Tag Archives: Mithila Review

Fiction, Film, and the Future: Interview with Salik Shah

Welcome back! Today, I’m thrilled to feature the talented Salik Shah. Salik is the editor and founder of Mithila Review as well as an accomplished fiction author, poet, filmmaker and reviewer. His work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Asimov’s Science Fiction, and New Myths, among other outlets.

Recently, Salik and I discussed the genesis of Mithila Review as well as his future plans for writing, reviewing, and filmmaking.

A couple icebreakers to start: when did you first decide to become a writer, and who are some of your favorite authors?

Salik ShahAs a child, I fell in love with watercolors, and then came a flood of words at age eight. But I wouldn’t submit my poetry or fiction to literary publications until I was in my mid-twenties.

Thomas Hardy, V.S. Naipaul, Gabriel García Márquez and Haruki Murakami were critical to my understanding of literature, and the vocation of writing. And I absolutely adore Cordwainer Smith, Ted Chiang and Kij Johnson. There are so many brilliant writers writing today, it’s impossible to list all their names.

You are the editor and founder of Mithila Review. How did the idea for the publication originate, and what has been the most rewarding part so far of running Mithila Review?

There was a persistent status quo of an arrogant majority, which I wanted to break with Mithila Review. The silence before MR was deafening!

The most rewarding aspect of running a publication like Mithila Review is to be able to discover, nurture and support emerging, hidden and marginalized writers, poets and artists from around the world. I am grateful that we are able to host these alternative voices and forms of storytelling from different cultures.

As an editor, what do you look for in the slush pile? Likewise, what tips do you have for writers who are eager to be published in Mithila Review?

Please send us your best stories. As a new market in a part of the world where none exists, where nobody expects us to publish, we cannot afford to compromise on quality.

The personal is always political. We seek to publish fiction, poetry and art that reveal, resist or address various forms of tyrannies.

You are also a filmmaker. How did you first become involved with the world of cinema, and how, if at all, has your work as a filmmaker impacted your work as an author and fiction editor?

I never saw film as a serious art form until I discovered Satyajit Ray, Ingmar Bergman and Akira Kurosawa about ten years ago or so when hi-speed Internet was a big deal (it still is in many part of the Indian subcontinent). I was 20-something when I first went to Bombay, full of crazy ideas and expectations. I’m still recovering from the massive culture shock—the Indian film crowd is very different (cynical and insecure) from what I encountered in old European books and documentaries!

Once again, I took refuge in books of my favorite auteurs to learn about their life and struggles; I read Akira Kurosawa and Werner Herzog to survive feverish months—years—in a lonely city. Satyajit Ray stopped being just a filmmaker for me—he also became a chronicler of fantastic tales. (One of his short stories later germinated into Steven Spielberg’s E.T.) But it wasn’t until I read one of Ingmar Bergman’s screenplays that I finally understood what I needed to do apart from studying film: read fiction and work on my fiction-writing chops. I mean, Bergman didn’t write standard screenplays—he wrote screenplays as stories or novellas.

Reading, writing and editing took more time than I expected. Sometimes I think it’s a miracle that I somehow survived all these years without making a proper feature or a short film. Every time I read a great story, I cannot stop wanting to adapt it onto film. These days I’m beginning to feel confident about my writing—fiction and poetry acceptances by editors you admire tend to have that effect. As I often cannibalize my film ideas for my short stories, and the other way round, I strongly feel the time has come for me to combine these two art forms.

Mithila Review 7In addition to your work at Mithila and your filmmaking, you also review fiction at Strange Horizons. How did you first become involved with reviewing, and has it changed your own approach to writing in any way?

I used to review films and books for my blog, plus a couple of film sites. Then I stopped because I was supposed to be working on my writing chops! Never mind that I listened to people who told me to do something rather than commenting, critiquing.

When I read Indrapramit Das’s novel, I had to write about it. I love Indra’s short stories, but the book was a different monster altogether. I wrote a simple blog-like post and sent it to Strange Horizons, not really expecting it to get published. When it got accepted, I rewrote the whole thing to do justice to both the book and the review as a mode of in-depth criticism. And I didn’t mind the long hours and the thinking that went into it—it actually helped me to see the book in a new light. Honestly, I am grateful to Strange Horizons editors Dan Hartland and Maureen Kincaid Speller for every book review opportunity that has come my way.

What are your goals as a writer, editor, and filmmaker over the next few years?

As an editor, I want to help young and diverse voices to enter speculative fiction and fantasy from around the world. We’re planning a couple of SF anthologies and translation projects apart from the regular quarterly issues of Mithila Review. It’s been a challenge to turn Mithila Review into a paying market, but we’re slowly getting there: http://patreon.com/mithilareview.

