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

There are more than 30 themes for the 20 markets listed here. Some of the themes are: power, bodies, gun history, well-mannered crooks, parents with disabilities during Covid-19, Queer science, times of monsters, MFA programs, celebrating summer, Afrofuturism, labour, speed demons, narcodrones, wellness, balance, calm, and secrets. A few specify pitch or submission deadlines but many do not, so it is best to get your pitches in early. – S. Kalekar

Bitch Media: Power
This magazine is always looking for pitches that offer a feminist analysis of culture. For Issue 88, they want to read pitches on Power. They publish features, dispatches, and culture articles. For the current theme, their guidelines say, “Power is a concept most of us engage with constantly, though it isn’t always obvious—even to ourselves. Work environments are sites of power dynamics, for instance, between ourselves, our bosses, and our coworkers: Perhaps we ponder power as we attempt to negotiate promotions and raises (who has the leverage?); perhaps it features in weighing the risk of interoffice romances (who has the most to lose if the relationship leaks into workspace consciousness?); perhaps it impacts our ability to do our jobs remotely (who benefits most—and least—from establishing telework policies?). Some of us deal with the concept of power as it relates to feminism, oppression, and the matrix of domination, while even more of us must consider power within our interpersonal relationships (between partners, parents and children, and even children and teachers). How do our relationships impact our earning power, our mental health, and our physical safety?” See guidelines for other suggestions and details. Key words are: politics, poverty, dominance, authority, control, money, representation, pay equity, legacy, injustice, economics, competition, law, leadership, imbalance, exploitation, influence, strength, virtue, inevitability, natural disaster, force, omnipotence, girl power, empowerment feminism, electric outages, coercion, submission, supernatural abilities, and relationship anarchy. Pay is generally $700-$1,000 for features, $350 for dispatches, and $250-$700 for culture stories. The deadline is 24 August 2020 for this theme. Details here.

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine: Gun History, and other themes
This is a trade magazine for homeschooling. They are currently accepting queries for some issues, including for Winter 2020/21. There are several topics in their editorial calendar for this issue: feature articles on Gun History (WW2 weapons, Trojan horse era swords, Flints, Black Powder, Musket, Civil War Weapons, Long Bows, Cross Bow, Battle Axes, Melee weapons: Hand or fist weapons and fans, Edged and bladed weapons, Picks and pickaxes, Axes, Clubs and blunt weapons, Pole weapons and spears. Ranged weapons: Thrown, Bows, Sling, Blowgun. Gunpowder weapons: Composite projectile. Flexible weapons: Whips, Sectional and composite, Chains and ropes. Defensive weapons: Armors, ie: Shields/Swords). There are several other themes in this issue:
Is College Necessary? What about Trades & Internships?
Logic, Latin and Cursive: Lost Arts?
— Music Grows Your Brain
 Homeschoolers & Horses
Nina, Pinta & Santa Maria (early America unit study(s) and lesson plans)
Preparing for the High School Years
Growing Mission-Minded Children
Organization Ideas for your Homeschool
Classical Education
They also have two resource guides scheduled – Post High School Opportunities: College & Trade Schools; and Homeschool Parent Helps. They are currently accepting queries on these themes (queries close earlier than submission deadlines). The article submission deadline for this issue is 31 August 2020. Details here.

Urban Ivy: Memorial Day
This new Atlanta-based publisher produces coffee table books that promote personal discovery and connection. They are calling for submissions of creative works – short personal essays, poetry, illustrations, photos, videos, other visual art – on the Memorial Day theme. They want work that displays “unique perspectives and modern day interpretations of how we view, celebrate, honor and recognize military service across our nation”, according to their guidelines. Pay is $50 and the deadline is 21 May 2020. Details here.  

The Best New True Crime Stories: Well-mannered Crooks, Rogues, & Criminals
The editor is looking for non-fiction work on well-mannered criminals. The guidelines say, “Good manners and polite behavior don’t usually spring to mind when we think of criminals. Yet some of the most beloved criminals in books and film have been the ones that broke the mold: the smooth-talking charmers, the underdogs, the rebels with a cause. Their polite manners, their adherence to a cause, their code of ethics that often makes sense only to themselves—this is what sets them apart from the rest. These are the types of criminals I’m interested in. Con artists, embezzlers, fraudsters, mobsters, burglars, garden-variety robbers and thieves, plus anything else that might fit the bill. For this third volume in my series, I’m aiming to provide a lighter and more entertaining read with less of an emphasis on violent crime and murder.
Well-known, lesser-known, and obscure subjects are welcome.” Pay is $130 and the submission deadline is 15 September 2020, but the editor will be reading submissions before the deadline. Details here.

