25 Themed Nonfiction Calls for September, 2023

These are themed calls for nonfiction pitches/submissions in the 25 magazines/outlets here; a few want works on more than one theme. A few also accept other genres, like fiction and poetry. Some of the themes are: voices of disability economic justice; how music charts; past perfect; exploration & hidden worlds; jingle & joy; literary curiosities; personal money stories; inspiration; modern love; weird essays on video games and philosophy; and essays on overlooked writers. — S. Kalekar

The Century Foundation: Voices Of Disability Economic Justice
They want op-ed style pieces and personal narratives of approximately 750 words written by people who identify as disabled – they accept both pitches and full drafts. Pieces must be focused on economic disparities or injustices that disabled people experience in the US or connected with economic issues in the US. “Voices of Disability Economic Justice, a project of the The Century Foundation’s Disability Economic Justice Team, is a commentary series that shines a light on the economic disparities that disabled people experience. Central to this series is a focus on amplifying the perspectives of disabled people with multiple overlapping marginalized identities—particularly disabled people of color and LGBTQIA+ disabled people. If you have a story to share or a viewpoint to express that addresses economic justice issues through a disability lens, send us a pitch! Payment for published pieces is $500.” Details here.

Climate Home News: Renewable Energy Supply Chain
Climate Home News has detailed pitch guidelines for their renewable energy supply chain call, including, “Our ‘Clean Energy Frontiers’ series aims to produce hard-hitting accountability journalism on the changing-landscape of the renewable energy supply chain.
Stories should spotlight bottlenecks, scrutinise key actors, and expose environmental impacts, and human and labour rights violations. We are also looking for stories robustly examining solutions to these challenges, including through innovation.” Also, “Stories should include visual elements (such as satellite images, high-quality photos and videos) and we encourage partnerships between journalists and photographers.” They are looking to commission 6 stories overall from journalists in all countries, who have at least 3 years of experience. They offer a reporting fee of around $1,600 per story, including photos and videos, in addition to covering travel and accommodation expenses. They will commission the first 3 stories by late October, and continue to review pitches until February 2024 for publication by June next year. Details here.

Chartmetric: How Music Charts
Their website says, “How Music Charts by Chartmetric is a publication that aims to explain, explore, and/or uncover insights into the music industry using the power of data. … Blog post pitches should demonstrate the writer’s familiarity with Chartmetric and our data-driven approach to storytelling. Topics should be specific and focused, as posts should be around 1000-1500 words. … We are looking for articles that fit in one or multiple of our general topic umbrellas: market-specific trends, tech trends, TikTok trends, artist case studies, and Chartmetric feature-driven pieces. That said, we are open to any type of article, provided it’s interesting and fits within the scope of our site. Note that due to the nature of our in-depth data work, we don’t publish breaking news stories, but we do like to cover timely trends and events. We also encourage pieces about international artists and/or trends!” Rates start at $0.50/word. Details here.

Food for the Worm: U.S. horror films that come from books
This is a Substack-based newsletter. Their latest call for pitches says, “Looking for interesting essay ideas regarding U.S. horror films that come from books.” They have a detailed pitch guide, including, “Food for the Worm is an irregular essay series about U.S. horror films and what they have to teach us about ourselves. It is distributed through Substack as a newsletter. The essays are not movie reviews — I’m not interested in whether a film is good or bad, rather, why it was made, why it resonated, and what it says about human behavior, our fears, our anxieties, and our desires.” Pay is $250. The pitch deadline is 27 September 2023. See the pitch call here, and general guidelines here

