25 Themed Calls for Submissions (Non-Fiction, Essays, Etc)

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There are 25 themes for non-fiction for the 15 magazines/websites listed here. Some themes are: mysteries in the deep sea, food: from there to here, the first helicopter rescue, books & authors, locked away: prison & exile from Wilde to Genet to today, pain, and mother wound. Many do not specify the dates by which they want pitches or submissions, so it is best to get them in early for upcoming issues. Here they are, in no particular order. – S. Kalekar
Muse Magazine: Mysteries in the Deep Sea; Food – From There to Here
Cricket Media’s Muse Magazine, a discovery (science, non-fiction) magazine for 9-14-year-old readers, is accepting article pitches for some themes, including:
Mysteries in the Deep Sea
– Their guidelines say, “Organizing questions: What’s down there, and how do engineers and scientists collaborate to study the deepest parts of the ocean?” Possible topics are tech and engineering behind exploration, deep sea species, bioluminescence, underwater volcanoes and hydrothermal vents, and effects on climate.
Food: From There to Here – Their guidelines say, “Organizing questions: How does food get from where it’s grown or made to where it’s eaten? What happens along the way?” Possible topics are innovations in food storage, successes, failures, and opportunities in food transportation, urban and vertical farming, the eating local movement/CSAs, reducing food waste, and solutions for food deserts and ways to serve populations in need.
They publish feature articles (800–2,000 words, including sidebars), profiles and Interviewsparticularly of underrepresented STEM professionals (500–800 words), activities and experiments (500–800 words), photo essays (100–300 words), science fiction or science-focused fiction (800–1,200 words), and infographics. Query deadlines are 17 June for ‘Mysteries of the Deep Sea’, and 15 July 2019 for ‘Food: From There to Here’. Details here.


Mixtape.LGBT: Joy
This is a new publication and their goal is to have an inclusive and respectful venue where LGBTQ+ people can discuss art, media, and other things of interest. They are accepting pitches, queries and submissions on their first issue, and the theme is ‘Joy’. They are looking for personal stories that touch on media and the writers’ own experiences (600-1,800 words), positive reviews for media that deals with LGBT themes (300-800 words), critical essays exploring a specific interaction between media and LGBT experiences (600-1,800 words), and original short poetry on LGBT themes (under 100 lines). Pay is $0.10/word for prose, and $0.10/word or $1/line, whichever is higher, for poetry. Details here.


