Call for Submissions – Banned: Seven Weeks of Literature

Elsewhere Lit and Ajam Media Collective are teaming up to bring you “Banned,” seven weeks of literature featuring stories, essays and poems from Trump’s seven banned countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

At Elsewhere Lit, we publish original literature and artwork that engage both the politics and poetics of place and space, that examine the meanings of borders and identities. Ajam Media Collective serves as an online space for understanding the broader Middle East and its diasporas. Ajam usually publishes non-fiction articles, podcasts, photo essays, and mixtapes, and this collaboration with Elsewhere Lit represents our first foray into publishing literature and poetry.

In the past two weeks, with the presidential executive order “banning” the entry of citizens of seven nations into US, we have seen “spaces” and “places” becoming central sites of discussion in our mainstream politics. On the other hand, we have been reflecting on the ramifications of “banning” certain nations and the politics of homogenization that is implied in that. On the other hand, the extraordinary resistance that has erupted in response has used space and place in extremely creative ways, transforming airports into pivotal places of resistance.

It is at this crucial juncture that we invite you to share with us stories, poems, essays and other creative endeavors that would complicate these two radically different notions of place and space. We are asking ourselves, how do we understand and make meanings out of certain places and spaces? How have we, in our popular consciousness, come to know the “banned seven”? What other stories about these “places” do we need to construct, to know, and to listen to? In addition to thinking about literal bans, we’re interested in hearing about other forms of bans, which have also been met with creative forms of defiance. In what contexts, do literal bans intersect and coincide with more informal, insidious kinds of bans that pervade our cultural, literary and social spaces? If you can claim some kind of personal connection to these nations, we want to hear from you.

Submission Guidelines

We will be considering the following media:

  • Fiction: max 7500 words
  • Flash Fiction: max 1200 words
  • Poetry: max 5 poems (max 10 pages)
  • Flash Nonfiction: max 1200 words

To submit your pieces, please follow this link. If you are submitting a piece in a language other than English, please submit an English translation of your piece as well. Include your connection to one of the banned 7 countries in a short bio accompanying your piece.

Pieces will be published on

If you are interested in submitting something from a different genre, email us at or

Submissions will be accepted on a rolling basis, and we will begin publishing pieces on February 20th. 


(Photo Credit: Scott Lynch for the Village Voice)


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