“Perhaps only imagination, in its full processes, can touch and reach and recognise and embody… There are many other kinds of writing in society, but these now—of past and present and future—are close and urgent, challenging many of us to try both to understand and to attempt them”
— Raymond Williams
“Good prose is like a windowpane”
— George Orwell
Riffs Vol 5 Issue 1: Popular music fiction
Perhaps you have a comic strip that you wrote on issues of representation in the music industry, or a piece of short fiction that considers popular music heritage, work that has not yet found a home. Or maybe your experiences as a musician, a music fan or researcher have provided you with rich characters, begging to be explored through a dialogue or a short story. We invite you to flex your imagination as a tool for analysis and criticism, to find a fictional form for your insights and arguments, and to imagine potential popular music futures (utopian or dystopian) as a means to critique the present.
Inspired by the work of our Guest Editor, Dr Ash Watson and the Fiction Desk of The Sociological Review, the next issue of Riffs will bring together work that uses fiction to critically explore issues within popular music and to communicate this to a wide audience.
Dr Ash Watson is based at the Vitalities Lab, Centre for Social Research in Health and Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney. She leads the public sociology project So Fi Zine, and is Fiction Editor of The Sociological Review. Her debut novel Into the Sea was published by Brill in 2020.
Riffs publishes contributions from writers from academic and non-academic backgrounds. We encourage submissions which include written, visual, and musical elements, interrogate traditional and experimental forms of communication of ideas and arguments, and pieces that emerge through collaborations between writers, poets, musicians, composers and visual artists. For examples of pieces based on previous prompts, have a look through our current and past issues, available to download from the Riffs website.
Deadline for a title and 300-word synopsis of the proposed work – 4th October 2020. Please also include your name, a short bio and contact email.
Up to ten contributions will be published online and in limited edition print in July 2021.
All abstracts submitted to Riffs will be considered by the whole editorial panel and full submissions (of 1,000-4,000 words / visual (to not exceed 8 A4 pages) / audio content / or an audio/video file suitable for hosting on WordPress) will be invited on or before the 9th of October. Full submissions must be submitted by 14th February and will be blind peer reviewed before publication. All visual and audio content must have a Creative Commons License, be owned by the contributor or permission given by the copyright owner.
Please send your synopsis and bio to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note: Riffs shall be entitled to first use of the contribution in all the journal’s different forms, but the author remains the copyright owner and can re-publish their contribution without seeking the journal’s permission. Riffs reserve the right to decline to publish contributions if they are submitted after the agreed deadline and without the assigned editor being informed (and agreeing to) a new submission date.
Collage credit: Laura Chen