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NCW Anthology Series

2021 NCW Anthology


Chiaroscuro: An Anthology of Virtue & Vice


    • There is a capacity of virtue in us, and there is a capacity of vice to make your blood creep.

      — Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied, 

    And vice sometime's by action dignified.

    — William Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet


    When discussing virtue and vice, it is easy to wander down the road of morality, though in essence virtue is simply the good or useful qualities of a thing, whereas vice is a habitual and usually trivial defect or shortcoming. One does not have to look too far in literature to find examples of both. Authors are fond of espousing the dark and light sides of both. 

    Perhaps most famous, or infamous, are the seven deadly sins and the seven heavenly virtues as defined by Christianity. These attributes have been explored in a multitude of arenas including prose, poetry, music, and screen. From Shakespearean dramas to serial killers in crime fiction to persecuted knights in anime, human fascination with virtue and vice, and the way those qualities play out in different scenarios, transcend culture and socioeconomic background, illustrating their timeless nature—their universality. 

    For our 2021 anthology, explore one vice or virtue using fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. It may be desired or even necessary to choose more than one of these traits for depth, but the overall theme of your submission should clearly focus on one main vice or virtue.

    Submission guidelines:

    • Short fiction and creative nonfiction/memoir submissions should be a maximum of 5000 words.

    • Poetry submissions can be up to 3 poems contained in a single file with a maximum of 10 pages.

    • All submissions need to be edited and proofread prior to submission.

    • Submit all files as a Word .doc or .docx file or, for poetry submissions, as a pdf (to retain formatting). The file name should contain the title of the piece only. Example: A Simple Favor might be submitted as asimplefavor.doc or a_simple_favor.docx.

    • Submissions MUST NOT contain any identifying information about the author. Including your name, address, email or any other personal information will result in immediate disqualification.

    • Multiple Submissions: Multiple submissions will be accepted, but only one per entry form.

    • Simultaneous Submissions: Please, no simultaneous submissions.

    • Original Work: We are looking for original, unpublished work only. Previously published work will not be accepted.

    • Target Audience: This anthology is intended for adult readers. Submissions intended for children or middle grade readers will not be accepted. Erotica, rape scenes, or gratuitous violence are also prohibited. Some sex, violence, and profanity is fine as long as it suits the story. It cannot feel gratuitous or be included for shock value.

    Submission Window: May 15 - October 15, 2020.

    Est. Pub Date: October 2021. All published contributors will receive $50 and 2 copies of the print book. 

    Submission Fees:
    $15/submission for nonmembers
    $5/submission for members (click here, must be logged in)


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