As a writer and filmmaker, there is a lot of ground for me to cover. Money is always a problem, but I’m determined not to let it stop me. Hopefully, you can expect a novel or a feature film from me in another two-three years.

We’re also trying to set up Mithila Awards to discover, nurture and reward excellent contributors to speculative fiction and film from Asian writers, artists and filmmakers.

What projects are you currently working on?

I’m considering turning more poetry and short stories into films—live action and animation—as part of Mithila Review.

Apart from short films, I’m developing a couple of feature film projects and web series. There are always short stories to be written, revised or completed, and a book-length poetry project that has been pending for ages.

All these small and big projects seem impossible, chaotic and difficult to manage at times, but I’m learning to prioritize and execute and execute well.

Where can we find you online?

You can find me on Twitter and Facebook. For occasional news and updates, there is my website.

Many thanks for having me here! Cheers!

Tremendous thanks to Salik Shah for being the featured author this week!

Happy reading!

‘Tis the Season for Prose: Submission Roundup for December 2016

Welcome back to this month’s Submission Roundup! As the end of the year draws near, December is a fabulous month for submission calls, and I’m so excited to be spotlighting a few of the very coolest places out there for you speculative-loving writers!

A couple disclaimers: as always, I am not a representative for any of these publications. I am merely spreading the word! If you have any specific questions about these anthologies and magazines, please refer your inquiries directly to the editors of said publications.

Secondly, a quick note: starting in 2017, the Submission Roundup will move from the first Friday of the month to the first Monday of the month. Likewise, author interviews will also move to Mondays starting in the new year. FYI!

Now onward with this month’s Submission Roundup!

Submission RoundupBracken Magazine
Payment: .02/word for fiction
Length: up to 2,500 words
Deadline: Ongoing
What They Want: Bracken is currently seeking short fiction and artwork inspired by wood-based myths and magic realism.
Find the details here.

Mithila Review
Payment: $50/flat for original fiction; $10/flat for flash, poetry, and nonfiction
Length: up to 2,500 words for poetry, essays, and flash; 4,000-8,000 words for short fiction
Deadline: Ongoing
What They Want: Open to a wide variety of speculative fiction and poetry from around the world, in particular stories that explore marginal experiences.
Find the details here.

Black Girl Magic Lit Mag
Payment: $50/flat for short stories; $25/flat for nonfiction
Length: 1,000-6,000 words
Deadline: December 15th, 2016
What They Want: Black Girl Magic is open to fiction about and by black women. The editors will also consider work from diverse authors and allies, provided the story features a black female main character. The January 2017 issue is themed around science fiction.
Find the details here.

Tragedy Queens: Stories Inspired by Lana Del Rey and Sylvia Plath
Payment: $40/flat
Length: 3,000-5,000 words
Deadline: December 30th, 2016
What They Want: This anthology focuses on the nexus of two iconic women: Sylvia Plath and Lana Del Rey. Submitted work can choose one or both women as inspiration. Stories do not necessarily need a speculative element, although dreamlike and surrealistic stories are welcome, provided the plot is still logically cohesive.
Find the details here.

Book Smugglers, Gods and Monsters
Payment: .06/word (maximum $500)
Length: 1,500-17,500 words
Deadline: December 31st, 2016
What They Want: The current theme is Gods and Monsters. Writers are encouraged to play with this theme any way they choose, including gods without monsters, vice versa, or a combination of gods and monsters.
Find the details here.

Pantheon Magazine, Janus Issue
Payment: .01/word for original fiction; $5/flat for poetry
Length: up to 7,500 words
Deadline: December 31st, 2016
What They Want: The forthcoming issue from Pantheon Magazine focuses on Janus, the god of time and transitions. All stories should focus on some form of change. Pantheon Magazine accepts original fiction, reprints, and poetry.
Find the details here.

Year’s Best Hardcore Horror, Volume 2
Payment: .01/word
Length: Short stories & novelettes
Deadline: December 31st, 2016
What They Want: Comet Press is seeking reprints from 2016 that fall within the extreme horror genre.
Find the details here.

Wild Musette
Payment: $50 for short stories; $15 for poetry and flash fiction
Length: 1,000-7,500 words for short stories; up to 1,000 words for poetry and flash fiction
Deadline: January 2nd, 2017
What They Want: Open to speculative fiction and poetry that focuses on themes of music and dance, character-driven fantasy, nature-based fiction, and the human condition at large.
Find the details here.

Happy Submitting!