Literary Journal /
Reading Period for the 2014 Issue
Chautauqua welcomes unsolicited submissions of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction from February 15 to April 15 and from August 15 to November 15. The theme for the 2014 issue of Chautauqua is “Wonders of the World.” What captures your sense of wonder? What asks you to pause, study, and reflect?
The editors actively solicit writing, regardless of genre, that expresses the values of Chautauqua Institution: meaningful inquiry into questions of personal, social, political, spiritual, and aesthetic importance. The qualities we seek include a mastery of craft, attention to vivid and accurate language, a true lyric “ear,” an original and compelling vision, and strong narrative instinct. Above all, we value work that is intensely personal, yet somehow implicitly comments on larger public concerns — work that answers every reader’s most urgent question: Why are you telling me this?
The journal is released once per year and feels more like an anthology. Each issue has four sections: Life of the Spirit, Life in Art, Life Lessons, and Life at Leisure. If you are unfamiliar with our journal, please consider purchasing an issue to best understand its structure.
We consider the work of any writer, whether or not affiliated with Chautauqua Institution — except for board members of the Chautauqua Writers’ Center and current faculty, students, and staff at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (unless directly solicited for special features).
A Chautauqua poem is not just a pretty exercise in language. It exhibits the writer’s craft and attention to language, employs striking images and metaphors, and engages the mind. It emerges from the poet’s deep reading and knowledge of poetic tradition, reacts to that tradition to reveals a definite aesthetic approach, opening insights into the larger world of human concerns. This may include traditional or experimental work, but each poem should be meaningful to a serious reader beyond the writer’s private code of expression. Submit a maximum of three poems, typed, single-spaced, justified left.
A Chautauqua short story, self-contained novel excerpt, or flash fiction demonstrates a sound storytelling instinct, using suspense in the best sense, creating a compulsion in the reader to continue reading. We want to engage our reader’s deep interest in the characters and their actions, unsettled issues of action or theme, or in some cases simple delight at the language itself. A superior story will exhibit the writer’s attention to language — both in style and content — and should reveal a masterful control of diction and syntax. Fiction should be a maximum of 25 double-spaced pages in 12-point font, no extra spaces between paragraphs and all pages numbered. We will consider any piece up to 7,000 words.
Many of the same guidelines apply. We are seeking essays that use personal experience as a way of addressing the wider world, blending a confident and articulate narrator with fascinating subject matter. Again, we value exact and artful use of language and syntax as well as a compelling emotional experience that includes the reader, regardless of subject matter. The best essay is timeless, released from daily headlines but important for its truthful evocation of the world. Creative nonfiction should be a maximum of 25 double-spaced pages in 12-point font, no extra spaces between paragraphs and all pages numbered. We will consider any piece up to 7,000 words.
Chautauqua has added a new section, which celebrates young writers, aged 12 to 18. Work should be submitted by a teacher, mentor, or parent. Please confirm on the entry that the piece can be classified as a Young Voices entry. We ask that young writers consider the theme. Essays and stories should remain under 1,500 words. For poetry, please submit no more than three poems and/or no more than six pages.
The editors will make every effort to respond to submissions within three to six months. All submissions must be original and unpublished in any form. Simultaneous submissions are permitted but please notify Chautauqua immediately if a work under consideration is no longer available. Unsolicited e-mail submissions are not accepted. Payment to authors is two contributor’s copies.
We follow the Chicago Manual of Style.
Please submit all work to us using this link. As of January 2013, Chautauqua encourages all writers to use our online Submittable portal. We made the decision to move to online submissions after a great deal of deliberation. Ultimately, online submissions enable all editors to read and respond to work more efficiently.
If for some reason it is not possible for you to submit electronically, you may mail submissions to Chautauqua c/o Department of Creative Writing, University of North Carolina Wilmington, 601 S. College Rd, Wilmington NC 28403. Please note that paper submissions will not be considered for the Editors Prize. All paper manuscripts and correspondence regarding submissions should be accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope (S.A.S.E.). We assume no responsibility for delay, loss, or damage of paper submissions. Paper submissions will be recycled.
For more information about Chautauqua, please contact the journal directly, at email@example.com.