First published by New American Press in 2009 and relaunched with an expanded editorial staff in 2020, MAYDAY presents new poetry, fiction, nonfiction, translations, cultural commentary, and visual art to an international community of readers.
“Mayday” became an international distress signal in the 1920s, stemming from the phonetic equivalent of the French m’aider (“help me”). Upon calling MAYDAY three times, sailors and pilots in international air or waters could summon aid from anyone within range of their calls. The artist has always been tethered to a desire to communicate those urgent messages that she/he/they are uniquely capable of recognizing. In seeking contributors for MAYDAY, we ask you: What is your distress signal? What keeps your aircraft flying as you trust its wings to take you safely through the beautiful, difficult, precious days ahead?
Stories without distress are anecdotes. MAYDAY believes in writing as a dialogue between two people in which the author speaks to compel, and the reader leans in, willing and eager to be charmed. We’re literary, and at the same time, we recognize that great literature has often been genre literature. We publish artists that explore culture and history, politics regional and global, the past, present, and future. Send us writing that surprises us, introducing images and ideas in new and strange ways, which complicates our perspective. Send us fiction, poetry, personal essays, translations, reviews, visual art, and cultural criticism that have achieved a balance of craft and story so compelling that we cannot look away. We must read more.
We welcome writers who have been marginalized historically, including writers of color, queer and trans writers, disabled writers, and others who have suffered systemic discrimination.