Please note that current students/affiliates of George Mason University's MFA program, and GMU MFA graduates who are within 5 years of graduating, aren't permitted to apply. If you have been published by us before, please wait at least one calendar year before submitting again.
Please note we only accept previously unpublished work for all categories. Please do not send us a piece you have sent us before unless we ask to see another version.
Blog submissions are open year-round. Please submit book reviews, essays, event reporting, etc. See our website for additional submission information. It's always a good idea to read a few of our blog posts (outside of a limited series) for a sense of what we're looking for.
If the submission fee presents a financial hardship, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a fee waiver.
For more information, please visit http://www.sotospeakjournal.org.
We welcome submissions from anybody aged 13-18 for our Young Writers Initiative. We are particularly interested in hearing from individuals who identify with marginalized identities and who view themselves and the world through an intersectional lens. If you wish to submit and you are over the age of 18, please submit using our genre forms (during open submission windows) or to our blog.
We accept submissions only through our Submittable page, and we do not charge a fee to submit for our young writers.
- Prose submissions (fiction and nonfiction) must be 4,000 words or less. If submitting flash (pieces under 1,000 words), you may submit up to 3 pieces in a single document.
- Poetry submissions may consist of up to 5 poems in a single document as long as the entire submission is no longer than 10 pages.
- Art submissions may consist of any type of art that can be displayed on a website. This includes audio and visual art, as well as studio arts such as painting, drawing, illustration, ceramics, etc. Photographs must be submitted in jpg or tif formats with a dpi of 300.
Please be aware that, as employees of an institution of higher education in the State of Virginia, all of our editorial staff are mandated reporters. This means that if we suspect child abuse or neglect, we are legally bound to report that information to proper authorities. We do not want this information to deter anybody from submitting to us, but we also want to be upfront and honest about our obligations.
Our Spring 2022 Issue of So to Speak is available for purchase as a digital PDF for $2.99! The work in this issue was selected by judges Krys Malcolm Belc (Fiction), Alysia Sawchyn (Nonfiction), Susannah Nevison (Poetry), and Ghislaine Fremaux (Art). From the issue's Letter from the Editor, written by Editor-in-Chief Amanda Ganus: These pieces explore loss and grief. They make us consider existing in a world that is unsafe or unwelcoming for reasons we may not have considered. They give us a picture of bodies and how those bodies can be loved, rejected, judged, and changed. Through these pages, we see the ways that families can bring pain, the way they alter a life, the ways that a life can be reclaimed or left to falter. Each of these pieces shows us a piece of the world that we all exist in.
To receive a print hard-copy of the contest issue, you can select the add-on of "mail me a print copy!" for just an extra $6! (We'll even throw a back issue or two in with your order, free of charge.)
The So to Speak Blog team has been inspired by such artists as Cheryl Strayed and Ryan Van Meter. Cheryl Strayed’s vulnerable, but incredibly distinct voice sustains you as you read about her struggle with drug abuse and the loss of a parent. Ryan Van Meter’s narrative storytelling and his sentence-level craft carry us through his work as he explores his identity as a gay man. We love work that explores the complexities of experiences and identities, work that lends itself to a larger meaning in every aspect.
The So to Speak Blog is unique in that it opens itself up to multiple forms of storytelling. We love the poetry, essays, and short stories we receive and we encourage artists to continue to submit pieces that fall into those genres. However, we want to see more work that bends form and genre, work that extends outside of the personal essay or the traditional poem, and work that is visually stimulating. Hybrid works, reviews, interviews, and visual art are welcomed submissions. We also would love to see more multimedia, like videos and podcasts, on the So to Speak Blog. In summary, we want to see art that tells a story in an exciting way and gives us a new perspective.
While we enjoy reading all of the pieces we receive and sincerely thank everyone who shares their work, a lot of submissions explore similar topics and issues through a similar lens. These topics include: motherhood, womanhood, sexual assault/rape, and misogyny. While these are all important to bring into conversation and can definitely be discussed in submissions, So to Speak’s mission is to explore the intersections of feminism, identity, and culture. We wish to see pieces that go deeper, offer new perspectives, and flip what has been considered the “literary canon” on its head.
Some topics we would love to see more of include: positive perspectives on gender, especially from transgender and non-binary artists, toxic masculinity, mental health, disability/ableism, and sexuality. And to go along with our mission, we love submissions that explore different intersections, like race and motherhood, economic status and healthcare, gender and immigration, and more.
If you are submitting Visual Art: (1) All submissions must be in .jpg, .tif, or .png formats at 300 dpi; (2) Please label each file as LastName_Title; (3) You may submit up to 5 pieces of artwork in a single entry; (4) Please include the dimensions (if applicable), the medium (if applicable), and an artist statement with a brief description of the submission.
Nonfiction and Fiction pieces should not exceed 1,200 words. Please submit one document (doc., docx., or pdf. files) with a single prose piece. All prose submissions should be double-spaced with numbered pages. Poetry submissions should not exceed 8 pages. Please submit one document (doc., docx., or pdf. files) with up to 3 poems. Hybrid work should not exceed 10 pages. Please submit one document (doc., docx., or pdf. files) with a single hybrid piece. Reviews and Interviews should not exceed 1,500 words. Please submit one document (doc., docx., or pdf. files) with a single review or interview.
Videos and Podcasts can be variable in length, but should not exceed 20 minutes. Please include a brief summary/artist statement, to be published alongside your video or podcast should we accept your submission. Closed captions are required for videos, and typed transcripts are required for podcasts. Please be sure you have permission to use whatever media (sound, music, visuals, etc.) you incorporate into your video or podcast submission. Video submission will be uploaded in our YouTube account should we accept your submission for publication. Per their guidelines, “YouTube does not set a minimum resolution but recommends a resolution of at least 1280x720 for video that has a 16:9 aspect ratio and a resolution of at least 640x480 for video that has a 4:3 aspect ratio.” We accept .mp3 and .wav file types for audio submissions and .mp4, .mov, and .mpg file types for video submissions. Please submit high-quality video and audio for consideration -- submissions with excessive background noise, issues with lighting or resolution, poor sound quality, etc. will not be selected for publication. If you have questions about your video or audio submission, please send us an email titled “Blog - Video/Audio Submission Question” prior to submitting.
In addition to your submission, we’ll ask you to submit:
- A Cover Letter that includes your name, address, phone number, email address, how you heard about So to Speak, and brief bio describing your background as a writer or artist and any applicable awards or publications.
- A brief description of how you see your piece(s) (implicitly or explicitly) fitting into our intersectional feminist mission.