Cicada is currently open to submissions of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and international literature in translation (see below for specific genre details and submission guidelines). Please read our journal thoroughly before submitting, in order to get a sense of what we publish and what we’re looking for. We are not interested in texts that engage in exotic tourism of Asia.

Excerpts from forthcoming publications will also be considered. Simultaneous submissions are permitted, but please let us know if your submission is accepted elsewhere immediately. Please do not send more than one submission at a time.

We only accept previously unpublished writing in English (personal blogs and newsletters count!). If your piece is accepted, we only ask for first-time electronic publication rights.

We endeavor to respond to all submissions and pitches as soon as possible. If you have not received a response after 60 days, do check in with us (note: the response time may vary depending on the genre; please check below). Please wait at least 14 days after receiving a rejection before submitting again. Please note that if your submission does not follow the guidelines set out on this page, we cannot guarantee that our editors will read your entry, and you may not receive a response.

Unfortunately, we are unable to pay for writing at this time. We are a small all-volunteer team and hope to explore payment options and fundraising in the future as we grow. 

GENRES
FICTION

Please send one short story of up to 5,000 words. We welcome all genres and experimental styles, flash fiction included. We are especially eager to devour stories about or set in underrepresented communities or places; stories that upbraid canonical storytelling devices; stories that pull the marginalized toward the center; and stories that play with convention and form. 

NONFICTION

Please send one essay of up to 3,500 words. We publish all forms of creative nonfiction, from personal essays to original reportage to any text that shows us something new about the world. Examples include features about small neighborhoods that tell a story about global socioeconomic trends, essays that blur the line between the personal and the political, and writing that combines different cultural fields and literary genres. 

We’re looking for a blend of style, substance, and insight that speaks to a general audience. Completed drafts are preferred over pitches. 

POETRY

Please send three to five poems in a single document, not exceeding ten pages. Poems should be formatted as the author wishes them to be published. All forms are accepted, insofar as the work is concrete, intentional, highly resolved, and contains multitudes. Evocation is preferred to declaration, vividity is preferred to guesswork, and sagacity preferred to reaction. Poems that are undaunted, courageous, and aim to bear witness are especially welcome.

As per the words of Elizabeth Bishop: “If after I read a poem, the world looks like that poem for twenty-four hours or so, I’m sure it’s a good one.”

TRANSLATIONS

We accept English translations of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry from all around the world. Please send one work of up to 5,000 words or three to five poems in a single document, not exceeding ten pages. We welcome all forms and styles and are particularly eager to feature voices challenging known cultural and linguistic constructs. We think a good translation is sensitive and celebrates possibility; it sings and exudes, and is comfortable in its own skin.

Submissions should be accompanied by a copy of the original text and a short biography of the author no longer than 150 words. You may include a translator’s note of up to 300 words providing context for the work and its translation. It is the translator’s responsibility to obtain permission to publish from the copyright holder of the original text.

HOW TO SUBMIT

Please read all the information on this page before submitting your work. Send your text in a .docx or .doc file, attached to your email, to cicadamag(at)gmail(dot)com. (No PDFs or other formats.) Your file name should be formatted as “CATEGORY_NAME_TITLE.” The subject line of your email should be formatted as “Submission: Title, Name, Category.” You may submit a short bio. Otherwise, please keep your email as short as possible.

EXAMPLE:

SUBJECT LINE:

Submission: “Trees,” Laura Cheung, Fiction

BODY TEXT:

Dear Cicada,

Please find my fiction submission, “Trees,” attached for your consideration.

Laura Cheung is a writer based in Shanghai.