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Orison Books Journeys Toward Enlightenment

“It is a uniquely gratifying feeling to be able to present the work of a writer in an extended form—the form of a book,” says Orison Books founding editor Luke Hankins. “Which is perhaps a more durable form.”

It is this sense of longevity, of the longview, of the certainty that centuries-old spirituality still has something to offer our modern day, which infuses this small non-profit press.

Based in Asheville, Orison Books believes that “the best spiritual art and literature call us to meditate and contemplate, rather than asking us to adopt any ideology or set of propositions.” To those ends, they publish fiction, nonfiction, and poetry of “exceptional literary merit,” work that is “broad, inclusive, and open to perspectives spanning the spectrums of spiritual and religious thought, ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual orientation.”

Since its founding in 2014, Orison Books has published poems that were twice featured in The New York Times Magazine. Their books have been reviewed in Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Foreword Reviews, among other outlets, and have been finalists for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, The National Jewish Book Award in Poetry, and The Paterson Poetry Prize.

The annual Orison Books Prizes in Fiction and Poetry are open now through April 1. This year’s judges are Vandana Khanna (Poetry) and Lan Samantha Chang (Fiction). Fiction manuscripts may consist of short stories, a novel, a novella, flash/micro fiction, or any combination of forms, as long as the manuscript meets the 30,000 word minimum. Full-length poetry collections should run between 50 and 100 pages. The winning entry in each genre will be awarded publication and a $1,500 cash prize, in addition to a standard royalties contract.

Otherwise, Orison Books accepts submissions year-round in the category of nonfiction, poetry in translation, and anthology proposals. General fiction submissions are read only during the month of October.

Their author list includes Jessie van Eerden, Stella Vinitchi Radulescu, and new translations from the Urdu of nineteenth-century mystical poet Ghalib, by M. Shahid Alam.

As a volunteer-run non-profit, they rely on the generous support of donors and readers. Tax-deductible donations can be made here.

Orison Books seeks donors to support the publication of their forthcoming titles, in part or in full. Donors of $100 or more will be listed in the book they choose to support. You can see forthcoming titles in need of a donor, here.

Keep an eye out for the North Carolina Writers’ Network Spring 2018 newsletter, which drops on or around March 1, for a full Q&A with Luke Hankins and much, much more about Orison Books!