A Final Call

is the co-founder of the Dark Mountain Project, of which he was director from 2009-2017, He is the author of nine books - three novels, two poetry collections and four works of non-fiction - all of which, it turns out, tell the same story: how we walked away from the wild world, and how we might get home again, if we can. He runs the Wyrd School which teaches wild writing and art and lives in the west of Ireland.

Now that the Deep Waters series has wound up here on the blog, we are turning our attention to our second book, Dark Mountain: Issue 2. I’ve found this series of pieces a great exercise in opening up the possibilities of this project a little further.

Volume two of Dark Mountain – which we plan to publish next March – will be, in one sense, an extension of what we did in volume one; it will be a coming together of the possibilities of this project in printed form. Specifically, it will be a collection of writing and art, in all forms and none, which respond to the challenges laid out in our manifesto, and which draw on the conversations and themes which have been going on around this project for a year or so.

We hope also, though, that volume two will be an advance on volume one, and we’re already seeing that in some of the submissions we’ve had coming in to us.

In terms of structure, this means that we are interested particularly in writing which is hard to pin down – writing, perhaps, beyond the standard forms of essay, poem or short story. Writing which challenges the necessity and existence of forms, and which is not afraid to try new things. Writing which is uncivilised, untamed and hard to define.

As regards subject matter, we’re particularly keen on writing which is rooted. That means writing which is born of practical experience, or which draws on places, people or deep knowledge. We are less interested in writing which advances theoretical, conceptual or philosophical worldviews at the expense of, or without drawing on, this kind of moored experience. Unless, of course, it is exceptional.

We’ve also been thinking a little deeper about what, if we were feeling self-important (and it looks like I am at the moment), we might call the Dark Mountain counter-canon. In the first book we included a section written by Dougald and myself which examined some writers who were/are producing the kind of work which we admire, and which this project exists to promote. For volume two we’d like to widen this exploration, so we’re asking for contributions to it. If there is a writer you admire – living or dead, still writing or otherwise – who you think is producing the kind of Uncivilised work called for in the manifesto, we would love to receive a short (200 word) summary of their work and themes, along the lines of those featured in volume one. We hope to be able to publish a good number of these in book two, and start building up a collection of names and works.

Having said all of this, there are no hard or fast rules about what we will or won’t accept for volume two, other than those which we applied the first time round: we are looking for work that is special, which makes us sit up and think, and which wouldn’t be published elsewhere. If you have something to add to the mix this time we would love to see it. The final deadline for submissions – which should be sent to [email protected] – is Monday 22nd November.


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