Griffith Review: Past Perfect
Griffith Review is an Australian literary and current affairs journal; they mostly publish work of Australian writers, and some work by international writers. They’re currently accepting nonfiction and fiction submissions only, on the ‘Past Perfect’ theme. They have detailed guidelines, including, “The past, famously, is a foreign country – but in the twenty-first century, it’s one in which we increasingly seek solace.
No matter the relentless pace of technological innovation and the digitisation of everything from money to media – our appetites for retro design and aesthetics, for cultural products that reimagine technicolour-dream versions of decades gone by, or for fantasies of a past golden political age are ever on the rise.
But what fuels this love affair with recycling our history? What periods do we choose to romanticise, and how do our rose-tinted glasses occlude reality? Is all this nostalgia signifying – as the late Mark Fisher opined – the disappearance of the future?
This edition of Griffith Review surveys our need to idealise, sensationalise and glamorise – and asks what the circular nature of our obsessions says about our present cultural moment.” They want complete submissions only, no pitches, of up to 4,000 words. The deadline is 15 October 2023. Details here.
(Griffith Review will issue a separate call for poetry on this theme at a later date.)

Consequence Magazine: War and geopolitical violence
They publish work “that addresses the human experiences, realities, and consequences of war and geopolitical violence through literature and art.” They accept nonfiction of up to 4,000 words (interviews, essays, and narrative non-fiction), fiction (including flash and excerpts), poetry, translations, and art. All works will be considered for online and print. Pay is $30-50 for print prose, $60 for online prose, and $20-40 for poetry. The deadline is 15 October 2023. Details here.

MIT Technology Review: Exploration and hidden worlds
The commissioning editor of MIT Technology Review wants pitches for their upcoming issue on exploration and hidden worlds. “We’re looking for big swings: narrative features, essential profiles, and sharp reported essays. Rates: $1-2/word. Pitch deadline: Sept 18”. According to their general pitch guide, for the print issues, they run “short news stories and profiles (500-800 words), op-eds, and data spreads in the front of the book and essays and book reviews in the back of the book (usually around 2000 words). The feature well of the magazine is devoted to narrative features, investigations, big profiles, and reported essays (generally between 2500-4000 words).” They have detailed pitch guidelines for the print magazine, as well as the website. See the editor’s pitch call here. They also list feature themes for future issues, with later deadlines, on their general guidelines page – scroll down here. There is a separate pitching process for op-eds, see here.

They want “work about how we seek out, discover, and grasp onto connection. Into the woods. Across a line. Beneath the ocean. Along a seam. Into the branches of an alternate present or the crevasse of an alternate future. Across the rifts between one another. And then, once we find one other, the myths we make. We’re excited to see as many interpretations of this broad theme as there are stars in the night sky. We’re open to work of all genres, with a particular fondness for anything that moves beyond realism in form or content or spirit.” And, “We’ll happily consider fiction and CNF in all prose forms—prose poetry, micro, flash, and beyond—but we’re not considering lineated poetry at the moment.” Prose can be up to 3,000 words. Payment is $50. Their fee-free submission period is soon, 22 September to 22 October 2023 (all fee-free submission periods for 2023 are given on their website). Details here.

Sasee: Jingle & Joy
They want first-person, non-fiction material (500-1,000 words) that is for or about women. Essays, humor, satire, personal experience, and features on topics relating to women are their primary editorial focus. Their upcoming theme is Jingle & Joy, and the deadline for that is 15 October 2023. Pay varies. Details here.

The Lead: Housing, Immigration, Education, and more
They want to hear from UK-based writers – particularly Black and brown writers, and particularly writers outside of London, for this call. Their call for pitches says, “We’re looking for investigations and features on #housing, #immigration, #education, #inequality and the #environment from #writers with solid track records / expertise in their field.” Their website says, “The Lead is a micro-mag: a lean, mean site on politics, culture, and everything in between. We cover the sharp angles that define our life in the UK today: poverty, racism, climate change, corporate and government malfeasance, the breakdown of our healthcare system and the fracturing of the state. … our aim is not just to inform: it’s to restore agency.” They pay £400 for 1,800 words. See the pitch call here and here.

They have detailed submission guidelines, including, “Although we draw inspiration from local and international traditions of nature writing, as well as from the many dedicated platforms for writing on climate and ecology that exist today, much of what we publish falls outside common definitions of nature writing and eco-writing. We love work that speaks directly of a writer’s bond with and fear for our planet, and work that takes a local landscape, or a local flower, as its subject; equally, though, we love work that draws on an aspect of nature as setting, image or metaphor.” They have specific submission windows for fiction and poetry (closed now); nonfiction for the print  (up to 6,000 words) and online magazine, as well as the blog, and art are accepted through the year. Pay is €50/poem and €50/page of prose, up to €150. Details here.

