The ICS and Futurefire.net (FFN), an independent publisher of speculative fiction, are embarking on an innovative partnership to publish a new volume entitled Making Monsters later this year. The book, which is aimed primarily at an audience of non-specialists, will combine a series of articles written by scholars with an anthology of new short stories and poems inspired by ancient monsters (including those from Greco-Roman mythology, the Near East, ancient Egypt, or any other ancient world cultures). We recently put out an open call for contributions from writers of fiction and poetry. In keeping with the editorial policy of our partners at FFN, we’re particularly interested in commissioning pieces which explore the marginality and transgressive nature of monsters, particularly in relation to gender issues, sexuality, race or disability. If you’re interested in contributing a piece you can read more and find out how to submit your work here.
The idea for the volume stemmed from a recent public event, ‘Why do we need monsters?’ hosted by the ICS; two of the speakers who presented at that event, Liz Gloyn (Royal Holloway) and Valeria Vitale (ICS), will each contribute a short essay. Liz’s piece focuses on classical monsters in the modern world (particularly in films and television), and Valeria will talk about using 3D technology to create new hybrid creatures. Their essays will be joined by four other contributions. Maria Anastasiadou (University of Heidelberg) will share with us some of her research into Aegean iconographic representation of Gorgos and Minotaurs. Margrét Helgadóttir will give an insight into monsters of the world based on her expert knowledge of monsters from a whole range of different cultures (we recommend taking a look at the Books of Monsters, published by Fox Spirit Books, of which Margrét is series editor). Meanwhile Annegret Märten (King’s College London) will share elements of their research on the ways in which monsters are visualised, and Hannah Silverblank (Haverford College) will talk about intersections between concepts of monstrosity and human physical difference or disability. These authors will also have the opportunity to respond in their pieces to the new works of fiction and poetry which will sit alongside their essays, and an afterword reflecting on both the essays and the creative pieces will be written by Mathilde Skoie (Oslo). Bringing academics and creative writers into conversation with one another is a great way of planting new ideas and informing future thinking; we hope too that the combination of fiction and non-fiction will also appeal to audiences who may not previously have engaged with scholarship in this field.
We’re also delighted to be able to share with you a sneak preview of the cover art for the volume. Artist Robin Kaplan, also known as The Gorgonist, has given permission for us to use her glorious image ‘The Lonely Gorgon’ (pictured above) on the jacket.
We’ll share more news about Making Monsters here on the ICS blog in due course, so keep an eye on our page if you’re interested in seeing how the project develops. Meanwhile, if you’d like to create your own monster masterpiece, Valeria Vitale has produced a monster-themed colouring book, Colouring Monsters, which you can download and print for free or purchase as hard copy here. We also tweet about the theme via the hashtag #ICSMonsters, so drop in and share your favourite ancient monsters (or your colouring creations!) with us on Twitter.
by Emma Bridges