Our roadtrip across America returns with a trek through Arkansas! From Little Rock to Fayetteville, Melissa Bandy takes us on a tour of Arkansas’s premier literary outlets.
Welcome to Arkansas, the state that brought you Walmart, Bill Clinton, and cheese dip. Literary offerings are small but mighty in The Natural State, attracting authors from the Southern region and across the globe.
The Arkansas International may be housed at the University of Arkansas, but it has an international reach, with a goal of putting “emerging and established authors from across the world in conversation with one another.” Arkansas International has a global roster of writers of fiction, essays, poetry, comics, and works in translation. Its aim is to find worldwide representation not just geographically but also in the variety of human experience and identity. Watch for information about its Emerging Writer’s Prize in the fall and its C.D. Wright Emerging Poet’s Prize in the spring, both for authors who haven’t published full-length works. Submissions are currently closed, but be ready to submit through Submittable to the themed Body Issue, open from August 20 until November 20 and general submissions from January 20 until April 20. The submission fee is waived for BIPOC authors and those with limited financial means.
Arkansas Review: A Journal of Delta Studies focuses on the Mississippi River Delta, which includes all or a portion of seven states: the southern half of Missouri, the southern third of Illinois, the western third of Kentucky, the western half of Tennessee, and all of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas. Housed at Arkansas State University, Arkansas Review accepts scholarly contributions from all of the humanities and social sciences, as well as creative non-fiction, fiction, poetry, and visual art, as long as it “evokes or responds to the Delta cultural and natural experience.” Non-Delta work will not be considered. Arkansas Review publishes three times a year, and creative materials can be submitted through Submittable, without any fees (academic articles are submitted separately).
With five issues under its belt, Hive Avenue is the youngest journal on this list. This student-run publication at Northwest Arkansas Community College, accepts poetry, fiction, visual art, creative nonfiction, and drama from Northwest Arkansas and beyond. Hive Avenue strives “to promote communication, connection, and the feeling of community in a disconnected world.” Committed to diversity and inclusion and being open to all creatives, Hive Avenue wants your work regardless of theme. The submission window for volume VI opens on Submittable in August. Time it right, as the $2 submission fee is waived for the first 100 submissions each month.
This award-winning publication has been around since 1971 and is edited and staffed entirely by students at Arkansas Tech University. Nebo: A Literary Journal, which accepts fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, art, and photography, is a great spot for your shorter works, as the wordcount for fiction and nonfiction is capped at 2,000 words. Published two times a year, Nebo’s annual submission window is August 15 through January 31. You can submit via email or even by mailing (!) a hard copy, and Nebo is the rare publication that accepts reprints from other journals.
The Oxford American: A Magazine of the South recently celebrated its thirtieth anniversary in print. Begun in Oxford, Mississippi with early support from John Grisham (A Painted House was first serialized in its pages), The Oxford American is now housed at the University of Central Arkansas. The enticing, glossy magazine comes out quarterly. Its November issue is always its Southern Music Issue, and recent themed issues have centered around food, literature, and place. But The Oxford American has more to offer than what is between its pages. Be sure to check out the magazine’s online content, upcoming live events (both online and throughout the region), its Points South podcast featuring “thought-provoking stories and music from the South,” and its Instagram, an attractive ode to Southern culture. Submit fiction and nonfiction work through Submittable, with a $3 processing fee.
by Melissa Bandy