Long Now: Ideas section
A post from Long Now Foundation says, “Long Now is accepting pitches of essays, reported features, interviews, book reviews, fiction & poetry for 𝘐𝘥𝘦𝘢𝘴, our living archive of long-term thinking.” Their website says, “The Long Now Foundation is a nonprofit established … to foster long-term thinking. Our work encourages imagination at the timescale of civilization — the next and last 10,000 years — a timespan we call the long now.” They publish reported, argument-driven, or photo essays (1,200 – 3,000 words); long-form reported narrative features (1,200 – 3,000 words); interviews with the thinkers, artists, and makers whose projects and ideas foster long-term thinking and responsibility (2,000 – 3,000 words); short-form science journalism, news, and history (500-1,200 words), science fiction stories, and poetry. Payment starts at $600 for features and essays; is $300-600 for interviews, book reviews, and short-form science journalism and news articles; is $100 for science fiction stories; and $25/poem. See the post here and their general pitch guide here.

Shooter Literary Magazine: The Unknown
They want work on ‘The Unknown’ theme. Their website says, “We’re looking for stories, essays, memoir and poetry on anything to do with unfamiliar people, new places, strange experiences or foreign exploration. Work might revolve around culture clashes, romantic encounters, fears about the future, immigration, travel, or otherworldly realms altogether. The theme is open to wide interpretation, but please adhere to the submission guidelines. In addition to thematic relevance, we seek engaging, elegant writing that maintains a high literary standard.” Also, “Any non-fiction or journalistic work selected for publication will be fact-checked.” Pay is £25 for prose of 2,000-6,000 words, and £5 for poetry and short prose. Please note, non-UK writers can opt for a contributor copy or cash payment. The deadline is 24 September 2023. Details here.

The Kenyon Review: Three themes
This respected literary journal is open for submissions through September 2023. They publish nonfiction, fiction (including flash and excerpts from longer works), poetry, and drama, as well as translations; the themes are: ExtinctionWriting from Rural Spaces, and Literary Curiosities. Writers can also send unthemed submissions. They do not accept paper submissions, except from writers (such as those who are incarcerated) who do not have ready access to the internet (see guidelines). Length guidelines are: up to 7,500 words for prose, up to 6 poems, up to 30 pages for plays. Pay is $0.08/word for prose, up to $450; $0.15/word for poetry, up to $200. The submission deadline is 30 September 2023. Details here and here.

New York Times: Modern Love
Modern Love is a non-fiction column. They want “honest personal essays about contemporary relationships. We seek true stories on finding love, losing love and trying to keep love alive. We welcome essays that explore subjects such as adoption, polyamory, technology, race and friendship — anything that could reasonably fit under the heading “Modern Love.” Ideally, essays should spring from some central dilemma you have faced. It is helpful, but not essential, for the situation to reflect what is happening in the world now.” Also, “Love may be universal, but individual experiences can differ immensely and be informed by factors including race, socio-economic status, gender, disability status, nationality, sexuality, age, religion and culture.” Send essays of 1,500-1,700 words. Modern Love has two submission periods, September through December, and March through June. Writers are paid. Send submissions to modernlove (at) nytimes.com. They especially welcome work from historically underrepresented writers, and from those outside the US. Details here.
(Also see their Tiny Love Stories column; these are also personal essays similar in theme to Modern Love, but a much shorter 100 words.)  

