Shipwrights accepts submissions in English of fiction, poetry, and literary nonfiction from any writer whose first language is not English, especially those living in non-Anglophone countries. However, we also accept submissions in English from any writer living in Scandinavia, including native English speakers. If you are a second-language writer in English, your submission of fiction or poetry will automatically be considered for the biennial Conrad-Nabokov Prize. We are pleased to receive submissions from both experienced and unpublished writers. 

We accept submissions by e-mail only. Please include a cover letter and author biography (see more on this below) in the body of the message. The submitted text(s) should be attached as a single Microsoft Word file. Please indicate the nature of the submission in the subject field, e.g. “Fiction Submission.” Send submissions to shipwrights@mah.se. 

We will respond by replying to your e-mailed submission. Unfortunately, time constraints will not allow us to comment on your submission. If your work is accepted, we may ask for editorial changes before publication. There is no payment for accepted work.

Per submission, please submit no more than: one short story, one creative non-fiction essay, or five poems. Please make no more than one submission at a time, waiting to hear back from us before sending in new work. Stories and essays of more than about 4000 words will have difficulty fitting into our online format, so please bear this in mind. Shorter short stories and flash fiction are welcome.

To introduce your submitted work, include a short author biography indicating such things as previous publishing credits, if any, degrees or professional experience, and any other information you deem particularly relevant or interesting. Please also indicate your location and language background, specifically, whether English is your mother tongue, second, third language, etc.

Important: your submission must be proofread and polished. Spelling and grammar problems will alienate us quickly.

 

Further Details

You may send the work you submit to other magazines simultaneously, but please notify us of this at the time of submission and immediately if the piece is accepted elsewhere. Poets and writers retain the copyright and may publish their work elsewhere. But Shipwrights requests that we are acknowledged in the publication where this is done. All submissions must be original and previously unpublished.

Our reading period is usually from October through February. Submissions received later than February will remain unread until the following October, though you are welcome to submit any time. Our response time varies but should not be longer than one year, and may be much shorter. If you still haven’t heard back from us a year after submitting, feel free to send an e-mail query. 

Please be aware that although we take steps to ensure fairness and objectivity in the selection process, this can never be foolproof. In the end, to a certain extent, any publication centers on the personal tastes of its editors. We will doubtless reject much excellent work and receive much more good writing than we will have space for. So, please don’t be discouraged if your work is not selected, and do not consider rejection by us some sort of final judgment. The truth is that a writer who has never been rejected for publication has most likely never submitted any work. We do have the policy of including some work each issue from the creative writing courses at Malmö University, so this could be a slight edge mathematically, but involvement in Malmö University creative writing courses is by no means a guarantee of publication.

Regarding genre specifics: we like to think that we’re fairly open-minded within our stated genres, but an indication of our potential preferences and prejudices follows. 

In fiction, we’re likely to favor well-crafted short stories, especially multi-layered ones with symbolic and imagistic depth. We enjoy all styles, from the traditional to the postmodern and avant-garde. Gushing romance, crime, adventure, and some fantasy may have a harder time.

In poetry, we like most styles, from the free to the formal, with the definite exception of clichéd greeting card verse, especially that on the subjects of love, pets, and organized religion. We particularly appreciate interesting new formalist poems and those that have respect for the poetic line as a link to the oral tradition. We favor poems that both look good on the screen and sound good in the air.

In keeping with the philosophy of Malmö University, we have an abiding interest in topics and themes related to race, ethnicity, gender, immigration/migration, cultural hybridism, and ecology. However, we take no set positions on these subjects, except that work of a sexist or racist nature will not be considered.

The Conrad-Nabokov Prize is an award given to the most impressive second-language poet, fiction writer, or essayist who submits work to Shipwrights during the biennial review period. The final decision will be made by a guest judge, from a short list compiled by the editorial staff.