27 Themed Calls for Submissions of Non-fiction Articles, Essays, Etc

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These magazines and websites accept non-fiction articles. There are more than 27 themes for the 16 markets listed here. Some of these are: sick, New York City, Brazil, humility and respect, persistence, writing and activism, holiday entertaining, winter, and interrogating ‘best of’ lists and television/literary canon. Some post deadlines for queries and article submissions, but others do not, so it is best to get your queries in early. Here they are, in no particular order. – S. Kalekar
Bitch Media: Sick
This is an independent feminist magazine. Their front of the book section has Dispatches (1,200 words), where they want underreported and fascinating stories from across the US, the globe, and the realms of fiction that introduce Bitch readers to stories and topics they might not have encountered before. Their features are deep dives into the intersection of feminism and culture. Everything is culture to Bitch, including pop culture, social-justice movements, and technology – they have investigative essays (2,300 words) and cultural features (2,200 words). They also have shorter pieces on culture, including essays and interviews. For the Sick theme, they have extensive guidelines, including “We are seeking features, essays, and interviews that dive deeply into our cultural conception of sickness and its impacts. How does our culture pathologize women, LGBTQ folks, fat people, and other marginalized groups? How does access to social media shape our current era of self-diagnosis? What impact do mass layoffs in media have on the labor movement? Why do we greatly resist aging? How does mass media warp medical research into sensationalized alternative facts? What role does pop culture play in our understanding of the benefits and limits of wellness? What would happen if we all just accepted that none of us are actually healthy?” Key words are illness, armor, mental health, body positivity, pleasure, health, grief, disability, criminal justice, media, pivot, layoff, economy, aging, climate change, environment, death, diagnosis, alternative facts, medication, inequality, violence, therapy, manipulation, universal healthcare, alternative medicine, pseudoscience, wellness, diet culture, eating disorders, computer viruses. Pay is generally $700-$1,000 for features, $350 for dispatches, and between $150-$700 for culture stories. They also accept illustrations ($200-600), and online pitches on a rolling basis. The deadline for this theme is 18 November 2019. Details here and here.
Faces: New York City; Brazil; The Sun and the Moon
Cricket Media’s Faces magazine is for children ages 9-14 years, where they can learn about important inventions and ideas from other cultures through articles, folk tales, recipes, illustrations, and hands-on projects. They want feature articles – in-depth non-fiction highlighting an aspect of the featured culture, interviews, and personal accounts, supplemental nonfiction – subjects directly and indirectly related to the theme. They also accept theme-related fiction, activities, and puzzles and games. Features are 700-800 words, supplemental non-fiction is 300-600 words, activities are up to 700 words, and fiction is up to 800 words. An extensive bibliography of materials the author intends to use in preparing the article is part of the query requirement. The query deadline is 4 November 2019 for the ‘New York City’ theme; 9 December 2019 for the ‘Brazil’ theme; and 6 January 2020 for the ‘The Sun and the Moon’ theme. Details here.
The Change Agent: Stand Up and Be Counted
This is an adult education magazine for social justice. It features writing by adult learners. For Issue 50, the theme is ‘Stand Up and Be Counted’. Their guidelines say that with a presidential election and the decennial census coinciding, 2020 is a big year for adult education students. Because these civic events are of major importance to all communities, they are looking for stories by adult learners who address questions about the US election, the census, and other ways to take action (see their extensive guidelines). Suggested length is 200-800 words, and pay is $50 to adult education students whose work is accepted for publication. The submission deadline is 1 November 2019. Details here and here.
Horozons: USA Mission Experience/Today’s Leaders; Humility and Respect
This is a Christian magazine. It is published by Presbyterian Women, Inc. for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). They seek articles, stories, and poems on specific themes. For November/December 2019, the theme is ‘USA Mission Experience/Today’s Leaders’ and for January/February 2020, it is ‘Humility and Respect’. Articles/stories should be 600-1,000 words. Pay is at least $50/page, depending on the time and research required. Details here (download writers’ guidelines), and here (themes).
