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

  • Cover Art: Open on a rolling basis
  • Summer Contest: July 1 - August 31, 2024
  • Fall Contest: September 1 - October 31, 2024
  • Latin Heritage & Native American Heritage Contest: September 1 - November 30, 2024 
  • Many Voices Contest: November 1 - December 31st, 2024
  • Winter Contest: January 1 - February 29, 2025
  • Black History Contest: January 1 - February 29, 2025
  • Spring Contest: March 1 - April 30, 2025
  • Asian & Pacific Islander Heritage Contest: May 1 - May 31st, 2025
  • Pride Contest: June 1 - 30, 2025
Submission Calendar

Interested in becoming an editor for Polyphony Lit? Take our editorial training course and join the staff!

Note on Volume 21


In honor of Polyphony Lit's 20th Anniversary, submission guidelines will be slightly different for Volume 21.

For Poetry and Prose:

Instead of holding a regular call for submissions,

Polyphony Lit will host a series of nine seasonal contests between July 2024 and June 2025.

It will be free to submit to all of these contests. However, only the top three winners for each contest will receive feedback from our editorial staff. The remaining contest submissions will not receive feedback.

During this time, our editorial staff will work to provide detailed feedback on a large number of submissions from Volume 19 and 20. We are delighted (and overwhelmed!) by the sheer number of submissions that we have received, and writing constructive feedback to each and every submitter from Volume 19 and 20 will require time, care, and attention. We believe it is our responsibility to provide responses to all of the authors from Volumes 19 and 20 who are currently awaiting feedback before we open a new call for submissions.


That being said, we would still like to offer young writers the opportunity to submit their work and the opportunity for potential publication.  Although we cannot offer feedback on contest submissions for Volume 21, we hope that you will still take part in these contests and send us your best work.


Once our editorial staff has provided feedback on the remaining submissions from Volume 19 and 20, we will once again open a regular call for submissions and provide feedback on new submissions!

For Cover Art:

Cover Art submissions will remain open on a rolling basis.

Submission Guidelines

Submission Cap

Please note that we will close each contest window whenever we reach the submission cap. This means that contests may close before the stated deadline if we receive a large number of submissions. We recommend submitting early to ensure your work is considered.

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

  • Please submit no more than three submissions per contest.

  • 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).

Seasonal Contests July 2024 - June 2025
  • Submissions during these contest reading periods are read by editors but do not receive feedback unless they are selected as a finalist.

  • Submissions for all seasonal contests between July 2024 and June 2025 will be free.

  • 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

Art Guidelines

Poetry / Prose Guidelines

Writer Qualifications

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

  • Polyphony Lit editors 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 following April)

  • If submitting multiple pieces, please upload 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


  • Poetry must be 80 lines or less.

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


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

  • 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

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

    • 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 the following categories: (1) Cover Art (which will appear both on the website and in print) and (2) Promotional Art (which will appear on social media, on our website, and in our online workshops).

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

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

  • Portrait orientation (6 x 9 inches or equivalent dimensions) is preferred.

  • 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.

Submission Guidelines Page Art by Julian Riccobon.

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