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 20th-December 1st: Spring issue (print.) We also open our call for the Witness Literary Awards during this reading period.
  • January 20th-May 1st: Fall/Winter issue (online.)

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!


March 1st until we reach capacity - Please check forms carefully to be sure you are submitting to the correct category.

***Paid submissions for Fiction & Nonfiction are currently closed while our editors and readers catch up with early responses. Thank you for your patience, and look for us again soon!!***

Poet's Playlist 

Poet's Playlist Edition: Special Issue

For poems with a song stuck in their heads

Witness is pleased to announce a special capsule issue for poets this summer: the Poet's Playlist Edition! This zine-sized issue invites poets to engage with music--the energy, the experience, the people who make it. 

Send us the poem about: The band that changed your life. The song that carries with it the era in which it first found you. Performance. The album sleeve burned into your memory. A record store you worked at. Sound. That melody that always finds you, or that you never want to hear again. Sing to us the technology you still hold dear: AM radio, LP’s, cassette tapes (cassingles!), 8-tracks, CD’s, iPods. The music that made you.

We are listening.


To get an idea of what we love, you are encouraged you to check out our past issues, available online. 

Please note we are only accepting poems this reading period. Submissions will be open until August 1st, or until we reach our maximum number of submissions.

  • Previously accepted or published work is not eligible.
  • You may submit up to five poems in a single document file, with the individual poems separated by page breaks. We ask that you wait for our response during this reading period before submitting any additional poems.
  • 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.

Thank you for your careful attention to these guidelines. We look forward to reading your work!
If you have any questions, please direct them to witness.poetry@unlv.edu or witness.community@unlv.edu.

Ends on $3.00


Witness is currently seeking cover art for our Fall/Winter Issue. 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 an experience.

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 September 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 2021 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 Magazine