Slice: Persistence
This magazine wants essays on the theme of ‘Persistence’ – work that plays off the theme, particularly in unexpected ways. They are particularly enthusiastic about championing emerging voices. They also publish short fiction and poetry. Writers can send up to two essays, of up to 5,000 words. Pay is $400 for essays and stories, $150 for flash fiction, and $100 for poetry. The deadline is 1 December 2019 for this theme. Details here.
Experience Life: Make it Happen; Hit Refresh
This is a health/fitness/quality-of-life magazine that is published 10 times a year. Apart from three in-depth features (2,500-3,500 words), they have four departments that need shorter pieces: Front of Book, Real Fitness, Real Food, Feature Well, and Real Life. They begin planning issues six or seven months in advance of the publish date. For March 2020, the theme is ‘Make it Happen’. Their guidelines say, “Sometimes the most satisfying, meaningful path is the one you forge on your own. Discover fresh approaches and new resources for enhancing your physical, mental, and emotional health and well-being.” For April 2020, their theme is ‘Hit Refresh’. “It’s easy to be bogged down by old habits and behaviors that can get in the way of your goals. Find the tools and inspiration you need to shift your mindset and clear the way for change that lasts”, according to their guidelines. See their extensive guidelines for more. Details here and here.
Traveltalk: Several themes
This is Australia’s highest circulating travel industry magazine and they accept work from experienced journalists in Australia and elsewhere. They publish industry news, perspectives on travel and tourism issues, features on international and Australian destinations, and cruise, property and special themed reports. Their core reader group is made up of front counter travel sellers but is widely read by wholesalers, accommodation suppliers, carriers and the travel and tourism industry in Australia and the Asia Pacific. They have four ‘bumper’ editions each year (March, June, September and December) which are published in a consumer friendly format. They do not have editorial guidelines, but they do have an editorial calendar and editors’ contacts. For December 2019, the themes are Hawaii, Asian Escapes, South Africa, UK & Ireland, Europe/River cruising, Romantic holidays, Domestic Tourism, and Drive holidays; the columns are Sustainable tourism, Skytalk, Cruisetalk, Propertytalk, and Book it now. For February 2020, the themes are Adventure Travel, UK/Ireland, Rail Holidays, and Asian Escapes; the columns are Sustainable tourism, Pacific Islands Agenttalk, Propertytalk, Skytalk, Cruisetalk, and Book it now. Details here, here (2019 calendar), here (2020 calendar), and here (editorial contacts).
Wine Enthusiast Magazine: Best of the Year
They welcome proposals from freelance writers on subjects that pertain to wine, fine food and travel. The magazine publishes short front-of-book items, feature stories aimed at the Pairings department and short back-of-book stories. Subject matter for the front of the magazine and the website includes global wine-region news, particularly controversies and innovations; short profiles and Q&As (accent on celebrities or popular personalities); creative food and drink recipes; cool merchandise related to wine, food or travel; trend pieces using several wineries, restaurants, hotels or destinations as examples; statistics; notable quotes. Back of book stories (anywhere from 300 to 600 words) can be humorous or serious personal essays about interactions with wine, wine travel or the wine industry. Writers can also pitch ideas for Winemag.com. For their December 2019 issue, the theme for the print magazine is ‘Best of the Year’; in features, they have The Enthusiast 100, Top 100 Spirits, Top 25 Beers, Wine Star Awards, Chile, Washington, Austria, Martinis. For the pairings column, the theme is Pizza. For the wine buying guide, this issue will focus on California, Chile, France, Italy, New Zealand, Other Europe, Other South America, Other U.S., Portugal, South Africa, and Washington. For the spirit buying guide, the theme is single malt scotch, and for the beer buying guide, it is stouts and porters. Details here and here.
