Editor’s note: the following is a call for submissions for a new anthology from our partners at Belt Publishing.

THE GARY ANTHOLOGY is seeking non-fiction stories, poems, interviews, and reported essays that can give a nuanced view of life in Gary, Indiana.

“Instant City,” “Magic City of Steel,” “Sin City,” “Chocolate City,” “Plywood City,” “Murder Capital.” These are just a few of simplistic titles applied to Gary.

Once the second largest city in Indiana, Gary’s population is now approaching a pre-Great Depression level. Large swathes of the city are urban prairie. A recent survey found a quarter of the Gary’s built environment is in a dilapidated or dangerous condition. Yet a new hope is present. Recent regional and national journalism occasionally reflects this, but most of this writing is by outsiders. The Gary Anthology will offer readers the chance to hear from Gary people who are reshaping the city from the bottom up.

We are looking for writing that complicates standard narratives about steel, violence, and urban decay. Gary is also a center of Black culture and political power. It is home to the Indiana Dunes National Park and globally rare ecosystems. Union, community organizing, and environmental justice struggles based in Gary have profoundly shaped social and political life in the United States. It is also the setting for everyday joys and tragedies.

Preference will be given to Gary-based writers, or former Gary residents who maintain a connection to the city. Stories can elaborate on Gary’s connections to other communities in Northwest Indiana, the Chicago area, the Midwest, or the world, but they must be set in Gary to be considered. Nothing about us, without us, is for us.

Stories, essays, and interviews should range between 600-1,200 words. Longer pieces are possible, as are commissioned topics. Send queries to the email address below. Sorry, no fiction! Authors can submit multiple pieces. We will accept previously published pieces, but the author must include the original publication information and have the rights to the piece. Accepted submissions will likely be edited in coordination with the author. Modest stipends are available for selected pieces.

The anthology will be edited by Samuel Love, a fourth-generation Gary resident, artist, community organizer, and educator.

Submissions are due by December 15, 2019.

To submit an entry, please email samuelalove219@gmail.com:

-Include author’s full name and contact information (phone, email, address and 3-4 sentence bio)
-Indicate where the author lives/where the piece takes place
-Write “SUBMISSION” on the subject line.

Cover image courtesy of Sam Love.