Anthology Guidelines & Submissions Form

Anthology Guidelines & Submissions Form

About the Book

Forthcoming anthology slated to be published by Penguin SEA this year, The Ordinary Chaos of Being Human: Tales From Many Muslim Worlds, offers a counter narrative to the stereotypical portrayal of Muslims in the media, building empathy across cultures through storytelling. This is not a book about religion; it is a collection of personal stories revealing the multi-faceted and universal experiences of people living all over the world. Each story follows Joseph Campbell’s classic hero’s journey, that classic narrative arc on which the most successful stories of our time have been based. In stories that reveal the heroes and villains of the writers’ lives, readers walk for a moment in the shoes of the "other," during poignant, vulnerable life moments. These stories share the common language of love, truth, despair, revelation, humor, and hope—and in that language, these stories cease to be Muslim, but unequivocally human.

What is the impetus for this project? Read here


We're seeking first-person, unpublished literary/creative non-fiction. 2500-4000 words, in English. Translations of excellent quality are welcome. 

This is a global anthology, therefore stories based (or largely based) in countries outside of the U.S. or U.K. are highly sought after. Some of the countries we're still seeking include: Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Yemen, Iran, Syria, Palestine, Bahrain, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Oman, Saudi Arabia, All of the Maghreb (Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria), Sudan, and any other countries in Africa. 

Writing Specs

Literary non-fiction is similar to fiction, using fictional devices, however it is entirely based in truth.  Please do not submit classic memoir or auto-biography. First-person stories feature the writer as the hero of the piece, employing the classic narrative arc: a curious/compelling start, context which leads to quest which leads to climax, and then to resolution. 

We're looking for stories that do more showing than telling. Deep point of view is important. If you can convey your perspective by setting the scene and revealing it through place/character description and dialogue (rather than explaining your sentiments), then we have the makings for a good story.  

Stories should engage a broad audience, have a strong sense of place and character, and open a window into each unique culture. The story should also transcend cultural boundaries in order to relate to the human nature of all readers. Stories that turn stereotypes on their heads are especially of interest. 

Each story is about a life-changing moment. Some examples, perfect for this book: 

  • an artist's midlife crisis in Lebanon

  • a comical tale about a boy's first kiss in Sri Lanka

  • conflict between neighbors turns into long friendship in Morocco

  • a man's disastrous first meeting with his in-laws in India

  • an old widow finds new love in Nigeria

  • a woman abandons her career to come home to Egypt after 20 years in the West

Writers We Seek 

There is not one Muslim identity. Writers come from a wide range of ethnic and religious perspectives, from secular to devout, former Muslims, cultural Muslims, and agnostics, too. There is no restriction on age, gender, sexuality, or nationality. However, an authentic perspective is crucial to this work, therefore preference will go to those writings from authors who have spent a significant portion of their lives in the country the experience is set in. We seek to feature experiences set in a large swath of countries in this book, from Senegal to Indonesia and beyond. While we do not restrict writers based on religion, we are looking for stories where writers identify with their own Muslim world (in their own personal, unique way), through place and character. 

About the Editor 

Marguerite Richards is a freelance writer and editor chasing food, travel, and culture around the world. She seeks to understand cultural differences and the nuances that separate us, with the resolve to render it palpable through her work. Marguerite holds an MA in French Translation, a BA in English Literature, a Certificate for English teaching, and an honorary business degree from the School of Hard Knocks. Read more about her here. 

What is the impetus for her project? Read here

Meet the Team 

Our list of collaborators is growing to include artists and writers from all over the world. Meet the writing, editing, and publishing professionals, experts in world and travel literature that are helping to shape this project. This book would not be impossible without the generous advice and valuable skills of friends like these. Read about them here. 

Publishing & Distribution. Copyright & Compensation. 

It's just as important to get this book to its readers as it is to create it. After securing a deal with Penguin SEA, our publishing agent Jacaranda Lit Agency is currently shopping the book with publishers in the West. 
Writers whose stories are chosen for the print edition will be compensated with an honorarium of 100 SGD and a copy of the book. For those stories chosen for print we will also require non-exclusive worldwide first rights in all languages, all formats, and all future editions. 

Submit Your Story 

Due to the large number of submissions, and the nature of the selection process, we cannot guarantee an immediate response. If we find your submission has potential for this collection, we will contact you as soon as possible.

PITCHES WELCOME: For those writers wanting to verify a story idea before writing, please submit a brief query (300 words or less), marking PITCH in the subjectline and we will respond with further direction. 

* Please keep in mind that receiving editorial guidance does not guarantee we publish your story. Stories will be chosen on spec with the guidance of the publisher and advisors once the book is nearer publication date.

Deadline is March 10, 2019. 

Please submit your 300-word pitch or compete work at this link.

Why I’m Gathering Tales From Muslim Worlds

Why I’m Gathering Tales From Muslim Worlds