We aim to respond within three months from the date of submission. If you have not received a response after this time, feel free to query us through the “messages” section in Submittable. After you’ve heard back from us, feel free to submit again.
Rights revert to the author upon publication. Please credit MAYDAY with first publication if the work is republished elsewhere.
MAYDAY is a nonprofit literary journal that is committed to keeping our general submissions free to all and is therefore unable to pay our writers. We do, however, support our authors through social media and by nominating the work we receive to yearly prizes, such as Best Small Fictions, Pushcart, and Best of the Net.
See below for departmental guidelines. When you’re ready to submit, head over to our online submission manager.
We aim to pair every piece of writing published on MAYDAY with original art by working artists. Accepted visual art will be featured at the top of a story, poem, translation, or essay that highlights or engages with the image. We’re particularly interested in work that is critical, experimental, inclusive, progressive, and/or represents an alternative to mainstream pieces. Artists of all perspectives, backgrounds, and voices are encouraged to submit. Otherwise, there are no particular requirements.
Please submit no more than five high-resolution JPEG files that include the title in the file name, along with a brief cover letter describing your work’s intention and a 150-word max, third-person bio.
BOOK REVIEWS & INTERVIEWS
We publish reviews (typically 1,000-1,500 words) of books either forthcoming or published in the last six months, preferably from small presses. MAYDAY reviews place a book within a tradition, use it to form another self-contained argument, or address the defining qualities of the book—its form, voice, and themes. We want reviews to answer: What questions is the book asking? What is it reflecting? Reviewers should have an argument that draws on specific moments and quotes text. We’re also interested in interviews with contemporary artists, writers, critics, and other notable cultural figures.
Please submit your reviews and interviews through the relevant department’s Submittable form.
The new MAYDAY Culture vertical invites and cultivates authenticity, curiosity, and compassion with well-rounded criticism and courageous storytelling. With an emphasis on diverse or marginalized perspectives, especially Black writers and LGBTQ+ writers, Culture explores race, politics, gender, sexuality, and ability across literature, cinema, television, music, art, video games, and theatre, with an emphasis on contemporary and historical contextualization. We appreciate arts criticism that amplifies unique perspectives and complicates our understandings—whether through personal or braided essays or media reviews—and we regard this type of writing as an art form in its own right.
We’re seeking well-rounded, literary pieces that challenge us and our readers. There’s no minimum length, but we prefer submissions of fewer than 6,000 words. Please send only one Culture submission at a time.
Find editors’ bios and contact information on Submittable. We welcome pitches by email.
Carla Bell, director of the MAYDAY:Black initiative, is committed to delivering a new experience for black writers, including those seeking first-time publication. Black writers may submit a pitch or story on spec via Carla’s email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or via the Culture submission portal at Submittable.
Thanks for considering MAYDAY as a home for your fiction. We are interested in original and engaging literary short fiction. We love innovative, strong writing that trusts the reader and is true to its author regardless of genre. We are committed to featuring a diverse range of content and authors, including LGBTQ+, BIPOC, and international voices.
Popular authors we believe fit this vision include writers such as Carmen Machado, Jeanette Winterson, Maggie Nelson, Ocean Vuong, Yaa Gyasi, Ali Smith, Tommy Orange, Saeed Jones, Jhumpa Lahiri, Etgar Keret, Shelly Oria, Aimee Bender, Pedro Cabiya, China Miéville, and Olga Tokarczuk, among others.
We will carefully consider works of prose from 100-3000 words. If you choose to submit something longer than 3000 words, we will give your work a read, but only if each page is gripping, authentic, and blows our minds. Please only send one full-length submission at a time or up to three flash fiction/short-short submissions, under 1,000 words each. Your submission should be double-spaced and in standard font and style. We prefer .doc files, but .docx, .rtf, and Open Office files are okay, too.
We seek personal, critical, and hybrid essays that move, engage, and transport us and our readers. We are sure to respond to many things, but a strong authorial voice, a clear thought or experiential arc grounded in a sense of place, and some connection with a writer’s risk in approaching their story are often most resonant. And while we are open to work of all lengths, we prefer submissions of 5,000 words or less.
Please type and double-space your submission. We prefer .doc and .docx files, but .rtf, and Open Office files are okay, too. Please do not upload .pdf files. Please only send one submission at a time.
MAYDAY is interested in poetry that employs language and imagery in unexpected ways. We appreciate work that plays with form but is not ruled by it, and are attracted to purposeful experimentation. We value poems that evince vulnerability and emotional weight, balance humor with emotional resonance, and demonstrate intention. Poems that consider the range, limitation, and influence of place. We enjoy weirdness, discomfort, punchiness, brevity or a winding, tethered path. All this being said, we often don’t know we like something until we see it, so send us your best work. We look forward to reading it.
Please submit 1 – 3 poems, up to 10 pages in total, in a single Word file or PDF.
We are looking for pieces that deserve a broader audience, that excite and inspire, that honor cultural heritage and move in the liminal space between borders sketched on maps with shaky hands; pieces that encourage a reader to question and engage with the world around them. Poetry and prose from any language translated to English will be considered. Please include a brief translator’s note if you would like to provide context, artist bio, or other information important to the submitted piece.
The translator must have secured rights for the translations submitted, or the work must be in the public domain.
Please include both the original and the translated text in Word files. If the source text contains characters difficult for Word to present correctly, a PDF scan is fine.