Echtrai -According to the Irish of the Celtic pagan tradition, an echtrai refers to a broad category of mythic journeying, usually undertaken by a ‘hero’, and very often to the ‘Otherworld’.
There are many and varied categories of echtrai, some involving encounters with strange, otherworldly beings, undersea creatures, spirits, and secret or hidden lands. There are numerous interpretations and spellings of the word itself, but here, we deploy it in very sweeping, poetic terms in order to qualify it as the title of a journal dedicated to landscapes lost, abandoned, forgotten and mythic.
The earth is a vast archive, a catalogue of activity and events that spans the epochs, encompassing everything that we know and likely ever will know – layers upon layers, each layer containing and encapsulating the moments of its occurrence, each layer a caché of memory, history, and things long gone, faded into an evanescent past.
But what is history if not a means of interpreting, decoding, or systematic ordering of the past? Historians, archaeologists, geologists, palynologists, specialists of every type are educated interpreters attempting to dissect, comprehend and document events that they had no part in, and oftentimes scant knowledge of. The earth’s history is largely an enigma, it sits on unstable, mutable, shape-shifting foundations as it conspires to write and rewrite itself under the scrutinous eyes of scholars.
All, shades of fiction.
In determining or seeking truth, we often have to trust our intuition, our instinct, and lay ourselves open to the strange or unexpected. Time is, of course, a continuum, it is porous – it has no clear boundaries across the millennia; stories and accounts move through it with ease, yet much of our truth is occluded, encrypted, or shrouded in myth. For what is a myth but an alternate version of true events, amplified and extruded to ensure longevity? A myth instructs and informs. It is subtly didactic, though often couched in hyperbole. It cloaks itself in extraordinary armour, in hope that its core message is elegantly preserved, there, awaiting faithful transmission to the next generation. A story of succession. But the generations can be unreliable custodians of history, and much is lost or distorted along the way. A hazardous journey through time, where everything is subject to bias, fragmentation, or sustained and deliberate erasure.
It is upon this journey that we embark with Echtrai journal, an attempt at attuning to the frequencies of the liminal, hoping to reconstruct the lost and distorted fragments of antiquity, listening for ancestral voices, the words of those long gone, hidden deep within the earth. A vestigial undersong that resonates across time.
It is perhaps a well worn trope that in our increasingly technologised lives, we are rapidly and incrementally losing our connection with each other and the natural world. A trope that nevertheless requires a re-telling or reinterpretation. In order to connect to, and inspire our successors, our descendants, and those around us, we need to re-enchant the natural world, recover and restore our sense of wonder, reconstruct or retell our myths, create new myths, salvage the memory of places whose narratives have been lost across time, make new that which has fallen by the wayside and into decay.
Our history is already being written and accounted for – what we seek are those things that have slipped into the cracks and fissures of time, that don’t quite fit traditional or accepted models, things lost, forgotten, ignored, overlooked, stolen episodes, contaminated recollections, mythic narratives, things of uncertain chronology, fictions and half-fictions that speak of nature and place in unique and creative ways. Echtrai is a journey without destination, it is a part of the continuum, an attempt at tying together disparate, discursive threads, threads that tell our lost and forgotten stories, now gilded, aureate, polished and brought shining into the light.
We are looking for:
New, established, or emerging writers with a flair for the original – a creative, innovative style that will excite and engage our audience and encourage them to question, learn, enquire, discuss and challenge. We hope to showcase excellence in non-fiction, fiction, poetic prose, experimental texts, hybrid forms and insightful, thought-provoking presentation. Alongside this we will bring together writers, visual artists, photographers and other creatives with a harmonious vision and a unique voice in one elegantly presented journal.
‘..the past is a foreign country, they do things differently there..’ L. P Hartley, The Go-Between, 1953.
ECHTRAI submissions guidelines
SUBMISSIONS REMAIN OPEN FOR EDITION 2, until 30th MAY 2022
Echtrai was published initially as a stand-alone PILOT Edition of around 100 pages, and due to its sell-out success we have extended that to a bi-annual edition sequence, available from this site on a mail order basis currently. All editions are published by AnMór Studio, a small team of writers and artists dedicated to, and passionate about our chosen subject.
We are committed to publishing original writing and art which embodies the themes of our journal – art and text informed by landscapes lost, abandoned, forgotten, mythic.
We are particularly interested in hearing fresh, new voices, but equally happy to hear from established, published authors at any stage of their career, and from emerging and upcoming writers. and artists. We are looking for innovative, challenging, brave writing and art, which responds to the challenge that Echtrai Journal has set down – to find fresh narratives, new stories, and new ways of telling them, and re-enchanting the land in which we live. However – before you submit anything, please read the guidelines below, so you know what we do and what we’re looking for.
We have an avid interest in our hidden and unsung landscapes encompassing the whole of human history from the prehistoric to the present day. We are interested in forgotten places, abandoned buildings, lost and forgotten cultures, the secret, the hidden, the subterranean (or subaquatic), the lore, the legends, flora and fauna, and the artefacts of our land.
1. Before submitting work to us, we strongly suggest that you support us by purchasing a copy of the journal, or read our accompanying project overview (above) and fully understand the journey that we are undertaking together. This will give you a feel for the range and the standard of work we are looking for. Make sure you like what you see, and you know what we do. Observe the guidelines, but don’t take them as set in stone, we are open to anything experimental, genre breaking, and non-traditional – challenge us, challenge our expectations. We are happy to have a chat with you before you submit if you are in any way unsure if, or how, to proceed with your submission. Email proposals for works are encouraged.
