Friends Journal welcomes articles, poetry, art, photographs, and letters from our readers. We are also helped by your comments and questions. We are an independent magazine serving the entire Religious Society of Friends. Our mission is “to communicate Quaker experience in order to connect and deepen spiritual lives,” which allows for a variety of viewpoints and subject matter. We welcome submissions from Friends and non-Friends alike.
Read our full editorial guidelines and learn about the different types of articles we publish on our Submissions Page.
Upcoming General Submissions Deadlines:
- July 19, 2021 (October issue)
- August 23, 2021 (November issue)
- November 22, 2021 (February issue)
Many issues of Friends Journal are set aside for specific themes. Every 18 months or so we poll readers and dream up ideas for future issues (you can see the current list on our submissions page).
We also keep five issues a year open: no theme and no expectations. Most of our unsolicited articles go into a “General Submissions” list that we hold for these issues. Sometimes a choice is easy: we’ll get a blockbuster article that we know we just have to print. But just as often we’ll run some quiet piece of Quaker life that is offered to us without regard to our schedules.
The first bit of advice is to give our editorial submission guidelines a good once-over. The introduction to what we’re looking for is instructive.
We prefer articles written in a fresh, non‐academic style. Friends value an experiential approach to life and religious thought. Our readers particularly value articles on: exploring Friends’ testimonies and beliefs; integrating faith, work, and home lives; historical and contemporary Friends; social concerns and actions; and the variety of beliefs across the branches of Friends.
You should also study our tips for writing for Friends Journal. This is our list of the most-common pitfalls for incoming submissions—problems like length, structure, and tone.
The next thing to ask when writing or pitching an article to us is “why Friends Journal?” There are very few places where someone can write on the Quaker experience and see their work published. This scarcity weighs on us as we select an open issue’s mix. Authors don’t need to be Quaker, but the piece should have a strong Quaker hook. We’re not above doing a control-F on a submission to see how many times “Quaker” or “Friends” is mentioned. If it’s just a tacked-on reference because you’re shopping a piece written for another publication, it probably won’t work for us.
When you’re ready to send us something, please use the Submittable service so that we will have all of your information on file. “General Submissions” is the category for material that we consider for non-themed issues.
Link to share: Writing for General Submissions
Please note: All poetry should be submitted separately here.
For this special issue, we're seeking short stories from 500-2000 words, and flash fiction of less than 500 words.
We are using “Speculative Fiction” in a broad sense, to describe stories from a range of genres where the story turns on elements that are not observably true of the world we live in: science fiction, fantasy, and alternate history, as well as horror and romance stories with fantastic or science fictional elements. Speculative fiction asks, “how would the world and the way we live in it be different if X were true?” and examines that question using fiction as a lens.
Quaker Speculative Fiction asks, “how would the world and the way Quakers live in it be different if X were true?”
A note on religious elements:
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) is a diverse community with a wide range of beliefs. For the purposes of this special issue, we do not consider stories about people experiencing God or the Divine to be speculative. We do consider stories with religious elements to be speculative, however, if they are set in a world where the divine element is observably real and not considered a matter of belief.
A person having a prayer answered or giving an accurate tarot reading would not be speculative fiction for our purposes. If, however, the story involves a person encountering a corporeal angel while standing in line for coffee, that would qualify. Bonus points if it’s one of the terrifying angels from Ezekiel and the barista has written the wrong name on their cup.
What are we looking for?
We’re seeking stories of Quakers and their experiences outside of what is true of the world we inhabit today. Quakers on interstellar voyages. Quakers in neon-lit dystopic (or utopic!) futures. Quakers in worlds with magicians, wizards, werewolves, and things that go bump in the night. Quakers in cities with superheroes and villains. Quakers in a past that never was.
We welcome submissions from Friends and non-Friends alike.
While we’re casting a wide net with “Quaker Speculative Fiction,” we’re not the right market for erotica or extreme horror. We are also not a market for fanfiction or other works that use other folks’ intellectual property.
We are a queer-affirming publication and will not be accepting any work based in homophobia, transphobia, or general racism, sexism, bigotry, or fascism.
- Submission length: 500-2000 words
- We are using an anonymous review process. You should ensure your manuscripts are prepared in a way that does not reveal your identity. Please remove author names and contact information from the manuscript and filename.
- For the November issue we're using a slightly modified version of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) Model Magazine Contract, Version 3.1.
- Pay: $0.08/word (SFWA pro)
Our December 2021 issue will look at "Language of Faith." How do a people most renowned for our silence actually go about talking about spiritual insights?
Some ideas we’re considering:
- We’ve accumulated a lot of peculiar Quaker jargon over the years. When is it helpful to have our own language to discuss process and organization, and when is it just confusing to potential newcomers? When might a fluency in Quaker lingo simply mark insiders vs. outsiders and limit the sharing of important spiritual truths?
- Many North American Friends have advanced educations, and our language and vocabulary often reflect that. When is it important to simplify language, i.e., to attempt to reach a wider audience by writing for, say, someone with an eighth-grade education? What spiritual truths are unveiled when we simplify language? Which ones might be oversimplified or obscured?
- How has our language changed over time? A typical page of a classic Quaker journal might have half a dozen biblical references, while today we use "the Light" and "the Spirit" (or lately just "Spirit" without a definite article) to do a lot of heavy lifting. When are particular metaphors helpful, and when might they be obscure, or even off putting?
- Cultural awareness and sensitivity in language. This could include subjects such as gendered language and the sharing of pronouns; the avoidance of metaphors arising from disabilities, such as “blind”; evolving language that has taken on different meanings from those we intended, such as the use of “overseer” as a role in meeting. An article could also touch on linguistic prejudice, the use of non-standard English in writing, or accents in spoken words.
We can look at the literal languages of our faith: an English religious tradition is now practiced in many non-English-speaking areas. How does our Quaker language flex across different spoken languages? (Note: we had an issue on Quakers in Translation a year ago.)
Due October 18, 2021.
Due December 20, 2021
Due March 21, 2022