Experiences of parents with disabilities during the COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic
The National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities, a program of the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy at Brandeis University, is currently looking for parents with disabilities to contribute pieces of 500-1,000 words to a quarterly blog on the experiences and needs of parents with disabilities. Contributors will be paid $100 per accepted submission. They are interested in bringing together a racially, culturally, and experientially diverse group of people to contribute. Writers cannot write about politics. For the current cycle they want work on experiences of parents with disabilities during the COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic. This includes adaptive strategies, relationships, support needs, and barriers and challenges. Contributors are paid $100 and the deadline for this theme is 15 May 2020. Details here.

The Sunlight Press: Artist on Craft
They want work about “the ways people turn toward light and hope, whether it is through the arts, culture, spirituality, or humor, and also how they respond to the darkness and navigate unknown spaces. Epiphanies are born from the ordinary and the extraordinary; whether it’s a reflection unfolding during a morning walk, after the loss of a loved one, or in the middle of unexpected laughter, we want to know about these moments.” Currently, they are especially interested in submissions of Artist on Craft pieces (which are interviews/reflections by artists on their process of the art of choice), as well as personal essays and book reviews. They also publish fiction, poetry, and photography. Payment is unspecified, though they do pay. Details here.

ASK Magazine: Making Better Games; Pole to Pole (Arctic/Antarctic)
This is Cricket Media’s science and non-fiction magazine for 7- to 10-year-olds. The ideal article is an engaging non-fiction story (or cartoon) that is concrete, specific, and appealing to newly independent readers (grades 3–5), but that an adult reader might also find interesting – it should tell a good story, with an emphasis on ideas and problem-solving. They have feature articles (400-1,200 words), photo essays (400-800 words), humor pieces (200-400 words), profiles/interviews of scientists, inventors, engineers, and artists (200-1,000 words), theme-appropriate science experiments, and science panel cartoons (2-6 pages).
— Making Better Games: For the February 2021 theme the general direction is, why do we love games, and what makes a good one?

Possible topics: How to make sports more fair; profile of an athlete using VR to train; instant replay or other tech innovations that are changing how games are played and refereed; Olympics then and now; That’s cheating!–inventions to get an edge that prompted changes in the rules (cork bats, big tennis rackets, etc); what makes a good rule; inventing a new sport; innovations to make sports more accessible. They want queries by 20 May 2020 for this theme.
Pole to Pole (Arctic/Antarctic): For the March 2021 theme, the general direction is, what is life like at the top and bottom of the earth?

Possible topics: Similarities and differences between North and South Poles (geology, animals, climate); living in the dark; South Pole Telescope; First to reach the North/South Poles, why was the North first?; how to survive in arctic conditions; pole-to-pole migration of arctic terns or other species; magnetic vs. geographic poles; the quest for the Northwest Passage; how what happens at the poles gives us our weather. They want queries by 15 June 2020 for this theme.
They have several other themes listed. Details here.

The Rumpus: ENOUGH
ENOUGH is an ongoing series that is “devoted to creating a dedicated space for work by women and non-binary people that engages with rape culture, sexual assault, and domestic violence.” They accept personal and critical essays, poetry, comics, and hybrid work for this feature. Their guidelines say, “We are especially interested in work that considers who has access to healthcare and to therapy, who has been taught to speak up and who has been taught to be silent, and the ways in which these inequalities make vulnerable populations even more vulnerable. While we support the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, ENOUGH is its own series and we ask that you avoid using these hashtags in your titles and essays unless you are writing a piece that centers around or investigates the campaigns themselves.” The current reading period for ENOUGH is until end-June 2020. They also have general essays, reviews, comics, fiction, and columns. Each month they set aside $300 for features and reviews, and all eligible writers are able to opt in for this payment, which is shared out. Details here and here.

