About the Magazine 

Witness seeks original fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and photography that is innovative in its approach, broad-ranging in its concerns, and unapologetic in its perspective. The magazine blends the features of a literary and an issue-oriented magazine to highlight the role of the modern writer as witness to their times.

Our mission is to amplify extraordinary voices, feature writers from every part of the globe, and highlight pieces that speak to the present moment in an enduring and distinctive way. The magazine seeks to open up conversations surrounding oppression and transcendence, prejudice and compassion, fear and raw honesty. The editorial team is also proud to feature the work of emerging voices alongside that of established writers.

Reading Periods 

Witness is published twice a year: a Spring print issue, and a Fall/Winter online issue. Beginning in 2021, stories, essays and poems from the upcoming issue will appear monthly, online.

Reading periods:

  • August 25th-December 1st: Spring Print Issue & Witness Literary Awards
  • January 20th-May 1st: Fall/Winter Online Issue
  • Summer/Winter TBD: Special capsule issues

Submission windows are subject to early closure if submissions exceed the maximum number we can consider per issue. Also, editors may consider submissions for either issue, depending on the volume and quality of work submitted in a single reading period.

General Guidelines: 

  • We do not accept previously published work. This includes material that has appeared online in any form or format, including personal blogs.
  • We do not accept more than one submission per genre, though you may submit up to five poems as a single submission. We work to respond to all poetry submissions within four months; response times for fiction and nonfiction may be six months or longer, depending on the volume of submissions.
  • Simultaneous submissions are allowed, but please withdraw your work promptly if it is accepted elsewhere. In the case of poetry, if one of your five poems per submission has been accepted by another publication, please notify us directly at witness.poetry@unlv.edu. 

We pay our contributors $50 per published piece, whether in the print or online issue. We suggest a reading fee of $3 for a general submission, but keep an eye out for our free reading periods, or contact us directly if you have difficulty paying this fee. 

Witness Literary Award Winners receive $500, and runners-up receive $250. Contest entry is $10. All entries are considered for publication.

We look forward to reading your work!



 

Witness is currently seeking cover art for our Spring 2022 Issue, "Missed Connections." You are welcome to look to our past themed cover art for inspiration, or engage us with something new and evocative; we are most interested in how your work interprets and communicates the theme of missed connections.

The selected cover artist will be awarded $250 for their artwork, which will be featured on the cover of our magazine and across our website and social media platforms.* Other artwork may be considered for content and future issues.

Artists are encouraged to send up to five original images (high-resolution) for our editors to consider for publication. We accept all mediums: photography, painting, drawing/illustration, sculpture, graphic design, etc. Please include the title(s) of your work, a short bio, a link to your portfolio or website, and any social media handles you use for showcasing your work.

Witness is an issue-oriented, literary magazine designed to highlight the role of the modern writer--and artist!--as witness to our times. We can't wait to see what you can do. Submissions will be open until January 1st, or until we reach capacity!

*Please note: While we request non-exclusive rights to the winning selections, we do ask that any of the work you submit from your back catalog or current body of work not appear on a similar publication (such as another magazine cover) prior to or following our 2022 publication date.

Submission Guidelines:

  • Please limit your submissions to 1-5 high-resolution images in a single upload.
  • Make sure to fill out the forms carefully and include the title(s) in the Title Box on the submission page.
  • Include your contact information.


Thank you for your interest! We look forward to seeing your work.

Questions? Comments? Find us at witness.community@unlv.edu.

Witness is reading for our Spring 2022 print issue: Missed Connections.

Much remains uncertain even as many of us are returning to school, work and other aspects of our pre-pandemic patterned lives. While there is both much to cherish and fear in what was once familiar, we cannot help but realize we might have lost in the interim - the relationships we might have built or the ambitions we might have chased.

Therefore, we chose this theme to hear stories about all the possibilities we might have missed while our worlds were on pause. Furthermore, like that corner of the internet that “Missed Connections” inevitably recalls, we would like to evoke that same sense of awkwardness and vulnerability and perhaps, sincere hope. What might be missed may not be forever lost.

