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Travel the World with a New Anthology: Everywhere Stories

On October 1, Press 53 will publish Everywhere Stories: Short Fiction from a Small Planet, an anthology of twenty stories by twenty authors set in twenty different countries. One of the contributors is Marc Nieson, winner of Carve’s 2008 Raymond Carver contest, and other contributors include Joseph Cavano (Love Songs in Minor Keys), David Ebenbach (Into the Wilderness), and Matthew Pitt (Attention Please Now).

Everywhere Stories will be available from Press 53 on October 1st.Everywhere Stories takes readers on a worldwide journey, from a portentous soccer game in the Congo, to a mysterious disappearance in Argentina, to a murder in the Italian countryside, to a quarreling couple in Kazakhstan, to a visit with Chairman Mao in China, to a sketchy dentist in New Zealand. The anthology, which manages to hit each of the seven continents (yes, even Antartica), is edited by award-winning author and international traveler, Clifford Garstang (What the Zhang Boys Know, In an Uncharted Country).  And Cliff was kind enough to answer a few questions for Carve about the new release…

Why did you want to do an anthology from “around the world?”

I’ve lived and worked internationally since just after college—I was in the Peace Corps in South Korea—so I’m naturally drawn to fiction with an international flavor. I came up with the idea for this anthology and proposed it to Press 53 last year. Travel definitely broadens the mind, and the next best thing to travel is reading.

In editing Everywhere Stories, did you begin to notice any common themes?

I did, actually. At first, I didn’t have a theme. I thought it was enough that the stories were all international, but then when I looked at them more closely I realized that they did have something in common, and that was a revelation to me. Almost all the stories deal with danger in some form, and so that revealed the theme: “It’s a dangerous world.”

You also edit Press 53’s online literary magazine, Prime Number. How was working on the anthology different from editing Prime Number?

It was more challenging in some ways. For one thing, I had a lot more stories to choose from than I usually do for an issue of Prime Number. Plus, I needed to balance my selection by continent, and I wanted to limit myself to one story per country. So even though I had several fine stories set in France, for example, I could only take one. But in another way it was easier, because I accepted quite a few reprints for the anthology, and that meant that some of the stories had already been vetted by other editors.

The anthology seems quite diverse — four stories set in Africa, five in Asia, five in the Americas, four in Europe, and one each in Antartica and Oceania.  How did you find such diverse authors and stories?

In the fall of 2013, I put out an open call for submissions. We let as many people know about it as we could, through Poets & Writers, Newpages, my personal website, and so on. By our December 31 deadline we had over 650 submissions. It was both exciting and a little overwhelming. It was basically a fulltime job for me for three months to go through the submissions and choose the ones that have become the book.

Is there anything else you’d like us to know about Everywhere Stories?

We only had room for 20 stories, and the planet has more than 200 countries, so our hope is that this will turn into a series. So your readers should stay tuned for future calls for submissions! Everywhere Stories will be available October 1st. For more information or to order your copy, visit the Press 53 website.