AMC Outdoors: Spring 2020; Summer 2020
This is the magazine of the Appalachian Mountain Club, which promotes the protection, enjoyment, and understanding of the mountains, forests, waters, and trails of America’s Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. For features, they want stories that showcase an outdoor activity in a new and exciting way, offer a tangible sense of place and meaning, or profile individuals with unique approaches to conservation in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. They are interested in stories that lend themselves to stunning imagery and that feature people of diverse backgrounds and ages sharing their connections to the outdoors and recreation. Departments are designed to be short, in-depth articles that provide readers with news and advice on a variety of outdoor recreation and conservation topics. Departments open to freelancers are Currents, a timely roundup of outdoor news and issues relevant to the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic; Learn How, which provides readers with useful, hands-on instruction for enhancing their experience in the outdoors — articles take the form of how-to skill which was created as an entry point for new contributors to the magazine. Written in the first-person, this 600-word personal essay-often inspirational or community-building-shares insight into the writer’s relationship with the outdoors. Features (2,000-2,500 words) typically are assigned to professional writers six months to a year in advance and are due four months before publication date. According to the editorial calendar in their media kit, for Spring 2020, the feature themes are: The real cost of search and rescue. How much do search and rescue efforts really cost a state?; and Kids are camping within NYC’s city limits! For Summer 2020, the feature themes are: An International Appalachian Trail?; The rapid lifestyle of elite kayakers; and Trail running the Presidential Traverse. The magazine retains all rights to the story in perpetuity. Pay depends on length and complexity of the articles, and writer experience; they generally pay $750 for features, $150-350 for departments, and $50-300 for photographs. Details here and here (click on editorial calendar).
WordWorks: Writing and Activism
This quarterly magazine for the Federation of BC Writers accepts articles by members and non-members (a portion of the payment will go towards membership, for non-members). It is for those interested in literature. They want articles discussing the craft or business of writing, and welcome both queries and completed articles. Articles should be under 1,200 words, unless otherwise specified. They also accept creative work (poems and prose), as well as reprints. For the Winter issue, the theme is ‘Writing and Activism’. Pay is $0.25/word for articles, $50 for reprints, $50 per poem or creative prose piece, $100 for cover art, and $25 for interior art. The deadline for this theme is 21 October 2019. Details here.

Skirt Magazine: Holiday entertaining
This is a women’s magazine for Charleston. They want Charleston-area freelance writers to contribute to their print magazine who can accept assignments for short features and profiles, and those who can pitch story ideas about topics related to women and women’s interests. They also accept pitches for personal essays. For the December issue, the theme is Holiday entertaining, and the deadline is 20 October 2019. Website contributors are not paid. Details here.

Bright Wall/Dark Room: Best of the Decade
This online magazine offers a different lens on film: no hot takes, hype, movie news, clickbait, “content,” pop-ups, or ads. They explore the relationship between movies and the business of being alive. They are looking for thoughtful analysis and wholehearted engagement, as opposed to standard reviews, or hot takes. They publish interviews, profiles, formal analysis, cultural criticism, personal essays, and humor pieces. They tend to publish critical essays of 2,000-4,000 words, though they also publish work that is shorter or longer. Creative approaches are always encouraged. For their December issue, they will be looking back to celebrate the best movies and TV of the century’s second decade. Their guidelines for ‘Best of the Decade’ issue say, “We’ll consider any analysis of a work released between January 2010 and the end of 2019, and bear in mind that we’re not looking for writing solely on anointed masterpieces. If you have a passion for a movie nobody else would put on their list, so much the better.” They pay $50 and the deadline for the first draft of completed essays on this theme is 31 October 2019. They also welcome pitches or unsolicited essay submissions of any length, on any film or television related topic that are unrelated to the theme issue. Details here.
Overland: Seven Themes
This Australian magazine is always looking for nonfiction pieces, specially for its online magazine. There are seven themes they are looking for pitches or completed articles (800-1,200 words) for, listed below, and they are also looking for pitches outside of these themes.
– That Cut article we accidentally or intentionally happened upon
“Why the fascination with US writing and Instagram culture? Why is so much of the discourse around this culture universalised? And why are people so hungry for insta-celebrities to fall, to be proven to be frauds? After all, Instagram is pure performance, right?”