Scalawag: Haints of the Black South
Scalawag publishes work on the life, politics, and culture of the American South. It is “Black-led, Southern abolitionist media. We disrupt narratives that keep power in the hands of the few & amplify grassroots, liberation movements.” Their pitch call says, “we are now accepting pitches for our October series, Haints of the Black South. Personal, historical, and spatial hauntings connected to and within the Black South.” They want to “explore the things that still haunt the South, both in a literal and figurative sense.” They want regional stories of haints and hauntings, critical and personal essays, poetry, short fiction, photography, video, and other multimedia projects. They prioritize pitches from BIPOC and queer Southerners. The pitch deadline is 28 September 2023. The pitch call thread is here and here, the pitch form is here, and the general pitch guide is here.  

Woods Reader
They only accept submissions from writers in the US and Canada. “Woods Reader is a publication for those who love woodland areas: whether a public preserve, forest, tree farm, backyard woodlot or other patch of trees and wildlife. Our readers like to hear about others’ experiences and insights, especially those that make an impression that they think about long after they have finished the article. Submitted content should center around trees and woodlands.” And, “We buy articles in the following categories with woodland themes: Personal experience; Educational or nonfiction; The Woodland Philosopher; Fiction/fantasy; DIY article using woodland materials (accompanying photographs requested); Humor blog or cartoon; Short poetry; Destinations”. Please contact them prior to submitting book reviews. They publish works of 500-1,000 words. “We also buy the occasional longer fiction or true adventure story which may be serialized over up to four issues (2000-5000 words).” They do not want hunting stories. Payment ranges from $25 to over $100. Details here.

Tribal College Journal: Resilience
They want themed feature articles and shorter pieces. All articles must engage tribal colleges and universities in some way. Possible feature article topics are specified on the website, but alternative topics on each theme are welcome. They want both long features (2500-3000 words) and shorter features (1500-2000 words), and various department pieces (some of which are unpaid – read guidelines). For Summer 2024, the theme is Resilience. “The recent pandemic took more than one million lives in the U.S. alone, making it one of the greatest public health crises impacting Indian Country since the Columbian exchange. It also had a devastating effect on mental health and the social and economic fabric of our communities. At the same time, it underscored yet again the incredible resilience of tribal communities. How does resilience manifest itself in Indian Country? How is resilience historically rooted in Native communities? What new lessons of resilience have tribal colleges drawn from the pandemic to carry us through the present and into the future? How have TCUs emerged even stronger in the aftermath of COVID-19?” Deadline for feature story suggestions is 3 November 2023; the features deadline is 5 January 2024; the On Campus news shorts deadline is 12 January 2024. There is no payment for Voices or Research articles. Details here (theme details) and here (guidelines).
(The deadline for feature story suggestions for Spring 2024, Sustaining Our Native Languages, has passed, but the submission deadline for shorts is in October.)

Afar: Indigenous Travel
The Arts & Culture Associate Editor for Afar has issued a pitch call: “AFAR is seeking pitches from Indigenous and Native writers for an online package about Indigenous travel. Feel free to pitch me … feature-style stories, round ups, and/or service pieces. Our digital rate is fifty cents a word!” The pitch call is here and their general pitch guide is here.

Ninth Letter: Praise
This literary magazine wants nonfiction (up to 3,500 words), fiction, and poetry on the Praise theme for its web edition – there is no submission fee for this section. “Robert Hass begins his 1979 book of poetry, Praise, with an epigraph:

                                       We asked the captain what course
                                        of action he proposed to take toward
                                        a beast so large, terrifying, and
                                        unpredictable. He hesitated to
                                        answer, and then said judiciously:
                                        “I think I shall praise it.”

What beasts do you praise? What monsters do you pay tribute to? How sharp are the objects of your veneration? We seek the flashlight pushing its beam through darkness; we seek the grin that bears the weight. Show us the reverence that glows like an ember in the ash. Show us your demons, and share with us the odes and hymns, the lullabies and incantations you sing to earn their peace. Show us your beasts, and give your beasts praise.” Pay is $75 for prose, and $25 per poem. The deadline is 1 November 2023. Details here and here.

