Deadline February 5, 2020
The ‘20s have arrived with a roar. Another global recession looms before many have even recovered from the last. Millionaires flaunt their wealth on Instagram while delivery drivers work from apps on multiple smartphones to afford the increasing rent on their shared room. Housing, education, and everything except technology has grown more expensive while wages have flatlined. Austerity has led to more urban rough-sleepers as billionaires leave luxury flats empty for their investment portfolios. The gap between the rich and the poor has grown the widest it’s ever been since the 1920s, and everywhere there’s the feeling: this cannot last.
The London Reader is looking for short stories, minifiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and art that reveals the human stories behind inequality (in all its forms: between classes in cities, between generations in communities, between rural and urban regions, and between countries), poverty, end-of-an-era (fin de siècle) decadence, billionaire indifference, millennial survival, any form of wealth gap, and other experiences of living poor on the growing bottom rung.
Possible story prompts…
- A sleepless gig-economy employee stretches themselves thin to pay for their second degree.
- Two women suffer as their flatmate turns her room into a holiday destination rental.
- A street musician has mastered urban survival strategies for the under-employed.
- A narrator contrasts the characters of a stock-broker and a rough-sleeper on the same street corner.
- An unpaid internship requires applicants to jump through absurd hoops.
- Poor doors in posh buildings divide characters who hear but never see their neighbours at the same address.
- Rioters loot a luxury home and are aghast at what they find.
- A migrant from a low-income area moves to a megacity looking for work while a migrant from a megacity working online moves to a low-income area to afford living expenses.
- A retiree struggles returning to minimum wage work but finds commonality with their teenage coworkers.
- A delivery driver living in their van tries to balance their dating life and work life.
- A posh couple at a roaring-twenties-themed party in the California hills flees an encroaching wildfire but ends up stuck in traffic.
- An online influencer hides their fake wealth with their front-facing camera.
- An indebted millennial’s only retirement plan is an apocalyptic feeling the economy will collapse.
- All other personal or human stories that explore low-income struggles or the gaps of inequality.
What to submit: Creative works can be stand-alone pieces or collections, but should generally be fewer than 5,000 words or no more than 3 poems or visual works per collection. Multiple submissions, simultaneous submissions, and reprints are welcome. Artwork should be favourably viewed on a tablet or single A5 page.
How to submit: The London Reader submission portal for this issue. If you have any questions or difficulty submitting, email coordinator@LondonReader.uk