Black Joy Unbound: An Anthology

submitted by

BLF Press

Call For Submissions

Inspired by a deep longing for writing that embodies the vivacity of Blackness and Black life, BLF Press will produce a multi-genre collection that encompasses a broad spectrum of literary writing on Black joy. Provocation: What might our writing look like if it were imbued with characters and themes centered on joy and delight?

While we are looking for expressions of Black joy and pleasure, we are not interested in erotica. However, we are keenly interested in expressions of the erotic as articulated by Audre Lorde, pleasure as articulated by Adrienne Marie Brown, and delight as expressed by Ross Gay. We are especially interested in writing from Black queer writers across all gender identities and orientations. We welcome submissions from emerging and experienced writers.

We seek writing that:

  • crosses and cleaves a range of literary genres (creative non-fiction, short fiction, and poetry)

  • merges the themes of joy and pleasure; affirms the interconnectedness of race, gender, and sexual orientation

  • affirms our gifts as Black diasporic writers and artists

  • centers and celebrates Blackness and Black diasporic peoples in all our iterations

SUBMISSIONS: We will only accept previously unpublished work (print or digital). Prose should range from 2,000 to 5,000 words. Two poems may be submitted as one entry. Two submissions per person are welcome, although only one may be selected for publication. Submit Microsoft Word or rich text files (.rtf) with one-inch margins and 12-point Times New Roman font. Each submission should be a single document. Name the document as your first and last name and title of your story (e.g., “Janesha Doe Title” or “Janesha_Doe_Title”). Your bio is required (100 word maximum). Your work must be submitted through Submittable.

COMPENSATION & RIGHTS: Authors will receive one payment of $75.00 USD upon publication and one print copy of the anthology. Authors may purchase print copies of the anthology at cost.

The publisher (BLF Press) requests First English language print and electronic/digital rights for one year from publication. After one year, contributors retain all rights to the publication of their work. Contributors are asked to sign a one-page publishing agreement.

DEADLINES & ACCEPTANCE: Submissions are due by December 31, 2022. The editors will acknowledge the receipt of all submissions. Contributors whose work is selected for publication will be notified by March 31, 2023. The anthology will be published and available on September 5, 2023. Contributors will receive updates about the progress of the publication. Payments will be disbursed by September 30, 2023.


Stephanie Andrea Allen, Ph.D., is an interdisciplinary humanities scholar, creative writer, small press publisher, and Assistant Professor of Gender Studies at Indiana University. Her research centers Black lesbian cultural histories and Black feminisms through various expressions, including literature, film, and other print and visual media. Dr. Allen is also Publisher and Editor-in-Chief at BLF Press, and co-editor of Serendipity Literary Magazine. Her creative work can be found in various online and print publications, including The Black Femme Collective, Mom Egg Review, Star*Line, Inkwell Black, Big Echo: Critical Science Fiction Magazine, Sinister Wisdom, and in her two short story collections, A Failure to Communicate and How to Dispatch a Human: Stories and Suggestions. Connect with her on Twitter @S_Andrea_Allen and on Instagram @ stephanie.andrea.allen.

Lauren Cherelle is the Managing Editor and Creative Director of BLF Press. She’s a fiction editor, graphic designer and digital marketer with an MBA from the University of Tennessee and writing certifications from the University of Louisville. Her creative work reflects the lives of Southern Black girls and women. Her most recent writing was published in Sinister Wisdom 122: Writing Communities and Black from the Future: A Collection of Black Speculative Writing. Join Lauren on Twitter and Instagram: @laurencre8s.

Submission Period
May 14, 2022 -December 31, 2022

Poetry Fiction Nonfiction Press