We’re Open for Submissions!

We’re Open for Submissions!

(Please note that our reading periods have been updated!)

Shenandoah  is now open for submissions under new editor Beth Staples, and will remain open until October 31, 2018 for the fall 2018 issue. We will be open again from January 1, 2019 through March 15, 2019 for the spring 2019 issue. Shenandoah is excited to consider short stories, essays, excerpts of novels in progress, poems, comics, and translations of all the above. Details about all of the genres are available below and on Submittable, which is where you should go, you guessed it, to submit. Please note that we no longer accept submissions by mail, with apologies to the U.S. Postal Service. 

What We’re Looking For

The editor loves writing that stretches her imagination and way of thinking, surprises, makes her laugh, moves her, is formally interesting or challenging, defies genre, explores the confusing or uncomfortable, introduces her to new writers, thinks globally, has a distinctive voice, cares about the world, and does not assume white people are literature’s default characters.  

Shenandoah under this new editorship aims to showcase a wide variety of voices and perspectives in terms of gender identity, race, ethnicity, class, age, ability, nationality, regionality, sexuality, and educational background (MFAs are not necessary here). 

SHORT STORIES and CREATIVE NONFICTION (essays, memoir, etc.) should generally be under 8,000 words, but send Beth a query at shenandoah@wlu.edu if you have something longer. 

NOVEL EXCERPTS will be considered with great enthusiasm. Beth plans to publish an excerpt from a novel-in-progress during each issue of Shenandoah, with a note from the author about their process and what it’s like to be in the middle of a big project. She knows writers at this stage need support, and would like Shenandoah to be a place where they can get some. 

POETRY submissions should contain up to five poems. If individual poems need to be withdrawn, please put a note in Submittable. 

COMICS can be in black in white or color and should be submitted as PDFs. 

TRANSLATIONS are strongly encouraged. In your cover letter, please include the language you’re translating from and whether you’ve been in contact with the original author. 

Some Logistics

We’ll only consider one submission per author at a time–that’s per author, not per genre. Submit ONE total submission. Please decide what you’d like us to read most, submit that, and wait for a response before submitting additional work. If you submit multiple submissions, we will delete them without reading them. Submitted work should be previously unpublished in English. Work simultaneously submitted elsewhere will be considered, but we ask that you withdraw the work immediately if it is accepted (and congratulations, by the way).  

We pay our contributors as much as we can depending on available funds. We believe your work has incredible value. 

Beth is not yet sure of her average response time, but she promises she’s working hard to get back to you. Queries to shenandoah@wlu.edu will be answered politely after twelve weeks.

Spring Issue and Annual Prizes

On April 30 Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee University Review will release its spring, 2018 issue (Volume 67, No. 2) on its website shenandoahliterary.org. The magazine is also announcing the winners of its annual prizes, the retirement of its long-time editor R. T. Smith, plus the hiring, through the WLU English Department, of new editor Beth Staples.

The new issue includes five stories, five essays and two dozen poems.  Contributors include Shenandoah veterans David Wojahn, Stephen Gibson, Sarah Gordon, Alice Friman and Thomas Reiter, as well as newcomers John Glowney, Amy Reading, Paul Daniel and April Darcy, whose short story about the perils of modern love, “Free Fall,” is both her first publication and the winner of the magazine’s annual prize in fiction.

Highlights of the issue include poems about hawks, Puritans, a toad, swarming bees and a poignant consolation from Plutarch to his wife.  Short stories deal with a child’s discovery of compassion and a bizarre look at the shadowy side of the art collecting world.  Essays consider whales (in the sea and in Moby-Dick), poetry that resists the temptations of fake news and the winner of the annual Thomas Carter Prize for Nonfiction, Daniel Paul’s erudite and witty “Significant Otters,” which is about the life and charm of otters.

The winner of the annual Boatwright Prize for Poetry is Lisa Beech Hartz for her poem “Portrait of Sherwood Anderson, Ripshin Farm, Doris Ullman, 1928,” which depicts a meeting in Virginia between acclaimed author Anderson and renowned photographer Ullman.  The poem was published in Volume 67, No.1 last fall.  Hartz lives in Tidewater Virginia and directs the Seven Cities Writers Project, a non-profit cost-free workshop.

