Talking Writing is a nonprofit digital magazine that features poetry, personal essays, visual art, and hybrid genres.


At TW, we care about writing that's honest, personal, and a joy to read—and we seek writers with diverse backgrounds, strong voices, and a commitment to words that impact the world. Please visit talkingwriting.com to get a sense of the magazine's style and TW's eclectic mix of genres.

• Personal Essays and Themes: Each issue of Talking Writing has a theme—such as "Transitions" or "Writing and Faith." When submissions are open for a theme, entry details will appear in the listings below.

• Poetry Spotlights: TW often highlights a specific theme for poems or hybrid work, such as math poetry or "Honoring Muriel Rukeyser." When submissions are open for spotlight poems, entry details will appear in the listings below.

• Contests: TW awards one or two annual writing prizes, with the categories changing each year. During the contest periods, entry details appear in the listings below.

• Other TW Pieces: For information about submitting "Why I Write" essays, cartoons, and other kinds of features with rolling deadlines, see the full list of categories below.


General Submission Guidelines

Queries and simultaneous submissions are welcome, but please tell us in your cover message if your work is also being considered elsewhere and notify us if it is accepted.

Upload each submission as a separate file in Word, PDF, or RTF format. Make sure your draft is easy to read.

For nonfiction essays, features, and hybrid poems, be sure to include complete references for any direct quotes you cite or factual information you include.

Submission Fees: The submission ($3) and contest ($15) fees partially offset our administrative costs. TW has limited editorial resources and a small budget. While we’re aware that submitting payments online is difficult for some writers, managing submissions online helps us to keep publishing.

There are no submission fees for comics, visual art, and queries. Ask away!


"The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible." — Vladimir Nabokov, Lectures on Literature 

TW publishes first-person journalism—features told from the first-person POV of varying lengths, many of which are think pieces about books, movies, well-known authors, literary and cultural trends, or teaching writing. While we publish very few straightforward book reviews in the magazine, we're interested in the personal connections that readers (and writers) make to books and authors.

Such features often fall under the "Reader's Life" or "Writer's Life," but they may address other topics, too, especially if they're related to one of our issue themes. In general, we ask that your approach be personal, passionate, and factually accurate. Please avoid an overly academic tone.

A nonfiction note: Be sure to verify all factually based information, attribute all direct quotes, and provide your sources.

TW features occasional comics in its issues. Submissions may be ongoing strips, single cartoons, or excerpts from graphic novels. We enjoy meta takes on storytelling, witty puns, and sheer goofiness. ("Zippy the Pinhead" is an old favorite of one TW editor.) We like comics about
literary authors and culture—and often look for a connection to
one of our quarterly themes. Please do not submit political cartoons.

Send up to 3 images (no more than 1 Mb in total).



TW features the work of a visual artist or photographer in each issue. We also use spot art from a variety of sources. Please submit up to three images (1 Mb total for all images).

TW publishes translations of poems that have not appeared previously in English. When possible, we prefer to run poems in their original language alongside the translated pieces. To do so, we require that the translator receive written permission from the poet, as well as the poet's photo and bio. We can't pay permissions fees and are willing to consider running only the translated version, as long as it's accompanied by a full reference citation for the original—including title, place/date of publication, and a link (if available). 

Submit 3-5 poems for consideration.

Submit queries or pitches for theme essays, if you want feedback about whether an idea will work for TW.

You can also query us about anything you think we might be interested in that doesn't fit the standard categories, such as reviews of particular books, ideas for new columns, or interviews with writers. See TW's Submissions page for more information.

Please enter your query (up to 500 words) in the "cover letter" field of the submission form.

Talking Writing