The Columns department is currently not accepting submissions.
Please enjoy reading our retired columns.
The Literary Mama Columns department is unique from other sections of the journal. We like to publish literary experiences and memoir-type columns that make us stop and pay attention. Having a series of well-written, stunning stories about motherhood in all its forms allows a writer to develop a fleshed out voice and a more mature style. Have something to say about motherhood in your life that is more personal than fiction and more prose than poetry? We’re the section for you.
The three essential ingredients to a successful column pitch are a hook, a roadmap, and samples.
First, a hook – What perspective can you offer? We see plenty of not-so-fresh column ideas (of the working-mom-quits-job-turns-stay-at-home-mom-discovers-joys/challenges/heartbreaks-of-parenting variety). We’re eager to publish columns that reflect underrepresented points of view, including those that resist or complicate conventional and/or privileged dominant ideas of what it means to be a mother. We’re especially looking for columns that reflect diverse views–racially, ethnically, sexually, emotionally, physically–you name it. Most of all, we want a story that is uniquely yours–one that you can’t wait to tell, and that we can’t wait to read.
Second, a roadmap – Columns are contracted for six to ten installments. What is your plan for an engaging narrative trajectory that can be sustained over a long period of time?
Third, samples – What is your writing style? We need to read at least two sample installments for your column. Very rarely can the level of necessary planning, pacing, and perseverance that is required of a successful columnist be gleaned from a cover letter, or even from one sample column. Please send the two best, most compelling columns you can write, so we can assess your style, voice, and abilities.
See this blog post from our senior columns editor for more details on the hook, roadmap and samples. Note: some of the details regarding timing and number of installments are out-of-date. Also, this blog post has more tips.