DeSoto Magazine: Celebrating Summer; Southern Music; All about Fall
This monthly upscale lifestyles magazine is focused on stories about life in Mississippi, Memphis and the Mid-South. They accept pitches for articles about people, cuisine, history, southern culture, human interest, travel, gardening, health and the arts. Rates are $50 for On the Road, $100 for essays and In Good Spirits, $175 for most departments, and to $240 for features. For Celebrating Summer, the deadline is 15 May; for Southern Music, it is 15 June; and for All about Fall, it is 15 July 2020. There are other themes listed. Details here.

This Magazine: Culture Issue/Fashion & Beauty
This Magazine accepts work by Canadian writers only. It offers background and context to ongoing national issues, a challenge to the mainstream media perspective, or an important story that hasn’t been told elsewhere. Subject matter includes politics, culture, the arts, social issues, labour, feminism, mental health, race/racism, Indigenous issues, and sexuality, with a focus on quality writing and in-depth reportage. See their detailed guidelines for the kind of pitches they want for various sections. They also publish fiction and poetry, and pay CAD50-125 for those. They’re currently reading for their Culture Issue/Fashion & Beauty. Details here.

Lady Science Magazine: Queer Science series
Their guidelines say they’re “always looking for new pieces that cover any number of topics on women and gender in the history and popular culture of science, technology, and medicine. We run three medium-form feature stories each month, which are typically thoroughly-researched pieces with a historical framing. We also run personal essays, cultural criticism, reviews, commentary on current and historical events, and much more.” They publish features, essays, Ideas (a broad range of topics and styles, from interviews to rants), commentary, and reviews. And though their website says submissions of general pitches are closed, they have announced on Twitter that they’re looking for pitches for their Queer Science series for June, which is Pride Month. These are pieces that explore the intersection of science, gender, and sexuality. Pieces can have a historical or contemporary focus. Some of the suggested topics are: What are the political projects of doing queer science/being queer in science? How has pop culture given us ways to imagine queer science? How to LGBTQ+ issues intersect with other marginalized identities in science? Details here and here.

Gumbo Media: Afrofuturism
This new magazine is calling for work by Black artists. Their guidelines say, “In direct response to COVID-19, Gumbo Media is developing a Zine around the theme of Afrofuturism. We are looking for original content ideas around the theme of Afrofuturism, which if selected, we would then commission you to create.” They are accepting pitches for proposed essays/nonfiction, journalism, fiction, poetry, photography, arts, comics, videos, and podcasting/audio. Also, “Gumbo defines Afrofuturism as a “looking forward,” exploring a world that is our own and centers Black experiences and Black life. It is the use of art and culture as an active form of subversion against broken systems and practices to reimagine Black folx in a more sovereign world.” Pitches are due 15 May 2020. Details here.

Full Stop Mag: Times of Monsters
This magazine focuses on debuts, works in translation, and books published by small presses. They publish reviews, interviews, and marginalia. They recently announced on Twitter that they wanted essays on the theme ‘Times of Monsters’. Pay is $100. Details here and here.

Poets & Writers: MFA Programs
This is a magazine for writers of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction. Their editorial content is divided into four sections: News & Trends:brief articles about pertinent information in the writing and publishing industries; 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: profiles of and interviews with contemporary writers in current American literature. Other features include articles and essays that look at subjects of interest to creative writers, such as writers’ conferences and residencies, small presses, regional writing, and the distinctions of genre. They accept both, proposals and articles on spec. For September/October 2020, the theme is MFA Programs. Details here and here.

Contemporary Verse 2: Hope or do we have one; 2S + QTBIPOC Bodies
This Canadian journal is reading poetry-related essays (including personal experience essays), interviews and articles, reviews, and poetry on two themes.
–Hope or do we have one – poetry for uncertain times

“We are undoubtedly living in strange and tumultuous times, having to confront what seems like a new crisis each day: climate change, rising inequalities, large-scale conflict, political corruption, and most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. What role does poetry play in responding to the simultaneously personal and global challenges that we are presented with today? How do our words help us navigate times of uncertainty? CV2 is looking for submissions of poetry, essays (including personal experience essays), and reviews about the contributions that poetry makes in difficult times.” The deadline is 15 May 2020 for this theme.
— 2S + QTBIPOC Bodies
“We are seeking poetry and prose for Volume 43.3 of CV2 on 2S + QTBIPOC Bodies. What does your queer body mean to you as a writer? Regarding relationships with queerness and bodies, what is your landscape to yourself and to others? Does non-human kinship relate back to your two-spirit identity/queerness? What does your skin taste like after being queered up? What is the most sensual part of your body: shoulders, calves, sternum, knees and toes? Show me your ankles and I’ll show you mine! 
Poets–including but not exclusive to–Two-Spirit, Black, Trans, Indigenous, People of Colour, and non-binary writers are particularly encouraged to submit.” The deadline is 15 September 2020 for this theme. Pay is CAD40-$150 for essays, CAD50-$100 for interviews and articles, CAD50-$80 for reviews, and CAD30/poem – some unsolicited contributions from outside the US and Canada get only contributor copies (see guidelines). Details here and here.