2. We will publish non-fiction, poetry, hybrid forms, visual art (with an emphasis on fine art and photography) and will consider and encourage work that is entirely non-categorisable. For essay pieces, and for reasons of available space, please DO NOT include footnotes or bibliography. However, we do allow references to other works / authors within the body of your text.
3. All work must be your own. When you submit it, please accompany it with a brief biography, including references to your previous published work and/or a link to any relevant web presence. We don’t intend to reprint work that has been published elsewhere, unless it has some significant or historic relevance to the remit of the journal – we are looking for original work – but if you do submit something for re-publication, please tell us where it appeared first.
4. We will publish many styles and flavours of prose writing, from long-form essays, to experimental and hybrid forms. In terms of length, we are currently considering pieces up to 3,000 words – but when writing for us, please bear in mind that this is an upper limit, not a target length. Anything over 3,000 words will be considered if it is both exceptional and original, and cannot be edited down or reduced in any way – we reserve the right to reduce work on the grounds of available space, or relevance to the piece. We look for concision and innovation, both in what you are saying and how you are saying it. When sending in your submission, please state the word count on the submissions form or in the accompanying email and submit no more than three pieces.
5. Please upload your written work to us by email in a format that can be opened in Microsoft Word for PC, Pages for Mac, or generic PDF format, attached in the body of an email. Please also name your file to include your full name followed by the name of the piece you are submitting ([YOUR NAME]_[TITLE OF PIECE]). If we receive a lot of submissions this will make final selection quicker and easier. In the title body of your email, please ensure you label it as Echtrai Journal Submission, so we are clear that it is intended for us to consider.
6. IMAGES – If you are submitting artwork, we ask you to upload/send your submission as JPG files (max 2MB) in the first instance. Please send ONLY ONE image to be used as as preface page to accompany a written piece. Any accompanying captions/text should be uploaded/sent in the body of your email. If your image is accepted, we will ask you to send it as a larger file for publication. VISUAL ARTISTS & PHOTOGRAPHERS are invited to submit up to FOUR images per piece to fill a page, but please send in black and white only.
The full specifications for images for publication can be found below.
9. Please be patient! Depending on available time, it may take us a while to get back to you, but we will reply to every submission we receive. If you have submitted a piece to Echtrai Journal, please do not submit it for publication elsewhere until you have received a response from us.
10. If we do accept your work for publication, we may get back to you with some suggested changes or edits, generally related to reduction or expansion of a piece. If you have been INVITED to submit a piece for whatever reason, then the same rule applies. We trust in your ability as a writer, but we may have to alter the length of a piece to accommodate the works of others. We will at ALL TIMES contact you if an edit has to be made to a piece, and we are respectful of your work and how it is presented. If we do not accept your work, please don’t be disheartened. It may be that we simply don’t have space, or that your piece isn’t quite right for this edition, but that may not be the case in future. Keep writing, keep challenging and adapting, and DO stay in touch.. we love to hear from you, and know what you are working on. That might lead to an invitation to submit in the future.
11. We are attempting to pay for work that we publish, more than likely a nominal fee, but we hope that if the debut edition is successful, we can offer something more substantial. We will send you a copy of the journal on publication, and we guarantee you an intelligent, critical, and engaged audience for your work, and widespread distribution covering a range of demographics and ethnicities.
All copyright remains with the authors, though we ask that you don’t republish accepted work elsewhere within 6 months of journal publication.
12. I do hope that you will join us on what promises to be an exciting and interesting journey. This type of publishing venture, I am aware is fraught with risk and complications, and we hope to make your part in the journey as painless as possible. We also ask that you assist in ANY WAY YOU CAN, to spread the word, and encourage your network or fanbase to buy the journal to ensure not only its survival, but its longevity. We are more than happy to hear from booksellers, stockists and distributors to help get Echtrai Journal out into the wider world.
We look forward to hearing back from you!
ECHTRAI JOURNAL – IMAGE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES
When submitting images for consideration, please send them as a JPG file (max 2MB) in the first instance, no more than two images to accompany a written piece, more if submitting for a specific image-related piece.
If your images are selected for publication, we will require higher quality images in .tiff format, bearing in mind the following specifications:
In the debut edition of Echtrai Journal, the maximum printable area for images:
- Colour images ( front cover only) – if selected: maximum printable area = 198 mm [h] x 132 mm [w] size inc. 3mm bleed
- Greyscale images for text pages: maximum printable area = 198 mm [h] x 132 mm [w] (3mm bleed)
- File formats and colour profiles:
Please apply the appropriate specification to your digital file artwork –
- Colour images: Digital file format: . JPEG / Tiff. Resolution: 300dpi minimum. Colour mode: CYMK [profile: FOGRA39 (ISO 12647-2:2004)]
- Greyscale images: Digital file format: JPEG / Tiff. Resolution: 300dpi minimum. Colour mode: greyscale (15% dot grain)
- Black & White images: Digital file format: .Bitmap. Resolution: 1200dpi. Colour mode: bitmap
Email enquiries to: Echtraijournal@aol.com