open call for submissions


I’m looking for a new voice to contribute a short story for the young-adult anthology COOL. AWKWARD. BLACK. This anthology will be published in Spring 2023 by Penguin Young Readers with a list of bestselling and critically acclaimed Black authors.


These stories will celebrate Blackness beyond the mainstream: A shout-out to the lovers of manga and anime. A head nod to the con cosplayers and RPG players. An homage to the book nerds and STEM geeks. Our Blackness has no boundaries. We’re owning the power of being COOL. AWKWARD. BLACK.


The anthology will span all genres and facets of geekdom and fandom. Black teens deserve to see themselves at the center, celebrating their passions, embracing their magic, falling in love, and saving the world. I would love for your story to be a part of it.

submission requirements

The Submissions Call will open on June 15, 2021 at 9:00AM EST and will close on September 15, 2021 at 11:59PM EST. Any submission made prior to or after this time period may not be considered.


All applicants must be unrepresented by an agent and unpublished (including self-publishing). 


All submissions must include three separate attachments to be considered, including the following:


  • A short story of 5,000 words or less, attached as a .doc, .docx, or .txt file.


  • A bio (150 words or less) that tells us about you and includes how the applicant identifies as part of the Black/African diaspora, attached as a .doc, .docx, or .txt file.

  • A photo/headshot, attached as a .jpg or .png file.


All entries must be submitted electronically to


All submissions must be appropriate for a young adult audience, ages 12 to 18.


All submissions must be an original work of fiction written in English by the applicant and never before published in any commercial medium, print or online, audio, or translated from a foreign language.


You will receive email confirmation upon receipt of your story. Submissions will not be returned. There is no guarantee that your submission will be published. Feedback will not be provided on your submission. The anthology editor has no obligation to applicants whose submissions are not selected.


If your submission is selected for potential inclusion in the anthology, then you agree, upon request, to work with the anthology editor and publisher as part of the editing process. You further understand that you will be asked to sign a contributor agreement, with terms equal to those of other contributors, and your submission will not be published if you elect not to sign. You further agree that the submission may be edited for length, format or otherwise by the anthology editor or publisher.


If your submission is selected for potential inclusion in the anthology and meets the publication requirements outlined above (as defined by the anthology editor), you will receive a contributor fee of approximately $3,000 (subject to the final number of contributors) and you will receive credit as a contributor in the publication.