Border Noir


VAO Publishing is accepting submissions for its upcoming title Border Noir: Hard-Boiled Fiction from the Southwest, edited by Brian Allen Carr, award-winning author of Vampire Conditions, Short Bus, and Edie & the Low-Hung Hands. The anthology will be available in fall 2013 in trade paperback and eBook form.

If you are interested in being part of this exciting project, you should submit your work through our submission form. Submission deadline is April 30, 2013.

Content Guidelines:
The simplest definition of noir is fiction that focuses on mostly amoral characters, that typically involves crime or misdeeds, and that evinces a bleak or fatalistic view of the universe. However, noir doesn’t have to be overly depressing or serious; in fact, black humor is often a secondary characteristic. And though noir usually features stripped-down, utilitarian prose, it doesn’t have to; a complex, dense and subtle style can also be used to create stories in this genre.

See this article for a very clear (and amusing) discussion of the common traits of noir fiction.

What we’re looking for in Border Noir are stories set in the US Southwest (or with origins in/implications for the area) that explore the darker, tougher and grittier underbelly of life in this region. We are interested in everything: straight-up hard-boiled detective fiction, procedural police stories, tales of ordinary losers trapped by the consequences of their own actions, Gothic pieces, and even edgy magical realism that borders on the horrific or phantasmagorical.

We are especially looking for authors from south Texas or the Southwest, but we are also interested in compelling work by writers from elsewhere who are able to capture something essential about this region.

Authors will be paid an initial $25 upon publication, plus a pro-rated royalty on the first 600 copies sold.

For further information, call us at 956.246.0353 or drop us an e-mail at

About the Editor

Brian Allen Carr is an American writer based in Texas. He was the winner of the inaugural Texas Observer Story Prize as judged by Larry McMurtry in 2011. Carr was also a finalist for the Texas Institute of Letters Steven Turner Award for First Fiction, 2011. His stories have appeared in Annalemma, Boulevard, Fiction International, Hobart, Keyhole and Texas Review, among others.  He is the author of three books: Vampire Conditions (Holler Presents), Short Bus (Texas Review Press), and Edie & the Low-Hung Hands (Small Doggies).

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