Call for Submissions: A Special Folio on China after 2008

The Common, in collaboration with guest editor Cleo Qian, will publish a special online folio of work about youth and contemporary culture from writers with a strong tie to Mainland China. Submissions will open on February 1st. 

Call for submissions graphic with same information as is on the web page
For the rest of the world, China’s 2008 Summer Olympics—with its $40 billion budget, dramatic “Bird’s Nest” stadium, and the lavish spectacle of its opening ceremony—marked the ascension of a new economic superpower onto the modern stage. Since then, new generations of Chinese youth have come of age into a society constantly rippling with changes, inundated with globalization, technology, and consumerism. The West continues to view China with curiosity, suspicion, and a sense of enigma as the country rapidly industrialized and urbanized, and its economic and political influence continues to shift. Yet Chinese literature translated into English is still predominantly written by older authors from the period of WW2, Maoism, and the Cultural Revolution, while neglecting the up-and-coming generation of Chinese artists, now dealing with wholly different lifestyles and sets of concerns.

The Common is seeking work about youth and contemporary culture from writers with a strong tie to Mainland China. What are the existential questions of this new generation, who are often globalized, tech-savvy, highly skeptical, inundated with media and consumerism, living in a society changing by the minute?

(Please note: Due to the focus of this folio, we are limiting the submissions to works by writers who have strong ties to Mainland China.)

Submissions: We are seeking fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and translation by younger-generation Chinese authors and artists and highlighting aspects of their lives or the current cultural scene of China that is underexplored for an English-reading audience.

Please submit 2-3 poems (no more than 7 pages) and prose up to 4,000 words. Each author should submit only once. The Submittable portal will be open from February 1-March 31 or until we hit 80 submissions, whichever comes first. If submitting translations, please ensure you have permission to publish. Pieces selected for publication will be compensated.

The folio is anticipated to be published in September 2024. 

About Folio Editor Cleo Qian 

headshot of cleo qian

Cleo Qian (she/her) is a queer writer born in California. She is the author of the short story collection LET’S GO LET’S GO LET’S GO, which was one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Best Books of 2023 and longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction.

Read Qian’s work in The Common here


Call for Submissions: A Special Folio on China after 2008

Related Posts

headshots of the authors reading at tc's festival of debut authors

Join us for the 2024 Festival of Debut Authors!

Join The Common's team on March 27th at 7pm for our 2024 Festival of Debut Authors, an evening devoted to emerging talents! This virtual celebration will highlight poets and prose writers Felice Belle, Jordan Escobar, Irina Hrinoschi, amika elfendi, Nina Perrotta and Shanna Tan. 

vertical image of an ocean with a sunset

Ship Happens

Each summer the cadets of Maine Maritime Academy put to sea with a crew of instructors aboard their eponymous training ship, State of Maine. Here, like medical students at a teaching hospital, they set about practicing the skills of their aspirational careers.

Bowl of Dates


They spent as long as an hour parsing a single word, merasakan. It meant “to taste,” but it also meant to feel, to sense, to experience. There were English corollaries, but it wasn’t a perfect one to one. To “have a taste” was different than to “have taste,” they established.