Arts’ Watch: Write. Read. Submit.

Published 8:00 am Saturday, November 11, 2023

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By Bill McCann


NaNoWriMo—National Novel Writing Month— runs the entire month of November. If you are up to the challenge of writing a 50,000-word novel in a month, roughly 1,667 words daily—go for it! Everyone who aspires to write a novel should do so. Places such as libraries and the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning in Lexington will give you encouragement and opportunities to gather and write together during the month.

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However, if you’re more like me—attracted to writing in shorter spurts—if you write short stories, poetry, flash fiction, essays, and even plays, then there are opportunities to see your writings in local and regional journals and magazines. Indeed, except for Kentucky Monthly, there are quite a few local literary journals published by colleges and universities in our state and region; six are listed below. Additionally, the Gateway Regional Arts Center (GRAC) in Mt. Sterling currently publishes a zine (which comes out twice a year), and, though it is on hiatus, the Leeds Center for the Arts in Winchester published a zine during the pandemic.

Suppose you have an interest in seeing your writing published. In that case, the first step is to visit the website of the journals you are interested in submitting to so you know exactly what an individual journal accepts and what their guidelines are. Also, some journals change what they are looking for; for instance, Jelly Bucket began accepting 10-minute plays for the first time last year. Some accept submissions from the community and others do not. In preparing this list, I included journals that accept community submissions; however, submission guidelines change frequently, so check the websites of any journal you are interested in.

• Accolade: published by Bluegrass Community & Technical College. Usually seeks submissions beginning in mid-November through mid-February annually.

• Appalachian Review: University of North Carolina Press (formerly by Berea College). In addition to the genres previously mentioned they also accept craft essays, book reviews, and writing for young adults. Submissions accepted through 1st December.

• Chaffin Journal: Eastern Kentucky University Department of English. Usually accepts submissions from 1st January-21st March annually.

• Jelly Bucket: Bluegrass Writers Studio, EKU. Full disclosure: Bill McCann is editor of the 10-minute plays section. Plays and all other genres accepted through 1st December annually

• Penned: Kentucky Monthly Magazine; a literary issue is published annually. Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, and Opening Paragraph for Novel. Submission fee may apply. Deadline for submitting is 8th December 2023.

• Pluck: The Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture, UK Department of English. Accepts submissions from artists and writers “who identify with multicultural experiences based in the Appalachian region.” Next open period to submit is 15th January-15th March 2024.

As a reminder: before submitting to any of the above magazines or journals, carefully read their submission guidelines to ensure that they accept the genre you wish to submit, when they accept submissions and the cost (if any) of submitting. Most of the above either charge no fee or a nominal fee, generally $2 or $3 per submission.

Kentucky Monthly’s contest allows a first submission in each genre at no cost but $10 for each additional entry. Write first. Then read. Then submit. Good luck!