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.

• 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 poetry, 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 

The Talking Writing Prize is an annual contest that celebrates the diversity online of original, personally driven writing.

This year's Talking Writing Prize will spotlight relationships and their impact on creative work and life. 


Do you enjoy collaborating with other artists or writers? Do you need solitude to do your best work? How have your family members, romantic partners, friends, mentors—even pets—affected your creativity? At TW, we're fascinated by the intersections among inner creative worlds and everything that surrounds and influences a writer. Some of the biggest influences on creative work are other people, but feel free to interpret "relationships" broadly. Just be sure not to fictionalize your experience or that of other people—and don't create composite characters. If you change the names of other people, be sure to tell readers you've done so.

Length and Format: Between 1,000 and 3,000 words. Include only the title of your work (not your name or affiliation) on pages and in the page headers. Note: This is not a contest for either flash or long-form nonfiction. Essays under or over the set word limit will be disqualified. 

Your "I" Voice: Let readers know who your "I" is and the time period you're writing about. What's your viewpoint? How long ago did the events you're describing happen? How might your perspective be biased or affect the way you interpret what you observe? We are looking for self-aware first-person narrators who question themselves as well as the world around them. Think Michel de Montaigne, Joan Didion, Audre Lorde, Leslie Jamison, Maggie Nelson, Margaret Renkl, Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Sources and Factual Information: We ask you to verify and provide sources for ALL factually based information in your nonfiction piece. List full reference information at the end of the essay as well as links, especially for any direct quotes or paraphrases incorporated in your work. This applies to research or quotes by other writers.

Guest Judge: Rebekah Borucki, founder of Row House Publishing

Deadline: September 5, 2022 (Labor Day in the U.S.) 

Prize: $500 and publication in Talking Writing.

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.

$3.00
$3.00

***READING PERIOD FOR GENERAL POETRY: AUGUST 1 – SEPTEMBER 1, 2021***


TW publishes poetry in each issue. Featured poets generally publish more than one poem in a given issue. Please submit 3 to 5 poems in one document, but no more than five pages in all.


A note about hybrid work or anything else with nonfiction elements:  Please verify all factually based information, attribute all direct  quotes, and provide your sources.

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