Literary Mama is a monthly publication that features writing by mother writers about the complexities and many faces of motherhood. We seek top-notch creative writing: fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. We also publish columns, book reviews, profiles of mother writers and artists, guest blog posts, and original photography to complement our content.
Please review our Mission Statement and read the work on our site to find out what we like. Our general and specific submission guidelines are below.
General Submission Guidelines
Literary Mama seeks:
- Writing rooted in/inspired by the experience of motherhood.
- Fresh perspectives, superior craft, and vivid imagery.
- Revelation so stark that it hurts. Pathos can reveal, but so can humor and joy.
- Photos that are artful and that encourage us to reflect.
- Submissions by self-identified mothers: biological, non-biological, step, transgendered, foster, grand, or adoptive.
- Previously unpublished work. We will consider reprints if you have the rights and the work is not currently available online.
- Electronic submissions only. Please send submissions to the appropriate departmental editors (see specific guidelines below). Include a brief cover letter.
- All work formatted as follows: 12-point type; left justify; one space between paragraphs; and straight quotes and straight apostrophes (don't use curly/smart ones.) This will help us streamline our editing process.
- Authors and photographers retain rights. Please credit us if your work is republished.
- Standard response time is from 3-12 weeks. With the exception of our blog, we do not publish content during July and August. We are open for submissions all year.
- Simultaneous submissions are allowed, but please indicate in your cover letter if we are viewing work simultaneously submitted to other outlets. If your submission to Literary Mama is accepted elsewhere, let us know immediately.
- Literary Mama is not currently a paying market. We are all volunteers here: editors, writers, and editorial assistants. With the publication of each issue, we make a concerted effort to promote the work of our contributors via Facebook, Twitter, and our newsletter.
We seek submissions for three special issues from people other than self-defined moms (as well as self-defined moms) on topics intimately related to mothering. We need to receive submissions for the special issues at least three months before the month in which that special issue will be published. These special issues are listed below:
October: Desiring Motherhood
Features writing about the desire to have or not to have children. This issue explores issues of primary and secondary infertility; the effects on the human soul of reproductive technologies; concerns about having more children or not having any at all; the relationship of caregivers to the mothering role and their desires for mothering; and more.
May: Mother's Day Month
Focuses on writing about mothers from the child's perspective, or from fathers, partners or other family members about the mothers they love.
June: Father's Day Month
Features writing about fathers from the child's perspective; the relationships between fathers and mothers and husbands and wives; husbands as fathers; and writing by self-defined fathers about fathering and mothering (including lesbian or transexual parents who identify as fathers).
Department-specific Submission Guidelines
We publish calls for submissions and reading lists of books and craft-related articles we don't want you to miss. We seek guest posts for our After Page One and Op-Ed series and artwork and photograph submissions to pair with our blog posts. Read more about submissions to our blog. Read more about artwork and photo submissions.
We seek reviews exploring literary work—fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry—about any form of motherhood (biological, foster, adoptive, empty-nest, transgendered, grand, and more). We review both newly released work and older books that we consider to be important to the genre. Read more about book review submissions.
We seek monthly columns, which are contracted for 10 installments per year. Read more about submitting a column proposal.
We seek personal essays and stand-alone creative nonfiction excerpts by mothers related to motherhood that read like fiction. Read more about submitting creative nonfiction.
We seek fiction with strong narrative structure, great characters, interesting settings, beautiful language, and complicated themes. Read more about submitting fiction.
We seek writing by mother writers, both established and emerging, focused on the creative process. We're looking for first-person reflections with an intellectual as well as personal focus. Read more about submitting a literary reflection.
We seek photos that offer unique perspectives on motherhood. These might be shots of people, places, and things, or they might be shots that reflect milestones, growth, and tradition. We like photos that are artful, versus those that appear staged, and that encourage us to reflect. Read more about submitting your photos.
We seek poems that are extraordinary for their vision, craft, integrity and originality. Read more about submitting poetry.
We seek profiles of writers who are mothers, or writers who write about motherhood (who may or may not be mothers themselves), or writers who have something to say to mothers. Interview (Q&A) or profile format. Read more about submitting a profile.
For general questions or concerns about Literary Mama, contact the senior editors at LMinfo (at) literarymama (dot) com
We look forward to reading your work!