Wabash Prize: Submissions for the annual Wabash Prize in poetry or fiction are currently only accepted online. If you would like to submit for the prize, please see the separate guidelines on our contest page.
Reading Period: August 1 – March 31. Submissions sent at other times will go unread.
General Guidelines: Sycamore Review is looking for original poetry, fiction, non-fiction and art (scroll down for our genre editors’ Aesthetic Statements). We accept unsolicited submissions of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. Please query for art. Our book reviews and interviews are done in-house. At this time we are not able to accept outside interviews, previously published works (except for translations) or genre pieces (conventional science fiction, romance, horror, etc.).
Unless explicitly asked by an editor, submit no more than twice times per year.
As of August 15 2010, Sycamore Review accepts ONLY online submissions. Mailed submissions will be discarded. Click on this link to use our online submission manager. Once there, follow the instructions for creating an account (if this is your first time submitting to SR), and upload your piece. Submissions are limited to one work at a time for fiction and non-fiction, and no more than five poems, which should be included in a single document. Please submit a .doc or .rtf file only and include a cover letter in the comments section. We’d like to know a little bit about you and your work.
We do accept simultaneous submissions, but request prompt notification if the work is accepted elsewhere. Please note simultaneous submissions in your cover letter.
POETRY manuscripts should be typed single-spaced, one poem to a page. Please submit no more than twice per reading period.
PROSE should be typed double-spaced, with numbered pages and the author’s name and title of the work easily visible on each page. Wait until you have received a response to submit again.
NONFICTION Sycamore Review does not publish scholarly articles or journalistic pieces, though we do publish experiential journalism with a memoir bent. Most of our nonfiction content could be classified as literary memoir or personal essay. We are interested in originality, brevity, significance, strong dialogue, and vivid detail. There is no maximum page count, but remember that the longer the piece is, the more compelling each page must be. Wait until you have received a response to submit again.
For withdrawals or genre-specific queries, please contact the appropriate editor:
Art: If you are interested in submitting art for either our print issue or online art gallery, please send a query email describing your work (Is it black and white? Photos of installations?) and introducing yourself to firstname.lastname@example.org. Do NOT send unsolicited images attached to emails. Your email will be deleted without being opened (we fear viruses). To submit work, please send via snail-mail as slides or CD-ROM (no prints!) or note in your emailed query a web address where your work can be viewed. For web pages, please indicate which pieces you would like considered.
Sycamore Review does not publish creative work by any student currently attending Purdue University. Former students should wait one calendar year before submitting.
Rights & Payment
Purdue University acquires first-time North American rights, including electronic rights, for work published in Sycamore Review. After publication, all rights revert to the author. For unsolicited printed work, Sycamore Review pays each contributor two copies, and $50 per short story or non-fiction piece, or $25 per poem.
Sycamore Review does not have a permanent aesthetic statement because of the nature of our editorship. That said, our genre editors do have preferences that you, as a potential submitter, might be curious about. Please remember, however, that we are constantly surprised by the pieces we end up liking the most. This, we believe, is one of the great pleasures of literature — its ability to undermine our presuppositions, to open our eyes, to stretch our hearts and minds.
Looking for poems. Must have a good sense of hygiene, be well-groomed. Into music and form and not form. Free to smoke and keep late hours, but must bring own stereo. Should be able to engage in witty banter and wax philosophical. No allergies. Pets welcome. –Matthew Kilbane and Elizabeth Petersen, Poetry Co-Editors
I once read a scientific article about memories being seared into our brains due to strong emotions we were feeling at the time. This makes sense in fiction, too. I remember my favorite books or stories for specific scenes or surprising moments that made the fictional world real for me, moments in which the outside world fell away completely and all that existed was the sentence I was reading. At Sycamore Review, we read a great many stories. The ones that really stay with me have an emotional energy and honesty to the prose that refuses to be forgotten, and remains compelling no matter how many times the story is reread.– Dallas Woodburn, Fiction Editor
I’m drawn to writing that pierces in the first sentence and in the last. A first page should hold its reader and garner their unconditional consent to keep reading. The strongest are those pieces that allow an eye into another life, that don’t recoil from reliving—and allowing the reader to live in—those past experiences. The subject doesn’t have to be grand or particular to the writer, but the expression and interpretation of it should imbue even the most familiar with freshness. –Shavonne Clarke, Nonfiction Co-Editor