How to Submit

For Shenandoah’s winter-spring 2020 reading period, we will be open for PROSE (short stories, essays, and novel excerpts) from January 15–January 31, 2020.

Our spring 2020 reading period for POETRY will be from March 15–March 31, 2020. Please send us prayers, spells, charms, curses, blessings, invocations—poems that try to make change happen. All forms, styles, and procedures are welcome. A selection will appear in a special Shenandoah portfolio in the Spring 2021 issue. There will be an open call for general submissions in the fall—stay tuned for dates.

We accept COMIC submissions all year.

Our window for TRANSLATION submissions, as a courtesy to international submitters, never closes.

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 for that month. We suggest submitting early in the month. (If you’re attempting to submit prose in late August, for example, and submissions are closed, please try again in early September. If you’re trying September 14 and are not able to submit, you’ll have to try again when we reopen in the winter.)

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, complicated 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 50 lines. One poem will be selected to receive the $1000 prize and will be published in Shenandoah’s spring 2019 issue. 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.