Daniel Paul is pursuing a PhD at the University of Cincinnati.  April Darcy lives in New Jersey and holds an MFA from Bennington.  Honorable mentions in poetry are Lisa Russ Spaar of Charlottesville and Austin Segrest of Alabama and Georgia, now pursuing a PhD at the University of Missouri.  Lynn Sloan’s essay “Nature Rules” from 67, No.1 is the honorable mention in fiction.

Shenandoah’s prizes are not the result of a traditional contest with a submission deadline but instead have for several decades been chosen from among the work selected for publication in the journal across a volume year.  All works published in Shenandoah are eligible for the prizes in their appropriate genres, but special submissions are not considered.  The prizes come with  honoraria of $1000.

Smith has been editing Shenandoah since 1995, when he left Auburn University and the editorship of Southern Humanities Review.  Staples comes to WLU from UNC-Wilmington, where she has been editing Ecotone and directing Lookout Books.  She has previously edited Hayden’s Ferry Review for Arizona State University and will be an assistant professor in WLU’s English Department.  The new schedule for submission of work to Shenandoah will be announced on the website in mid-summer.

recent-meR. T. Smith has edited Shenandoah since 1995 and serves as Writer-in-Residence at Washington & Lee. His forthcoming books are Doves in Flight: 13 Fictions and Summoning Shades: New Poems, both due in 2017.


Beth Staples to Become SHENANDOAH Editor

     Shenandoah is pleased to announce that Beth Staples, currently a senior editor at Ecotone, editor at Lookout Books and instructor at UNC-Wilmington, has accepted the position of Editor of Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee University Review.  Ms. Staples, who holds degrees from LaSalle and Arizona State University, will join the WLU English Department as an assistant professor in June.  Her first issue of Shenandoah, a 68-year-old journal on-line since 2011, will be published in the fall.

Staples brings to the position a wide range of experience as editor, teacher of editing and fiction writing and as a writer of both non-fiction and fiction.  At Ecotone, Lookout Books, and the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at ASU (where she edited Hayden’s Ferry Review), she has built a formidable reputation as a scrupulous and imaginative advisor and guide, as well as an astute reader and canny publisher.  An astonishing number of stories and essays Professor Staples has edited have been reprinted or cited for excellence in prize anthologies such as the O’Henry Award Stories, Best American Short Stories, the Pushcart Prize Anthology and others.  She also directs Ecotone’s diverse and professional blog.


Shenandoah (shenandoahliterary.org) will soon announce the new editor’s initial calendar for submissions to the journal, and Ms. Staples will begin to reveal her early plans at that time.  In addition to her editing duties, she will also teach writing courses and the literary editing courses at WLU.

Retiring editor R. T. Smith says that he is “excited to see Shenandoah turned over to such a skilled editor and lover of language that is exact and evocative.  Any writer whose work falls under her scrutiny is bound to learn and grow from the experience.  Any student who signs on as an intern under Ms. Staples will be taking a significant step toward literary professionalism, as well as narrative delight.”

recent-meR. T. Smith has edited Shenandoah since 1995 and serves as Writer-in-Residence at Washington & Lee. His forthcoming books are Doves in Flight: 13 Fictions and Summoning Shades: New Poems, both due in 2017.


THE SECOND COMING by William Butler Yeats


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming!  Hardly are these words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze as blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches toward Bethlehem to be born.


Nothing new under the sun, and yet Yeats’ way of saying it cuts to the soul.  He wrote this yeatson the threshold of the era of National Socialism and deployment of fear (as well as the Troubles in Ireland).  Perhaps it’s not particularly relevant these days.  I post it with the hope that “a gaze as blank and pitiless as the sun” is not a feature of the current world and national situation, but I have a suspicion that it is.

On CNBC last night discussion turned to hollow men.  There’s poetry all around us.

recent-meR. T. Smith has edited Shenandoah since 1995 and serves as Writer-in-Residence at Washington & Lee. His forthcoming books are Doves in Flight: 13 Fictions and Summoning Shades: New Poems, both due in 2017.


Under Discussion Now

Coming soon: a new gateway to the Snopes blog

recent-meR. T. Smith has edited Shenandoah since 1995 and serves as Writer-in-Residence at Washington & Lee. His forthcoming books are Doves in Flight: 13 Fictions and Summoning Shades: New Poems, both due in 2017.