Air & Space/Smithsonian: The First Helicopter Rescue; Come to Como in September; Collector’s Edition – Aircraft Carrier!
This is a general-interest magazine about flight. It shows readers facets of the enterprise of flight that they are unlikely to read elsewhere. The emphasis is on the human rather than the technological. For first-time contributors, writing a department is the best chance of acceptance (200-1,500 words – see guidelines). Feature articles average 2,500 words. Fees vary widely. The themes for their September issue are ‘The First Helicopter Rescue’ and ‘Come to Como in September’. For October/November, the theme is ‘Aircraft Carriers’. Details here (guidelines) and here (theme details – scroll down).
Alternatives Journal: Climate Refugees; Building Solidarity/Education
This Canadian magazine publishes in-depth analysis of environmental issues, including their ecological, social and economic dimensions. They prefer pitches to finished submissions. The magazine accepts features (1,000-4,000 words), which may be written in essay, journalistic, or academic style, and reports (500-1,200 words). The lead time for assembling editorial lineups is four months. For Summer, their theme is ‘Climate Refugees’, centered around climate change refugees in Canada. For Autumn, it is ‘Building Solidarity/Education’, which will “explore the sociological theories behind community-building as well as how the environmental community can continue the important work in their focus areas and act in solidarity with one voice” with regard to Canada. See guidelines for further details on each theme. They will also consider reprints of articles that have received a very limited or regional audience. Pay is CAD0.10/word for professional and amateur writers – writers should indicate their interest in this funding when sending an article proposal. Details here and here.
High Country News: Big Ideas Issue; Books & Authors Issue; Holiday Gift Guide
This magazine focuses on the modern American West. They will consider pitches for in-depth reportage, analysis, opinion, essays or criticism under a number of broad frameworks, ranging from science and nature, conservation and preservation, food and agriculture to environmental justice and racism, and economics. Front-of-book stories include in-depth news and analysis (800-2,100 words). Features include investigations, long-form narrative, deep-dive explainers, or big-idea essays (2,800+ words). The back of the book is where they explore the ideas that shape the West, through reviews, criticism and short essays (800-1,500 words). Their lead time can be up to six months for short pieces and up to a year for features. They have one special issue coming up in August – ‘Big Ideas Issue’. In November, they have two special issues – ‘Books & Authors Issue’, and ‘Holiday Gift Guide’. They pay $0.25-1.50/word. Their kill fee is 25%. Details here (writer guidelines), here and here (theme details and dates – scroll down).
C Magazine: Issue 144 – Déjà Vu
This magazine is interested in writing that addresses Canadian art. It looks at art and its various contexts, and at trends and emerging perspectives through a mix of editorials, columns, in-depth essays, interviews, artist projects and reviews. They accept pitches for features (1,500-3,500 words), artist projects, reviews (800-1,000 words), and columns. They are reading pitches for features and reviews on ‘Déjà Vu’ and they have extensive suggestions/guidelines on how to address the theme, including: “Our predecessors—those living and departed—have already done much of the work we are now attempting, but their legacies are obscured. The lineages that might have connected us to their work have been severed by amnesia, both intentional and unintentional, individual and institutional. How, then, do we take stock of what has already been done? What strategies can we employ to instil the memory of this work—artistic or activist—and those who have done it, to both honour their contributions and avoid reinventing the wheel?” Writers will not be eligible for a kill fee if it does not meet their minimum standards. Details here.
The Gay & Lesbian Review: Camp; Locked Away; Alternative Sexualities
This is a bimonthly magazine targeting an educated readership of GLBT men and women. Their tagline is “a bimonthly journal of history, culture, and politics,” and they publish essays in a wide range of disciplines as well as reviews of books, movies, and plays. Features are 2,000-4,000 words, and reviews are 600-1,200 words. They also have interviews, artist profiles, and other columns. They accept both pitches and completed pieces. Themes for upcoming issues are – ‘Camp: Notes on Artistic Style’; ‘Locked Away: Prison & exile from Wilde to Genet to today’; and ‘Alternative Sexualities from “heteroflexible” to roleplay’. They also invite suggestions for topics. Pay is $100 for original feature articles. Details here.
Are We Europe: The Future of Tech/Work
They commission work (features and photo essays pertaining to the theme) to young journalists in Europe. They want feature pitches for their July issue – looking out at the horizon of innovation, and taking on the angle “can Europe lead the way to responsible tech?” Their guidelines say, “From AI to big data, to gene manipulation, to augmented reality glasses, what technology is going to impose giant impacts on the way we work, live, govern our societies and relate to each other ten, twenty, and thirty years from now? And how should we act today to make sure that its ultimate impact is positive?” They have the following topic areas covered, so do not pitch them anything similar – AI and racism, non-graphic codes, tech-fueled laziness, cryptography, and towards the first algorithm regulator? They also have details in the guidelines on the aspects each pitch should contain. They pay EUR100 to contributors. Details here.

Planning Magazine: Special issue on Hazards; Environmental Justice on the Ground

This magazine is published 11 times a year by the American Planning Association. It offers news and analyses of events in planning, including suburban, rural, and small town planning, environmental planning, neighborhood revitalization, economic development, social planning, and urban design. They publish feature articles (usually 2,500 words, and features include case studies and trends), short news stories, book reviews, news about APA activities and members, viewpoint essays, and news of projects that are in the works. Topics for two of their forthcoming issues are – ‘Special issue on Hazards’ (August/September); and ‘Environmental Justice on the Ground’ (October). The magazine generally does not pay for articles by practicing planners, attorneys, or university faculty members. For others, fees are worked out individually; they usually range from $100 to $1,000 for articles, depending on length, and $50 to $300 for photographs and drawings. Details here (writer guidelines) and here (theme details – scroll to page 4).

