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Opium100: A Century of Literary Humor announced!
by Todd Zuniga
reading time


Opium Magazine is turning 100. Well, sort of.

To celebrate our 10th print issue, we're going to morph Opium10 into “Opium100: A Century of Literary Humor.”  Our goal is to collect the stories, poems, cartoons and artwork we would’ve published had we been around for the last 100 years, the greatest “literary humor” told since 1901 (Opium launched in 2001 online).

But it doesn't stop there. Not only are we tackling this past century (all those stories we've read and loved), but we're going to nose-dive into the upcoming century, too, by publishing new stories, poems, cartoons and artwork that will serve as the best literary humor of the future century.

Our ultimate aim for this anthology — which will be hard-covered and gorgeously designed by Opium’s own David Barringer — is to obliterate the sometimes-heard notion that humor and Literature-with-a-capital-L don’t mix. In our eyes, there’s humor,  beauty and heartbreak in some of our favorite writing — a big reason why we started Opium in the first place.

So, here’s where you come in (three ways to play!):

1. Send us your favorite literary humor of the last 100 years: stories, poetry, cartoons or artwork. Send along the title, author, and, if you have it scanned or otherwise, the text. Email it all to Opium100 Recommendations. Also, please include a short paragraph (no more than five sentences) about why what you're recommending is memorable or important to you. Our goal is to work our backends off to publish many of the recommendations we receive. When that’s not possible, we'll publish your praise for the stories, all in the name of creating a go-to compendium for writers who want to discover the best literary humor ever written.

2. Send us your new, brilliant story overflowing with "literary humor."
Up to 6,000 words. Make us laugh and maybe break our hearts (ideally both). When you submit, make sure to tag your story "Opium100" — the newly added "genre" in our submission system. We'll be focusing on stories from this inbox for the time being. Note: Feel free to withdraw old submissions and resubmit them to this folder, if they're rip-roaring and genius.

3. Send us your old, brilliant story overflowing with "literary humor." Up to 6,000 words. Tell us when and where it was published, and email it to Opium100 Recommendations. We'll be hunting for 2nd Serial rights. 

In short, send us a story so wonderfully smart and funny that our guts bust and we tinkle our trousers (and again, we don't mind the heartbreaking fall).  If you make the cut you'll be amongst some serious literary all-stars who dared to mix literature and humor the way Grandma dared to mix chocolate and peanut butter. We're asking you to send your bravest, fiercest, crudest, strangest, and most profoundly epic pieces of fiction. Just make sure its humorous.

And please help us spread the word. This is unlike any project we've undertaken before, and we most definitely need your help.

Todd Zuniga is Opium's founding editor, and the president of Opium for the Arts. His fiction has appeared in print and online. He lives between Paris and couches all over the United States.
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Comments panel
Vikram Kumar 12.9.2009
it is a great idea to have the treasure of literary humor to rediscover in a creative way.
Sean Murphy 12.11.2009
Great idea. What's the cutoff date for submissions?
Martin Heavisides 12.16.2009
What's the length limit for literary humour of the last 100 years? (and are you sure you really want to leave out Swift and Oscar Wilde?) And for humour (new or old) by yours truly and any other contemporary who may want to contribute? Good project but you'll have fun sorting all the rights!
mjm 12.22.2009
Say... are you regulating poetry to only stuff written by others or can poets join the fray and submit their new original work?
Anthony 1.7.2010
Does the "One piece at a time" rule apply to submitting original works of literary humor or can we send in several?
Amy Marsh 5.13.2010
Are you still collecting stories for Opium100? Is there any cutoff date? Thanks!
Rebecca 6.7.2010
Fabulous idea. But I am echoing the others, above. When is the cut-off date for submissions?
John Ghanie 6.23.2010
Is this fiction only?
Martin C. Mayer 8.31.2010
I simply cannot fathom how Desparation leads talent to Enter a contest so ridiculous To author seven lines with Meaning and pay $10. for the Privilege of being laughed at. Why is it?
Sam Riedel 8.31.2010
Martin, what the crap are you on about? In other news, is this over yet? /echo
Adele Mendelson 9.22.2010
So I'm looking for the answer to the above-repeated question: what is the deadline? Where is this answer? Adele
Becky Stephens 9.29.2010
Is there a cut-off date? And if I send you something new, and if it manages to get printed, can I use it again (it is the first chapter of a book that is in progress) to publish if I ever cross that bridge?
Margaret Gish Miller 4.22.2011
Hi--I received an e-mail from Sam Barsanti saying he "couldn't open my file in our submission system." I'm re-submitting it now. However, I don't have a record of what I submitted, so I'm sending "Halloween Party, 1976," a poem with humor, which fits your call for humorous lit. Hope this works. Thanks, Margaret Gish Miller
Jean Vadnais 9.12.2011
Margaret I was one of your class mates at El Cerrito High. I read some of your works and didn't know it was you. Until Steve Donaldson said something. Hope to see you our 50th reunion in November. Jean Storey, Simpson, Vadnais
Steven Kaminsky 9.20.2011
What a relief! I thought I was alone on the subject of 'literary humor'. However, don't stop there. Just because a story's protagonist happens to be a pre-schooler doesn't make it 'child lit'. Having said that, let the 'potty humor' flow, lol.
Sandy Ebner 5.4.2012
Dear Submissions Manager Sam, have submitted a NF humor piece and am happy to wait for a response (for weeks if neccessary/ know you're busy); however, I'm not sure if what I'm seeing on your website is current. Just to clarify, are you still accepting submissions for the Opium100 anthology? I see from the comments above that people were asking this question two years ago, which leads me to believe that that ship has sailed, but when I click on 'submit' it states that you are indeed taking submissions. Thanks in advance for clearing this up. Best, SE
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