– Interrogating ‘best of’ lists and television/literary canon
“A fortnight ago, the Guardian released its list of the ‘100 best TV shows of the 21st Century’. Then last week, the ‘100 best books of the 21st Century’. What cultural purpose do lists like these serve? Alternatively, what are the absolutely unmissable books or television shows that are somehow missing from these lists?”
– Why were there so many influential films made in 1999?
“Google ‘films 1999’ or see Brian Raftery’s book Best. Movie. Year. Ever: How 1999 Blew Up the Big Screen. What was happening in this period – politically, socially – that resulted in so many significant and original cultural works? Were they somehow a consequence of or connected to Y2K fears and fatalism? Do streaming services now have a monopoly on original and experimental film and television? We want your thoughts on why so many of the films that came out in 1999 were so damn significant.”
– Your take on digital storytelling
“Is the divide between the digital and the real arbitrary? We’re looking for pieces that track the impact that AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) can have on experience, through new forms of immersive storytelling that defy genre.”
– Smart essays on TV shows, films or video games
“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 an out of their specific, individual art form.”
– Essays about the publishing industry and the craft of writing
“This is another area of interest to our readers that is relatively under-represented in the submissions we’re getting at the moment, outside of the recent lively debate on the value of literary prizes.”
– Are you a young person taking action on climate change?
“Students and young people are leading the way on climate action. We want to know what you think needs to happen next.”
There are no deadlines for these themes, and online articles pay AUD120 each. Also see guidelines for their print magazine (AUD500 for fiction and essays, AUD150 for poetry). Details here.
C Magazine: Criticism, Again
This Canadian art magazine accepts pitches for features (essays, interviews, roundtables, experimental texts), which necessarily explore some aspect of the quarterly theme and focus on issues, concepts and ideas in visual art and culture, especially of lesser-examined practices, positions and perspectives. They also publish artist projects, reviews, letters, composition (a space for creative writing practices that are adjacent to art writing, but which may engage or address the forms, styles and contexts of it), and the ‘one thing’ column (it makes space for curiosities, obsessions and musings on things that productively complicate our notion of what constitutes thinking about art, and allows the writer to explore things that aren’t beholden to the “new.”) They have extensive guidelines for the ‘Criticism, Again’ theme, including “In the last handful of years, an unprecedented proliferation of voices in criticism has begun to change the landscape of contemporary art discourse and its stakes. How has this recent turn affected power dynamics within the art world, if at all? What is criticism’s capacity to incite change? When critics talk, do institutions listen? What’s the relationship between art criticism and the public callout? How can critics engage a politically-minded criticism without just saying what they think they should be saying? … How can we remove the persistent barriers of access—race, class, gender, ability, mentorship—to criticism? What are the structural causes that make these symptoms recur?” Feature pitches are due 10 October, and review pitches are accepted until 30 October 2019 – reviews may or may not relate to the theme. Details here (and see link to information for writers on the right).
Disegno: Winter
This is a leading quarterly journal dedicated to long-form independent reporting and critical writing on design. They publish reportage, photoessays, profiles, critical discussion, interviews, reviews and roundtables. They cover design, architecture, fashion, urbanism, graphics and technology, and provide political commentary, academic analysis, arts photography and discussion of current affairs for a design-interested audience. The deadline for pitches for their Winter issue is 15 October 2019 (the receive online pitches any time). Details here.
Northern Woodlands: Spring
This magazine is for conservation-minded people with an interest in all aspects of the forests of the Northeast. Articles may include subjects such as woodlot management, wildlife species, chainsaw maintenance, and woodworking. Book reviews pay $50, columns range from an average of $50 to $150, features of 1,000 to 3,000 words pay $0.10/word for writers new to the magazine, and poems pay $25. For their ‘Spring’ issue, stories are contracted by 1 November and the copy deadline is 1 December. Details here.


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