Open Submissions

We’re excited to announce a new initiative: THE SHENANDOAH FELLOWSHIP FOR BIPOC EDITORS. In order for structural change to happen in the predominantly white publishing industry, innovation must happen at all levels, from the big five book publishers to literary magazines like ours. We recognize that if we want Black writers, Indigenous writers, and other writers of color to feel at home in Shenandoah, and for the literature we publish to be full of varied and passionate perspectives that enliven, empower, and engage all of us, we need to have representation at our core. With this in mind, we’re excited to announce a new initiative: The Shenandoah Fellowship for BIPOC Editors.

Through this editorial fellowship, we’re committed to expanding the roster of people we work with and to discovering new BIPOC voices to amplify and empower. Selected fellows will receive a $1000 honorarium and will curate a selection of published work in a genre of their choosing for a single issue of Shenandoah, working with the Shenandoah staff to guide the work to publication. This opportunity will give fellows the chance to learn about all aspects of a small literary publisher and forge connections with peers and potential future employers in the industry and in academia.

Requirements and Eligibility
A single fellow will be selected for each issue of Shenandoah going forward, alternating genres (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, comics) as we see fit. Fellows will choose two–three pieces of prose, five–ten poems, or two–three comic artists for their issue; these authors will be paid at the same rates as other Shenandoah authors ($100 per poem; $50 per comic panel; $100 for every thousand words of prose—for a maximum honorarium of $500 per author). Each fellow will receive a $1000 honorarium for their work. We welcome writers and editors of all experience levels. No previous editorial experience is necessary, but we are looking for applicants who are passionate and informed about the literary community. We welcome candidates who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.

The Application
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis beginning November 1, 2020 ON Submittable. Upload a single document that responds to these three prompts separately:

1. In 500 words or fewer, describe why this fellowship would be valuable to you, addressing what you think is the role and value of a literary magazine in the publishing ecosystem. Make sure to include your writing and editing experience and the genre you would be most excited to work in (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, comics).
2. In 500 words or fewer, tell us about a favorite piece of writing you recently read in a literary magazine in your desired genre. Describe how you found it, who wrote it, its aesthetic attributes, and what you loved about it.
3. In 500 words or fewer, compose a solicitation email to an emerging writer (who has published no more than one book) who you would love to work with. Include in your email what you admire about this writer’s work and why you would like to work with them.

Shenandoah will be open for the for the GRAYBEAL-GOWEN PRIZE FOR VIRGINIA POETS from October 15 to October 31, 2020. Poets living in or born in Virginia, as well as those with long-term residency in the past, are eligible. Submit as many as three poems, each no longer than fifty lines, along with brief biographical note, which should confirm the basis for eligibility as a Virginian. One poem will be selected to receive the $1000 prize and will be published in Shenandoah. All submissions will be considered for publication. No Washington and Lee staff, faculty, or their families are eligible. The Graybeal-Gowen Prize was established to honor the memory of WLU graduate and lover of poetry, Howerton Gowen.

We will not be reading regular POETRY submissions in fall 2020. We have been reading a few issues ahead, and our poetry editor, Lesley Wheeler, is on sabbatical this fall. Please keep an eye here or on our social media accounts for our spring reading period for poetry.

Our fall 2020 reading period for PROSE is closed. We will be open again for novel excerpts, short stories, and essays from January 15 to January 31, 2021.

We accept COMIC submissions all year.

Our window for TRANSLATION submissions, as a courtesy to international submitters, is usually open permanently, but we need to catch up after a backlog, so will be closed for the 2020 summer. Please check back in the fall when we’ll reopen.

PLEASE NOTE: Our submission manager accepts only 800 submissions per month as that is all we can reasonably handle. If submissions are not being accepted during the windows noted, it’s because we’ve already reached 800. We suggest submitting early in the reading period.

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

Shenandoah 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). We love publishing new writers; publishing history is not a prerequisite either. Checking out our current issue is another great way to get a sense of the kind of work we like.

SHORT STORIES and CREATIVE NONFICTION (essays, memoir, etc.) should be under 8,000 words. Editor Beth Staples 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. We’re happy to consider flash fiction–short stories under 1,000 words. You may include up to three pieces of flash in a single submission (all in one document).

NOVEL EXCERPTS under 8,000 words 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. These excerpts need not function like a short story. We’ve found the best novel excerpts give some sense of the overall scope of the book and whet the reader’s appetite for me without leaving us dangling too far off of a cliff.

POETRY submissions, considered by editor Lesley Wheeler, should contain up to five pieces and not more than ten pages total. Lesley reads for power, surprise, intelligence, big-heartedness, craftiness, mystery, and risky strangeness. Please send three to five of the poems you consider your most urgent work. If individual poems need to be withdrawn, please send us an email at shenandoah@wlu.edu.  

For the GRAYBEAL-GOWEN PRIZE FOR VIRGINIA POETS, poets living in or born in Virginia, as well as those with long-term residency in the past, are eligible. Submit as many as three poems, each no longer than fifty lines, along with brief biographical note, which should confirm the basis for eligibility as a Virginian. One poem will be selected to receive the $1000 prize and will be published in Shenandoah. All submissions will be considered for publication. No Washington and Lee staff, faculty, or their families are eligible. The Graybeal-Gowen Prize was established to honor the memory of WLU graduate and lover of poetry, Howerton Gowen.

COMICS, considered by editor Chris Gavaler, can be in black and white or color and should be submitted as PDFs. He writes comics reviews monthly at PopMatters.com and blogs about comics weekly at thepatronsaintofsuperheroes.wordpress.com, if you’d like to know more about what he likes.

TRANSLATIONS, considered by editor Seth Michelson, should be accompanied by a cover letter which explains the language you’re translating from and whether you’ve been in contact with the original author. Please include the original text with all translations in your submission. Also note that we accept translation submissions all year round.

Some Logistics

We’ll only consider one submission per author at a time (no multiple submissions in different genres, please), and will delete multiple submissions without reading them. Please decide what you’d like us to read most, submit that, and wait for a response before submitting additional work. 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).  

Expect a response in six to eight weeks. If we’re taking longer, that’s probably a good thing, and we promise we’re working hard to get back to you. Queries to shenandoah@wlu.edu will be answered politely after eight weeks.

Payment and Copyright

We believe your work has incredible value. We pay our contributors at the rate of $100 per poem, $100 per 1000 words of prose up to $500, and $50 per page of comics up to $500. 

We buy first North American Serial Rights, and rights to the work revert to the author after publication. As a courtesy, we ask writers to note Shenandoah as the first place of publication when the work is anthologized, reprinted, or otherwise made public through another format.