Open and Upcoming Submission Periods

COMICS submissions are open and will remain open indefinitely.
FICTION submissions (short stories and novel excerpts) will open on September 10 and on January 15 each year.
THE GRAYBEAL-GOWEN PRIZE FOR VIRGINIA POETS will be open for submissions from October 15 to October 31 each year (or until we reach 500 submissions).
POETRY submissions will open again on April 1, 2024 (for 500 submissions).
CREATIVE NONFICTION submissions will open again on July 1, 2024 (for 300 submissions).
Our POETRY IN TRANSLATION section is currently being curated and is not open for submissions, though we will consider translated prose during open reading periods for fiction and nonfiction (see above).
THE SHENANDOAH FELLOWSHIP FOR EMERGING EDITORS will be open on March 1, 2024 on a rolling basis.

Submission Guidelines

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. We do not accept submissions by email.

*Please note that we no longer accept submissions by mail, with apologies to the U.S. Postal Service. *

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 (considered by editor Morgan Davis) and CREATIVE NONFICTION (considered by editor D.W. McKinney) should be under 8,000 words. Our editors love writing that stretches their imaginations and ways of thinking, surprises, makes them laugh, moves them, is formally interesting or challenging, defies genre, explores the confusing or uncomfortable, introduces them 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. We plan to publish an excerpt or two 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. We know 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 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, open each year in October, 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.

Our poetry TRANSLATIONS are curated by editor Seth Michelson, but we’ll accept submissions of translated prose in their appropriate genre (short story, novel, CNF). They 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.

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The submission window for THE SHENANDOAH FELLOWSHIP FOR EDITORS is currently closed. Please check this page or follow our social media accounts for our next call for applications. About the fellowship: In order for substantive change to happen in the predominantly homogeneous publishing industry, innovation must happen at all levels, from the big five book corporations in New York City to literary magazines like Shenandoah. We recognize that if we want writers from diverse backgrounds, varied perspectives, and underrepresented groups 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.

Through this editorial fellowship, we’re committed to expanding the roster of people we work with and to discovering new 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 create 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. Working with the editorial staff, fellows will curate a suite of work for their issue. 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 are committed to the development of an inclusive environment and strive to advance diverse perspectives and approaches.

We welcome applications from all writers, including underrepresented minority candidates and members of other communities that are traditionally underrepresented in academia and publishing. Washington and Lee University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, military status, genetic information, or any other protected class status under the law in its educational programs and activities, admissions, and with regard to employment.

The Application
Applications will be open twice a year. Keep an eye on this page or on our social media accounts Submittable. The application will ask you to 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.
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, describe the unique perspective or experience you would bring to Shenandoah. Make sure to include your writing and editing experience and the genre you would be most excited to work in (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, comics).
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Some Submission 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).  

After six months, you can direct queries regarding the status of your submission to shenandoah@wlu.edu.
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Payment and Copyright

We believe your work has incredible value. We pay our contributors at the rate of $100 per poem, $80 per 1000 words of prose up to $400, and $40 per page of comics up to $400. 

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.