So you wanna be a writer. Well, you’re going to need readers and, to reach them, a publisher. But before you head straight for Simon & Schuster or Penguin, you might want to pause and investigate the roster of local literary magazines currently welcoming submissions in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. We pulled together five of our favorites that await your byline. It’s open season, people. Get out your pens.
According to American novelist Karen Russell (who now lives in Portland), “Tin House magazine is a port in the storm for people who love language.” The heavy hitter in Portland’s lit mag field, Tin House frequently contributes to national short story anthologies, such as Best American Short Stories. Perhaps the most selective of the literary magazines listed, Tin House began accepting fall submissions back in September—but you still have till February 28 to toss your story into the ring.
Run by PSU graduate students, Portland Review accepts submissions for creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry through the end of February for the 2016 spring issue. They also run a Short Fiction Contest that opens that same day with guest judge Charles McLeod, author of American Weather. Publish here and you’ll be following in the footsteps of authors Margaret Adams, Joan Colby, and shufPoetry founder Nikia Chaney.
Gertrude is the biannual arts and literary publication from Gertrude Press, which showcases the work of LGBTQA individuals. Subject matter doesn't have to be LGBTQA-specific, but it must be original and previously unpublished. The current round of submissions opened February 1 and closes May 15.
Hop aboard the Glimmer Train—your next stop might be publication. With a special emphasis on publishing unpublished writers, Glimmer Train offers a short story contest specifically for new writers open throughout this month of February, as well as a Very Short Fiction contest in March and April. Of note: Glimmer Train stories have been listed in 2010's Best American Short Stories and appeared in the Pushcart Prize.
Deadlines not the right thing to get your creative juices flowing? Rest assured: The Masters Review—which calls itself “a platform for emerging writers”—accepts year-round submissions. You might also want to consider submitting to their annual anthology, which collects ten of the best stories by emerging writers, this year with short story writer Amy Hempel as guest judge. This one does have a deadline, though—March 31. Get cracking!