Talking Writing is a quarterly nonprofit digital magazine that features essays, first-person journalism, poetry, and visual art.

At TW, we care about writing that's passionate, personal, and a joy to read—and we seek writers with diverse backgrounds and strong voices. Please visit to get a sense of the magazine's style, TW's eclectic mix, and the work we like.

  • Theme Essays: Each issue of Talking Writing has a theme—such as "Family Stories" or "Writing and Faith"—and we're always looking for short essays about TW's Upcoming Themes. When submissions are open for a given theme, entry details will appear in the listings below. Theme essays with the tightest deadlines appear at the top.

  • Annual Poetry Spotlight: Every year, TW's spring poetry issue highlights a specific theme, such as math poetry or "Honoring Muriel Rukeyser." During that issue cycle, we publish six or more poets for the spotlight theme. 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 fiction, flash nonfiction, 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.

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

$ 15.00

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

In this fall's Flash Fiction category, we're looking for short-short stories that are absurd, surreal, speculative, or bouyed by magical realism. Submissions will be judged by Meg Pokrass, award-winning author of several story collections, including The Dog Looks Happy Upside Down (Etruscan Press, 2016). Meg is also social media director and editor at Great Jones Street, Medium's short-story site and soon-to-be app.

Length: Up to 800 words. Include only the story title (not your name or affiliation) on the first page and in the page headers. 

Extended Deadline: November 9, 2016.

Prize: $500 and publication in Talking Writing.

For more information, see

Ends on November 30, 2016$ 3.00
$ 3.00
TW's annual poetry issue will spotlight poems about borders—borders between people, between places, between cultures, between time periods, between species, between the individual and the group. It's a theme that can be interpreted in a variety of forms and voices.

We seek a diverse range of ten to fifteen poets for this poetry spotlight issue. Early submissions welcomed!

Ends on June 2, 2017$ 3.00
$ 3.00
How do you describe a feeling? And what does that feeling mean to your life and writing? Our Fall 2017 nonfiction issue will take on the tricky task of defining specific emotions in words. We're calling for short first-person essays that focus on a particular feeling—from anger or fear to acedia or ecstasy. Feel free to query us first about the subject for your essay. Word count: 800 to 1,200.

TW publishes first-person journalism—features of varying lengths, many of which are think pieces about books, movies, well-known authors, literary 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.

"Featured Debate" and other TW opinion pieces often focus on the continuing transformation of media and the impact of digital literature. We encourage many different points of view—the more provocative, the better. We ask that a writer’s approach be personal, passionate, and factually accurate. Please avoid an overly academic tone.

In addition, we're always looking for thoughtful essays on our quarterly themes. For more information, please see TW's Upcoming Themes.

$ 3.00

TW occasionally accepts short memoir selections and literary nonfiction. In particular, we're interested in flash essays—work that is idea-driven rather than a creative nonfiction narrative—and other short forms of flash nonfiction. In general, we look for personal stories told from a strong first-person point of view by writers of diverse backgrounds. We're especially drawn to personal essays that grapple with aspects of the writing, reading, or teaching life.

In addition, flash nonfiction and memoir pieces are often related to the theme of a given issue. For more information, please see TW's Upcoming Themes.

$ 3.00
$ 3.00

TW publishes short essays that address the essential question for writers: Why write?

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).

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.