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Artwork by Maggie Yang. Previously published in The Adroit Journal Issue 42.

Call for Submissions & Guidelines

 

Polyphony Lit invites submissions of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction from high school students (aged 14-18) worldwide. Students may submit for publication in our annual volume, and/or our seasonal writing contests.

Why Submit?

  • Feedback: We have a staff of more than 200 high school students from around the world, all of whom have successfully completed our literary editor training program. It is our privilege to read every submission we receive. We relish the opportunity to participate in this personal and essential journey of the human voice. We strive to build respectful, mutually beneficial writer-editor relationships, and we provide editorial feedback on all submissions, excluding seasonal contest entries.
  • Publication: Anytime you submit, your work will be evaluated for publication in our magazine and, if published, it will be eligible for the Claudia Ann Seaman Awards. We honor literary achievement by bringing attention to excellence through awards and publishing much of the extraordinary work we receive.

Submission Calendar

Submissions for Volume 20 are open on the following schedule:

Reading Period 1:  July 1 - September 30, 2023 (capped at 200 submissions)
Reading Period 2:  November 1, 2023 - January 31, 2024 (capped at 200 submissions)
Reading Period 3 :  March 1 - April 30, 2024 (capped at 150 submissions)

 

Submissions for our Seasonal Contests are open on the following schedule:

Latin Heritage Contest: September 1 - October 31, 2023 
Fall Contest:  September 1 - October 31, 2023
Black History Month Contest: January 1 - February 29, 2024
Winter Contest:  January 1 - February 29, 2024

Asian and Pacific Heritage Month Contest: May 1 - May 31st, 2024
Pride Month Contest: June 1 - 30, 2024

Submission Cap

Please note that we will be closing each window for Volume 20 whenever we reach the submission cap. We recommend submitting early to ensure your work is considered. What does this mean?

  • The submission window for July 2023 - September 2023 may close before the end of September.

  • The submission window for November 2023 - January 2024 may close before the end of January.

  • The submission window for March 2024 - April 2024 may close before the end of April.

 

There will be a limited number of submissions, so out of respect for other submitters:

  • Please submit no more than three submissions per volume.

  • Please ensure that your submission follows all guidelines, including word/line limits and guidelines for creative nonfiction (submissions that do not follow guidelines will be withdrawn).

  • Please submit only if you are aged 14-18 (submissions from writers outside the age limit will be withdrawn).

Volume 20:

Submissions during these times:

  • will receive in-depth editorial feedback from our editors

  • will be evaluated for publication in our annual volume

  • are eligible for the Claudia Ann Seaman Awards

  • Submissions are free

Contests
  • Submissions during these contest reading periods are read by editors but do not receive feedback unless they are selected as a finalist

  • Submissions cost $5.00 each for the Fall, Winter, and Summer Contests

  • Submissions are free for Latin Heritage Month, Black History Month, Asian and Pacific Heritage Month, and Pride Month Contests

  • Winners are:

    • awarded the Polyphony Lit Writing Award (no cash value)

    • published in our annual volume

    • offered a full scholarship for Polyphony’s editor training course

    • eligible for the Claudia Ann Seaman Awards

Submission Calendar
Poetry / Prose Guidelines
Art Guidelines

Poetry / Prose Guidelines

Writer Qualifications

  • High school students (aged 14-18) from anywhere in the world are eligible to submit.

  • Editors on Polyphony Lit's staff are not eligible to submit.

  • Works must be written in English (unless contest guidelines specify otherwise).

  • Original works only.

  • Submit no more than three pieces per year (submission year begins in July and ends the following April)

  • If submitting multiple pieces, please upload them as separate submissions. Multiple pieces submitted in a single document will be withdrawn, and you will be asked to resubmit your pieces separately.

