Alert Level 1 has already been implemented in many areas of the country. Our vision is no longer blurred by face shields. This brings with it new narratives as we navigate this phase of the pandemic. We want to host a space for insights on this situation, so Likhaan: UP ICW is opening the call for contributions for the 5th volume of Dx Machina: Philippine Literature in the Time of COVID-19. 

Students are being called back to school and majority of the workforce is now going through the daily commute once again. There are calls for a better normal instead of completely doing away with the work-from-home mode. Everyone is still required to wear facemasks, but social distancing is slowly becoming a precaution of the past as Filipinos catch up on all face-to-face the socializing we’ve missed in the past two years. Election season is ongoing, too. Some question whether this setup will last or if we will go back to quarantine as soon as all the votes are tallied. 

We are experiencing another great change. Writing and reading are essential to cope, to make sense of things, and to stay informed, even more so in this time where we are constantly flooded with information on which candidate to vote for amid the stream of news about public health and rising fuel prices. 

Through the contributions of writers, the Dx Machina journal aims to provide a diagnosis of our current condition.  

The guidelines for contribution are as follows:

  • Contributed works can be written in English or Filipino, or other Philippine languages provided that they are accompanied by a translation in English or Filipino. 
  • Short stories can only have 12-20 pages, and must be double-spaced, using 12 points Times New Roman, New York, Palatino, Book Antiqua, Arial, or other similar typefaces. A collection of shorter fiction may also be accepted as long as they follow the suggested page count. 
  • Poems may be submitted as a suite of three or one long poem. 
  • Personal and academic essays follow the same typeface and page count as short stories. 
  • Comics must fit the specified dimension of 6”x9” and must be compatible with a black and white format. Works in this category are also expected not to exceed 20 pages. 
  • The journal is also accepting literary forms that respond to or interrogate ideas of what is “creative,” “critical,” or “literary” in the time of COVID-19.
  • Solicited works may also be accepted. 
  • The contribution should not be published in print or online, or must not have been submitted to any other publication at the time of consideration. The contribution will be published first in the Dx Machina journal if it is accepted.
  • ONLY ONE (1) ENTRY is allowed per genre. 

The works that will be collated in the anthology are expected to involve or be similar to one or more of the following themes: 

  • The writing process and literary production during the pandemic
  • Struggles and experiences of different social classes and sectors in relation to the pandemic, particularly healthcare and economic issues 
  • Critiques on the work of creating a narrative for the people during a pandemic
  • Local and national policies that were developed in response to COVID-19
  • Political struggles arising in the Philippines in the last year
  • Critique on literature that has been written about the pandemic
  • Changes or the lack thereof in the Philippines’ situation 

ICW Deputy Director Vlad Gonzales will be the editor for this volume. 

Works are to be submitted as an editable document (.doc) at [email protected]. The deadline for contribution is May 31, 2022.

Let’s stay safe and alert as we define the meaning of “back to normal.”