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Taking Submissions: Wittier Than Thou

May 15, 2018

Deadline: May 15th, 2018
Payment: Contributor’s Copy (Charity Anthology)

This is the call for submissions to the third anthology to benefit the Whittier Birthplace. Deadline for submissions is May 2018.

This year’s book will be nonspecific as to genre – mystery, horror, SF – as long meets criteria below.

Story must have connection to Whittier, be it through his life, his works, or a landmark. Previous stories have included tales set on the Whittier Glacier in Alaska, Whittier, California, and Mount Whittier, New Hampshire (all actual locations named after him) as well as his homes in Amesbury, Haverhill, and Hampton. Other stories have been inspired by his poetry. Your story does not to be set in Whittier’s lifetime (unless he’s a character, obviously). All stories are preceded by a related photo (provided by the Birthplace) with a caption that emphasizes the connection to Whittier – in other words, the connection to Whittier can be fairly subtle, the caption will cement the reason why it’s in the book.

 The story must also contain some degree of humor. We already have a whimsical ghost story in which Whittier deals with a blasphemous gardener, and a dreadful shaggy dog story set in Whittier, CA that leads up to a groan-worthy pun. In other words, the concept of “humorous story” is flexible. Aim for PG-13. Language, sex, and violence aren’t really associated with Whittier – R rated is okay, but it’s likely to affect final decisions.

Word count is flexible. I prefer 2k to 7k range, but it’s not a deal breaker to be under or over.

Standard formatting rules apply.

Submit stories to [email protected] with “Wittier” in the subject line.

This is a charitable anthology with all proceeds benefiting the Whittier Birthplace Museum. Previous anthologies have attracted contributions from award-winning authors. Payment is a copy of the book.

Accepted Stories to date (10/4/17)
“Mr. Whittier and the Cursing Gardener” – Ken W. Faig
“A Tale of Old California” – David Bernard


See below for a tickler file. Feel free to borrow, steal, or at least use to get a feel for the direction the book’s theme as currently imagined.


The publisher of Volume Three will be Haverhill House




Previous volumes available through the Gift Shop at the Whittier Birthplace or through Amazon.
Snowbound with Zombies

Short supernatural stories inspired by the life and works of John Greenleaf Whittier.

Although primarily remembered for his poems celebrating rural life, Whittier also relished a good ghost story – his poetry includes tales of witchcraft, clairvoyance, deviltry, premonitions, and ghosts. His first book was not of poetry, but a study of local superstitions, The Legends of New England, which includes retelling such tales as a schoolmarm whose murdered child briefly appears and drives her to confess, a demon fiddler who forces a party to dance until their legs wear down to bloody stumps, and various references to the Robert Burns poem “Tam o’ Shanter” with its witches sabbath in a haunted church.

Murder Among Friends

Short mysteries inspired by the life and works of John Greenleaf Whittier.
John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892) worked, among other occupations, as a newspaper reporter and editor before his poetry propelled him into the American consciousness. But once a journalist, always a journalist. He applauded a well-reported crime as only a former editor could do. His works promoting abolitionism appealed to humanity and treated specific cases as criminal proceedings. And scattered in his prose and poetry celebrating religion and rural life are works derived from famous crimes. After all, what’s a little murder among friends?

Dave’s Tickler File:

Whittier’s nephew wants to build a radio tower at the Amesbury Home. To do so, he needs to cut down his late uncle’s beloved fruit trees. The townsfolk are aghast at such desecration at their literary shrine, The only ones more opposed to the plan are the trees, and they have a plan…

A thief steals a portrait of the poet. It’s creepy the way the eyes follow him around the room. It’s even creepier when they start following around town.

Whittier’s ghost has grown weary of his “dour Quaker” image. So he coerces a local comic to create a stand-up routine where the Poet is a comedic figure. Problems arise when it turns out the comic wasn’t funny to start with, and adding a 200-year old poet as a gag writer isn’t helping.

A literary editor declares Whittier as passé.  Unfortunately, he now appears trapped in a series of situations modeled after Whittier poems. Which may explain why he currently snowbound at the Birthplace – in August.

On a whim to celebrated his 86th birthday, Rev. Hans Peter Bertelsen posed for a photograph dressed as the “Barefoot Boy,” a poem he inspired as a child. The media ran the picture nationally, and now the elderly pastor is dealing with Whittier fans and irate octogenarians who thought they were the inspiration of the poem.

Via: Goudsward.


May 15, 2018