Call for Submissions

NO FEE Submission call + interview – Storm Cellar, DEADLINE: Nov. 30, 2017

Storm Cellar publishes two to three issues per year in print and ebook editions as well as free samples online weekly-ish. They place special emphasis on the Midwest, but are really just looking for amazing writing and art. They have a creative and quirky aesthetic and have an appreciation for weirdness. Their reading period for their next issue ends next week on November 30, but they do have a special call open via snail mail for submissions from incarcerated people until May 1, 2018.

I wondered how and why this lit mag came to be, so I asked editors Sidney Taiko and Ben Goodney and they kindly replied. See my interview with Taiko/Goodney and submission guidelines below.

HOPKINSON: Tell me a little bit about Storm Cellar.

TAIKO/GOODNEY: Storm Cellar is an independent, nationally distributed literary arts magazine with Midwestern roots. We have a homegrown vibe, and yet the voices we publish are assertive, diverse, and aesthetically ambitious. We're curious and incredibly dedicated to supporting authors and artists who are under-represented in this horrifying/delightful world.

We publish in print and ebook editions 2-3 times per year and read submissions like crazy. If Storm Cellar were a person, they would be that friend we all have/need who shows up at our door unexpectedly with our favorite takeout in hand and a wild story. SC is the friend who wears the shirt we could never pull off and tells us when we have broccoli in our teeth. SC had that terrible haircut in 2002, but owned it. SC read about this new post-post modern meditative xylophone exercise and oh my god let's go try it!

Storm Cellar is that warm, doughy shoulder you occasionally need to lean on and the first to clap back when that jerk at the bar starts in with the drunk hate speech right before last call and everyone circles up for "Piano Man."

HOPKINSON: How/why was Storm Cellar originally started?

TAIKO/GOODNEY: We began as a writing circle in Champaign, Illinois in 2010, and decided to create a 'zine to publish area writers and photographers. That group were the staff and among the first-issue contributors. Our scope expanded rapidly, but in the sense that we remain hungry for excellent Midwest-flavored work we stay true to the spirit of those pale fall afternoons in Sidney's then-apartment.

HOPKINSON: What type of work are you looking for?

TAIKO/GOODNEY: Our favorite submissions are the ones we never expected to see, when we are surprised, blindsided, shocked, delighted by some innovation or twist on a classic. We prefer the confidently weird, the confidently tender, and the obliquely political (in the very broadest sense). We want work that resonates with us in so many different ways that we keep coming back to figure that s*** out. Send us something dangerous. Change us.

HOPKINSON: What do you wish you’d see submitted, but never comes in?

TAIKO/GOODNEY: We're really fortunate with the diversity of voices that come our way. The multitude of unique experiences and perspectives shared with us just keeps increasing. We can't really say there are certain submissions we wish we received, but "never" get. We're greedy, though, and definitely want more: more risk-taking, more nontraditional forms, more humor and whimsy, more devastation and enlightenment. We're tired of those specifically-white, exclusively-middle class, heteronormative experiences that dominate contemporary lit, even though we do still publish work with white, middle class, or hetero characters. We're tired of overly-familiar characters merely gazing at each other "meaningfully." And dudes named Lenny! We want explosive writing that rocks out and complicates.

HOPKINSON: What are some of your favorite journals?

TAIKO/GOODNEY: Ninth Letter, FENCE, The Laurel Review, Paper Darts, Bat City Review, Third Coast, cream city review, Midwestern Gothic, Black Warrior Review, Meridian, CutBank, Apogee, Redivider, [PANK], The McNeese Review, Sonora Review, TriQuarterly, The Offing ' We should stop now, right?

HOPKINSON: Where can folks send submissions?

TAIKO/GOODNEY: Our online submission form is, and our full, detailed guidelines with FAQ are at We're reading mail submissions from incarcerated people until May 1, 2018.

HOPKINSON: If someone has a question, how can they contact you?

TAIKO/GOODNEY: If we didn't answer a question in our FAQ at, the first method of contact is email (stormcellar { d o t } editor { a t } gmail), but we're happy to chat at or @stormcellar.

Click here to read submission guidelines.

DEADLINE: November 30, 2017 

FORMAT: print, ebook, and some online

SUBMISSION FEE: None (Occasional breaks from free subs due to volume.)

PAYMENT:  Flash contest winners are paid. Regular contributors receive a print and an ebook copy of the issue they're in, a discount, and big heart emojis forever.

FORMS: poetry, fiction, flash, non-fiction, and images


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