Submissions will be open until October 1st, 2021, or until we reach our maximum submissions.

We encourage you to check out our past issues online or purchase a copy to become familiar with the magazine.

  • Previously accepted or published work is not eligible.
  • Essays must be under 7,000 words (please include a word count and page numbers in your header.) Essays that are longer than 7000 words will not be accepted.
  • All files must be saved in Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) or as PDF.
  • Please double-space your submission and use a 12-point, standard font (Times, Garamond, Helvetica, Arial, etc.)
  • Simultaneous submissions are welcome, but we ask that you notify us and withdraw the work immediately in the event that it is published elsewhere.
  • We are committed to paying our authors and artists for accepted pieces. Your reading fees help us maintain our Submittable page and operating costs, which we greatly appreciate! Please contact us if you have any difficulty paying this fee. 
  • Writers currently or formerly affiliated with UNLV or Black Mountain Institute are ineligible for consideration or publication.
  • If you have any further questions, please direct them to witness.nonfiction@unlv.edu or witness.manager@unlv.edu.



 

Dear readers and contributors,

Witness is reading for our Spring 2022 print issue: Missed Connections.

Much remains uncertain even as many of us are returning to school, work and other aspects of our pre-pandemic patterned lives. While there is both much to cherish and fear in what was once familiar, we cannot help but realize we might have lost in the interim - the relationships we might have built or the ambitions we might have chased.

Therefore, we chose this theme to hear stories about all the possibilities we might have missed while our worlds were on pause. Furthermore, like that corner of the internet that “Missed Connections” inevitably recalls, we would like to evoke that same sense of awkwardness and vulnerability and perhaps, sincere hope. What might be missed may not be forever lost.

Submissions will be open until October 1st, or until we reach our maximum submissions.

We encourage you to check out our past issues online or purchase a copy to become familiar with the magazine.

  • Previously accepted or published work is not eligible. 
  • Please limit your submission to five poems, and wait to hear back from us before submitting again. Poems should be sent in a single document file, with the individual poems separated by page breaks.
  • Please include a title or titles in the Title Box on the submission page.
  • All files must be saved in Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) or PDF format.
  • Simultaneous submissions are welcome, but we ask that you notify us and withdraw the work immediately in the event that it is published elsewhere.
  • We are committed to paying our authors and artists for accepted pieces. Your reading fees help us maintain our Submittable page and operating costs, which we greatly appreciate! Please contact us if you have any difficulty paying this fee. 
  • Writers currently or formerly affiliated with UNLV or Black Mountain Institute are ineligible for consideration or publication.
  • If you have any further questions, please direct them to witness.poetry@unlv.edu or witness.manager@unlv.edu. 
Ends on $10.00 - 25.00
$10.00 - 25.00

***This form has been reopened until we hit 50 more submissions, so don't delay!***

We are currently reading for the 2022 Witness Literary Awards in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. We welcome work that declares and/or demands a new perspective to the everyday condition, and stories that contextualize American experience, highlight issues of global concern, grapple with the relationship between the personal and the political (however defined), and/or keenly observe interior/exterior landscapes. We encourage you to take a look at some of our previous issues before submitting your work to this contest.

One winner in each genre will receive $500 and publication in our 2022 Spring Issue (print.)

Runners-up will receive $250 and publication in a future issue of Witness.

All contest entries will be considered for publication.

Our fiction judge for the 2022 award is Mary South, the author of You Will Never Be Forgotten, which was a finalist for the PEN/Bingham Prize for a Debut Story Collection and longlisted for The Story Prize. Her fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, American Short Fiction, Conjunctions, NOON, Guernica, and elsewhere. She has received support from VCCA, the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, and the Sewanee Writers Conference. A graduate of the MFA program at Columbia University, she lives in New York and is at work on a novel about health care, class, and late-capitalist metamorphosis for Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

Guidelines:

  • Submit one, unpublished, self-contained story (up to 7,000 words) in Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) or PDF format
  • Work should be double-spaced, set in standard 12-point typeface, and include word count on the top/first page
  • Do not include any identifying information on the manuscript itself: all identifying/contact information should appear in your cover letter only. File name also must not include your name/info, only the story title
  • Do not resubmit a previously declined submission unless substantial revisions have been made
  • Entry fee is $10
  • Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but we ask for immediate withdrawal upon acceptance elsewhere
  • Writers associated with the judge, Black Mountain Institute, or UNLV are not eligible 


Thank you for adhering to our guidelines. Please contact us at witness@unlv.edu with any questions you may have.

