window into City of Spies.


In 2006, Ms. Khan received a Constance Saltonstall Artist Grant, which took her to Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where she interviewed tsunami survivours. Her work has appeared in publications including Guernica, Longreads, The Kenyon Review, North American Review, and Journal of Narrative Politics.


She is the daughter of a Pakistani father and a Dutch mother, was born in Europe, grew up in Pakistan, and now lives in New York with her family.




Our upcoming issue’s theme is grounded in the knowledge that technology has put us all on the move. We can work remotely, exchange information globally, and wander from one viral trend to the next. We may defy the tyrrany of geographical distances with simple clicks and swipes. But we also know that the transformative power of technology is constantly restrained by political, economic, and cultural forces. The rise of anti-immigrant sentiments in the Western world, online hate speech, and the global digital divide are just some reminders.


In a way, these tensions are similar to the challenges faced by the traditional nomads of South and Central Asia. The typical nomads developed a worldview based on sharing, inclusion, curiousity for the unknown, and respect for nature. Yet, new national borders and repressive laws tried to force them into sedentary lifestyles. In recent years, the nomads of the Subcontinent have also faced discrimination and vilification at the hands of power structures driven by class, caste, and ethnic divisions.


The idea of the nomad, however, lives on in our collective desi consciousness. It is embedded in our folk songs, preached through our religious texts, and brought to light in the tensions between modernity and tradition. The desire to wander in search for the truth is only natural in a land where sufis, sadhus, and bhikkus have been doing it for as long as anyone can remember.


The theme of Papercuts magazine’s Volume 20, Nomad, calls upon writers and poets to contextualise the literal and metaphorical attributes of a nomadic existence within our contemporary reality. We want you to reflect on the values of nomadism, consider the benefits and challenges of mobility, think about the shifting boundaries of our identities, and be cognisant of the global conflicts surrounding the free movement of peoples and ideas. We are looking for great poetry and fiction that excites and inspires and forces us to think. We seek writing that is honest and brave and tells us what it means to be a nomad now. Send us your best work.


Prose: One short story, original and unpublished, maximum 5,000 words


Poetry: 3 to 5 poems (in one document), original and unpublished, no limit on number of lines


Reportage: 1-2 pitches for creative non fiction essays (in separate documents), original and unpublished, 500-1000 words. If your pitch is selected, we shall commission you to write the essay.


Art: Upto 5 colour pieces at a time.


How to send: Email your entries to editor.papercuts@desiwriterslounge.net with the subject line “Volume 20 (Specify Prose/Poetry/Reportage/Art) Submission” — For example: Volume 20 Poetry Submission.


For all entries, we accept simultaneous submissions as long as you promptly inform us if the piece gets accepted elsewhere.


Please note that due to the volume of submissions, we do not send out rejections. Only entries that get accepted will be acknowledged. Papercuts editors work with the contributors to edit the pieces before publication.




Submissions are only for online publication. None of the works accepted are guaranteed publication in print. Papercuts editors will make the decision for print content at a later stage and notify selected contributors separately.


Payment: We regret that we cannot pay for submissions at this time. Print contributors receive a complimentary copy.


Copyrights: For all published pieces, Papercuts magazine retains first publication rights. After publication, the rights revert back to the writers. We request you to grant us the permission to archive the work online permanently. Once the piece is published in Papercuts, writers are free to publish it elsewhere but we request writers to credit Papercuts with the first publication.