Book XI: A Journal of Literary Philosophy – Books, reading, and being read
Book XI publishes personal essays, memoir, fiction, science fiction, humor, and poetry with philosophical themes. They want submissions on the ‘Books, reading, and being read’ theme. They want prose of 2,000 and 7,000 words, but will also consider shorter and longer works (see guidelines). They are affiliated with Hamilton College’s Arthur Levitt Center for Public Affairs. Pay is $200 for prose and $50 for poems. The deadline is 10th November 2023; they will close earlier if they hit their Submittable cap. Details here and here.

Junei: Personal money stories
This is a pitch call for UK-based journalists: “Calling all UK Journalists! Share your personal money stories with Junei. We’re seeking 800-1000 word first-person narratives. £120 per article! Multiple pitches welcome.” They have a detailed general guidelines page, which includes, “Junei makes money transparency happen through first-person stories. Our readers are millennials and gen Z citizens – inheritors of a world in which forever-renting and hustling are the norm.
We want to make this reality less of an ordeal (and less lonely) by sharing stories about how we spend, save, earn, and live.” See the pitch call here and their guidelines page here.

Overland: Economic inequality; politics of food; weird essays on video games and philosophy; and more
This Australian magazine is looking for pitches as well as submissions (800-1,200 words) for online features, on the themes below. They do not want personal essays or creative nonfiction for the online magazine, unless they are very consistently linked to political concerns. “Right now we’re looking for smart, researched and insightful essays on topics such as economic inequality, housing, arts policy and governance, and environmental justice. We take pitches for both print and online, but we’re always looking for more content for the website. Our editors work both individually and collaboratively, and each of our editors has something they’re always on the look out for. Giovanni wants great pieces about the politics of food, Jonathan wants weird essays on video games and philosophy, and Evelyn is after commentary on pop culture, Aboriginal self-determination, and ecological justice.We’re also interested in hearing from First Nations writers about Treaty, truthtelling, and the Voice campaign.” They’re also always looking for submissions on these broad topics:
“– Essays on climate politics, grassroots organising and social justice campaigns: We’d love to hear about long-term organising projects and issues the community needs to know about that might not have had a recent spotlight. From small-scale local projects to global campaigns, we want to know what’s happening and why it matters.
— Smart essays on TV shows, films, videogames or popular culture: As with books, what we look for is seldom a review that focuses on the merits or demerits of a single text, unless it is uniquely topical or culturally significant. Rather, we favour expansive review essays that make connections between different texts, in and out of their specific, individual art form. We’re not elitists here – a text doesn’t need to be academic or niche for us to be interested in what you have to say.
— Literature, publishing and the arts: We’re always interested in essays on the politics and craft of writing and the broader arts industry. We’re especially interested in hidden literary, artistic and activist histories about individuals, texts and events that could still teach us something today.” They pay AUD150 for work published in their online magazine. Details here and here.

Poets & Writers: Inspiration
They publish articles of interest to emerging and established literary writers. They publish News & Trends, The Literary Life Essays (on the more contemplative aspects of writing, ranging from creative process to the art of reading), The Practical Writer (advice and how-to articles that offer nuts and bolts information about the business of creative writing), and features – articles, essays, profiles, and interviews regarding American literature. According to their Media Kit for advertisers, for January/February 2024, the issue theme is Inspiration. They do not publish fiction or poetry, or reviews. They take both, story proposals, and articles on spec, and take 4-6 weeks to respond to queries or manuscripts. Details here (Media Kit/themes) and here (writers’ guidelines).

Ploughshares: Look2 essays
Apart from work for the literary magazine, Ploughshares is also accepting submissions for the Look2 essay series. “This series seeks to publish essays about underappreciated or overlooked writers. The Look2 essay should take stock of a writer’s entire oeuvre with the goal of bringing critical attention to the neglected writer and his or her relevance to a contemporary audience. … The writer can be living or dead and from anywhere in the world (if there are good English translations available). Essays should make note of biographical details that are pertinent to the writer’s work.” They accept only pitches, not completed work, for this series. Pay is $45/page, up to $450. There is no fee to submit to Look2 essays. The pitch deadline is 15 January 2023. Details here.

Bio: S. Kalekar is the pseudonym of a regular contributor to this magazine.  


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