We look forward to reading your work!

Ends on $10.00 - 25.00
$10.00 - 25.00

We are currently reading for the 2022 Witness Literary Awards in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. We welcome work that declares and/or demands a new perspective to the everyday condition, and stories that contextualize American experience, highlight issues of global concern, grapple with the relationship between the personal and the political (however defined), and/or keenly observe interior/exterior landscapes. We encourage you to take a look at some of our previous issues before submitting your work to this contest.

One winner in each genre will receive $500 and publication in our 2022 Spring Issue (print.)

Runners-up will receive $250 and publication in a future issue of Witness.

All contest entries will be considered for publication.

Our nonfiction judge for the 2022 award is Megan Stielstra, the author of three collections, most recently The Wrong Way To Save Your Life, winner of the 2017 Book of the Year Award from the Chicago Review of Books. Her work appears in the Best American Essays, New York Times, The Believer, Poets & Writers, Longreads, Tin House, and elsewhere. A longtime company member with 2nd Story, she has told stories for National Public Radio, Museum of Contemporary Art, Goodman Theatre, and regularly with The Paper Machete live news magazine at The Green Mill. She is on the MFA faculty at Northwestern University and serves as a mentor editor with The OpEd Project, supporting womens’ voices in public discourse.

Guidelines:

  • Submit one, unpublished, self-contained essay (up to 7,000 words) in Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) or PDF format
  • Work should be double-spaced, set in standard 12-point typeface, and include word count on the top/first page
  • Do not include any identifying information on the manuscript itself: all identifying/contact information should appear in your cover letter only. Filename also must not include your name/info, only the story title.
  • Entry fee is $10
  • Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but we ask for immediate withdrawal upon acceptance elsewhere
  • Writers associated with the judge, Black Mountain Institute, or UNLV are not eligible


Thank you for adhering to our guidelines. Please contact us at witness@unlv.edu with any questions you may have.

We look forward to reading your work!

Ends on $10.00 - 25.00
$10.00 - 25.00

We are currently reading for the 2022 Witness Literary Awards in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. We welcome work that declares and/or demands a new perspective to the everyday condition, and stories that contextualize American experience, highlight issues of global concern, grapple with the relationship between the personal and the political (however defined), and/or keenly observe interior/exterior landscapes. We encourage you to take a look at some of our previous issues before submitting your work to this contest.

One winner in each genre will receive $500 and publication in our 2022 Spring Issue (print.)

Runners-up will receive $250 and publication in a future issue of Witness.

All contest entries will be considered for publication.

Our fiction judge for the 2022 award is Faylita Hicks, the author of HoodWitch, a finalist for the 2020 Lambda Literary Award for Bisexual Poetry, among other accolades. They are the former Editor-in-Chief of Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review and the 2021 Poet-in-Residence of Civil Rights Corps. Their work has been published in American Poetry Review, Longreads, Poetry, Slate, Texas Observer, Yale Review, and others. They have an MFA from Sierra Nevada University and has received fellowships and residencies from Tin House, Lambda Literary, Jack Jones Literary Arts, Broadway Advocacy Coalition, The Dots Between, and the Right of Return USA.

Guidelines:

  • Please submit 1-3 poems in a single Microsoft Word document (.doc, .docx) or PDF file
  • Do not include any identifying information on the manuscript itself: all identifying/contact information should appear in your cover letter only. Filename also must not include your name/info, only the story title.
  • Entry fee is $10
  • Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but we ask for immediate withdrawal upon acceptance elsewhere
  • Writers associated with the judge, Black Mountain Institute, or UNLV are not eligible

We look forward to reading your work! Please contact us at witness@unlv.edu with any questions you may have.

Witness Magazine