Salvation Army: The War Cry – The Family of God
This Christian publication requires themed articles (800-1,250 words) to be submitted 60 days prior to the issue publication and for special issues of Easter and Christmas, submissions should be six months in advance. They publish articles, reprints, news, non-fiction, (limited) fiction, Use New Living Translation, and photographs. The theme for August 2019 is ‘The Family of God: Celebrating cultural and ethnic differences while finding common ground in the family of God’. Pay is $0.35/word for original work and $0.15/word for reprints. Details here.

Architect: Tall Buildings

This is the journal of The American Institute of Architects. They do not have writers’ guidelines, but they do supply the managing editor’s email address where writers can send queries or proposals for articles. For their October 2019 issue, their special coverage topic is ‘Tall Buildings’. They also have other focus topics for that issue: building type – industrial; technology – software; products – glass; lighting – lighting controls; and residential feature – multifamily. Details here (queries contact) and here (theme details).

Bright Wall/Dark Room: Long Nights; Elaine May
This film magazine is looking for thoughtful analysis and wholehearted engagement, as opposed to standard reviews, clickbait, or hot takes. They publish interviews, profiles, formal analysis, cultural criticism, personal essays, and humor pieces. They’re looking for writing that is savvy and insightful about filmmaking, but that also grapples in some way with the business of being alive. Critical essays are 1,500-3,000 words, though they also publish pieces in other, longer formats. Creative approaches are always encouraged. For their August (‘Long Nights’) issue, they want essays on movies and TV that explore the adventures, odysseys, nightmares, and transformations that can occur between dusk and dawn (see guidelines for suggestions on where writers can take this topic) – they are accepting first drafts on this theme until 30 June 2019. And for their September issue, they be celebrating the life and career of writer, director, performer and all-around legend Elaine May – drafts on the theme are to be submitted by 31 July 2019. They also welcome unsolicited essay submissions of any length, on any film or television related topic, or pitches. Pay is $50 for essays. Details here.
Longreads and Writing Our Lives: Mother Wound essays
Longreads, in partnership with Writing Our Lives, is looking for personal, researched, reported, and hybrid form essays that address and complicate the myths, ideology, and over-sentimentalization of mother love. Their guidelines say, “Stories about fraught mother-daughter relationships, mercurial moms, nurturers who need nurturing, “other” mothers, relationships that change over time. We believe the afterlives of slavery and colonialism mean mothering can be especially fraught for those whose bodies bear those legacies. And that the nature of mothering, with its implied transmission of gender roles in a society still invested in patriarchy, can be especially fraught in the lives of those who identify as female, femme, or non-binary. Submissions are open to everyone, but we’re privileging work from writers who are POC, women, femmes, and / or non-binary.” Ideal essay length is 2,500-4,000 words, but they will consider anything above 1,200 words. They are hoping this will be an ongoing project. However, drafts on the current theme have to be submitted by 17 June 2019 to be considered for the inaugural issue. Pay starts at $500. Details here.

American Theatre:
How artists make a life, if not a living, in the theatre; Annual Season Preview – The nation’s smallest theatres
This is a publication covering theatre in the US. They have an online as well as print edition. Two of their upcoming themes are ‘How artists make a life, if not a living, in the theatre’ (September 2019), and their ‘Annual Season Preview will focus on the nation’s smallest theatres, from rural collectives to urban storefronts’ (October 2019). Details here (editorial contact) and here (theme guide).
Gay Mag: Pain
This is a new online magazine by Roxanne Gay in partnership with Medium. They publish “cultural criticism; thoughtful, clever and beautiful personal essays; short fiction; original artwork and photography.” They accept work up to 3,500 words, though will publish more work in the 1,200-word range. They are accepting work on the ‘Pain’ theme. The guidelines say: “What hurts you? How do you deal with hurt and suffering? How have you hurt others or yourself? How do you negotiate the suffering of others?” The pitch deadline for this theme is 17 August 2019 – and though they prefer to receive short but detailed pitches, they will also read completed submissions. Pay is $1/word. Details here.


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