Briarpatch Magazine: Labour
They publish writing and artwork on a wide range of topics, including current events, grassroots activism, electoral politics, economic justice, ecology, labour, food security, gender equity, indigenous struggles, international solidarity, and other issues of political importance. They read completed submissions also but they prefer pitches. Their guidelines say, “We welcome pitches from unpublished writers, seasoned freelancers, front-line activists, and anyone else with a story to tell and a desire to tell it compellingly. We ask that you research your topic thoroughly, back up your expressed opinions with verifiable facts and persuasive arguments, interview a range of relevant sources as the topic requires, and hold on to relevant documentation for fact-checking purposes.” Pay is $100 – Profiles, short essays, reviews, blog posts, and parting shots; $200 – Feature stories, photo essays; and $300 – Research-based articles and investigative reportage with extensive primary research. They are reading work on the Labour theme. The pitch deadline is 1 July 2020. They are also reading work for several unthemed issues, with later deadlines. Details here.

Air & Space/Smithsonian: Speed Demons; Violence Against Didymoon; Escape from the Space Shuttle; Narcodrones
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. Feature articles average 2,500 words. Fees vary widely.
According to their media kit, for September 2020, the themes are:
— Speed Demons: The X-15, the F-104, the SR-71, the XB-70 Valkyrie: The fastest, sexiest airplanes ever invented each had something going for it besides its speed.
— Violence Against Didymoon: Two years from now and almost seven million miles away, the DART spacecraft will smash into poor little Didymoon to test whether kinetic impactors can move future big, mean Earth-crossing asteroids away from a path that intercepts our peaceful planet. (Is anybody rooting for Didymoon?)
For October/November 2020, the themes are:
— Escape from the Space Shuttle: Most shuttle astronauts believed that the elaborate escape system developed for the U.S. space shuttle would not work, but the parachutists who tested the system in the atmosphere have come forward to prove that it did.
— Narcodrones: The newest smugglers of drugs across the U.S. southern border are drones, hundreds of them, flown at night and almost undetectable. What’s the government doing to counter the cartels?
Details here and here.

Parabola: Balance; Wellness; Secrets
This is a quarterly journal that explores the quest for meaning as it is expressed in the world’s myths, symbols, and religious traditions, with particular emphasis on the relationship between this store of wisdom and our modern life. They accept original essays and translations. Their guidelines say, “We look for lively, penetrating material unencumbered by jargon or academic argument. We prefer well-researched, objective, and unsentimental pieces that are grounded in one or more religious or cultural tradition; articles that focus on dreams, visions, or other very personal experiences are unlikely to be accepted.” They also accept poetry, and extended reviews for a section called Tangents. For the Balance theme, the deadline is 1 June; for Wellness, it is 1 September; and for Secrets, it is 1 December 2020. Details here.

Taproot Magazine: Extend; Calm
This is a magazine of food, farm, family and craft. The magazine is divided into three sections: Head – essays about living a more connected life; Hands – recipes, crafts and projects to make yourself; and Heart – the personal experience of more connected living. The deadline for their Extend theme is 1 June; and for Calm, it is 1 August 2020. Payment varies depending on the type and length of submission. Details here.

Catapult: Bodies
This non-fiction magazine is reading pitches and submissions on the Bodies theme. Their guidelines say, “This series features examinations about how our bodies move through the world—how they are understood and seen (or unseen) by others and ourselves, the forces they ride and fight, the complications and joys of tending to these things that allow us to live and write. Often, the essays we publish are a mix of memoir, cultural criticism, and/or reporting, though we welcome new formats as well.” See guidelines for what to include in pitches and in full submissions. They are reading on this theme through May 2020. Details here.

Author Bio: S. Kalekar is the pseudonym of a regular contributor to this magazine. She is the author of 182 Short Fiction Publishers. She can be reached here.


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