  • We accept simultaneous submissions and work that has been published elsewhere. If submitting previously published work, please send a message in Submittable noting where and when your work has been published, and if it is eligible for republication. If it is accepted for publication elsewhere after submitting to Polyphony Lit, please notify us immediately but do not withdraw your submission if you are still interested in publication at Polyphony Lit. If we accept a previously published submission for publication, we will acknowledge the place of the original publication.

  • Previously published pieces are not eligible for the Claudia Ann Seaman Awards

Length

  • Poetry must be 80 lines or less.

  • Fiction and creative nonfiction must be 1,800 words or less.

Formatting​

  • Do not put your name on the piece, as all work is blind juried.

  • Poetry should be formatted flush left unless another format, such as centering, is an integral part of the piece's meaning.

  • We accept submission in .doc, .docx or .rtf formats.

  • We prefer common conventions:

    • Color: Black & white

    • Font Size: 12 pt throughout, including titles

    • Font Type: Times or Times New Roman

    • Margins: 1-inch at the top and bottom, and 1.25 inch at the left and right. One space after periods. There should be no extra returns after paragraphs unless you have a meaningful reason for the extra space.

Using Submittable

  • Please upload submissions through Submittable. We do not accept email submissions or hard copies via mail.

  • If you submit a revision of a piece that we have already reviewed, type "(REV)" after the title.​

  • There is no fee to submit.

  • By submitting to Polyphony Lit you give us permission to publish your piece as outlined by Polyphony Lit's Copyright Policies.

Additional Guidelines for Creative Nonfiction​

  • At Polyphony Lit, we look for creative nonfiction pieces that are written in the style of short personal memoirs. We are looking for pieces that are informal, flexible in form, and most importantly, personal. Personal discovery is the keystone of a personal essay. Self-revelation, human experiences, humor, and flexibility of form are all aspects that we look for in pieces we publish as creative non-fiction.

  • We do not look for op-ed pieces, critical analyses, research papers, or academic essays.

  • We would advise reading some samples of our work, in order to understand the material that we publish. Here are some samples of creative nonfiction that we have published:

  • Memories of the Boy I Didn't Know

  • responses to love

  • Holiday in a Burning City

Art Guidelines

Artist Qualifications

  • High school students (aged 14-18) from anywhere in the world are eligible to submit.

  • For the art category, we welcome multiple submissions.

Artwork Guidelines

  • Submitted artwork will be considered for any of the following categories: (1) Cover Art (which will appear both on the website and in print), (2) T-Shirt Art (which will appear in our online store), and (3) Promotional Art (which will appear on social media, on our website, and in our online workshops).

  • The T-shirt art winner will receive $150 and a free t-shirt featuring their design.

  • Images must be a .PNG or .JPG file.

  • Images must be at least 2700 x 1800 pixels. Images with low resolution will not be eligible for cover art or t-shirt printing.

  • Images must have a resolution of at least 300 DPI (dots per inch).

  • Portrait orientation is preferred.

  • For the purpose of t-shirt printing, your artwork may be edited in order to create a printer-friendly color palette.

  • Polyphony means “many voices,” which you can use as inspiration for your design. You are not limited to that theme, as we are looking for the creativity and imagination of your visual art to be a match for the wide-ranging literary works contained in our annual volume.

  • We accept simultaneous submissions but if the piece is accepted elsewhere, please notify us immediately. Only previously unpublished artwork is eligible.

  • All submissions must be original and may include drawings, paintings, collages, photographs, or mixed media.

 

Using Submittable

  • In the submission form, please select "Cover Art" as the genre for your submission.

  • Please upload submissions through Submittable. We do not accept email submissions or hard copies via mail.

  • Upload only one piece per submission file. To submit more than one piece, make more than one submission file.

  • There is no fee to submit.

  • We do not provide feedback on cover art submissions. If your piece is accepted for publication, we will notify you at the close of our submission cycle.

  • If you are submitting visual art, you give us permission to publish your work as cover art, t-shirt art, or promotional art on Polyphony Lit's platforms as outlined by Polyphony Lit's Copyright Policies.

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