Call for Manuscript Submissions


For our Spring/Summer 2020 issue, Words on Play, Nimrod International Journal invites poems, short stories, creative nonfiction pieces, and translations about play.

We love to play, from babies playing peek-a-boo with their parents to adults playing cards to senior citizens enjoying a puzzle. We play board games, word games, sports of all kinds; we create imaginary worlds to play in as children (and sometimes as grown-ups), cosplay as characters from books or movies, spend real money on virtual swords and spells. We play to relax, and we play to deal with the stresses that life inevitably brings. We play because we like to have fun, but we also play because it’s something we need to do (indeed, science increasingly tells us that free play is one of the most vital activities in which children engage). We need to play in order to live our best lives, and it is through play that we sometimes do our best work. Play is, quite simply, important, and in this issue, we wish to celebrate and explore play in all its forms and in the way that it shows us at our most human.

What We Are Seeking:

Here are a few examples of what work submitted for this issue might look like.

· Work that features word play in all its forms, from puns to rhymes. (Note that we’re most drawn to work that features playful yet sophisticated word play, work that has layers to it.)

· Work that features games: board games, sports, video and computer games, role-playing games, and more.

· Work that “plays with” poetic form, i.e., work that bends or otherwise explores sestinas, tankas, sonnets, ghazals, etc.

· Work that features dances, carnivals, music jams, plays themselves, circuses, or other playful spaces and activities.

· Work that confronts and explores serious issues and situations, but through a lens that involves play in one way or another.

· Work that is simply, inherently, playful.

This list is just a start; we hope that you will bring to light additional ideas about play that we have not thought of.

We are excited about this issue, so please send your work and/or share this announcement with writing groups, students, and friends. We hope to receive a large variety of material for this issue, with interpretations of this theme from writers of all backgrounds and publication histories; we especially welcome work from writers of color, writers of marginalized orientations and gender identities, writers of varying socio-economic status, and writers with physical or mental differences. Most of all, we hope to be surprised.

The Specifics:

· Fiction and creative nonfiction may be up to 7,500 words; poetry may be up to 7 pages.

· All work must be previously unpublished.

· Poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction should be sent as separate submissions.

· Work not originally in English must be translated into English. For work in translation, authors are responsible for obtaining permission to reprint any material under copyright that exceeds the guidelines of fair use or does not have a Creative Commons license.

· Prose should be typed, double-spaced with 1” margins on all sides, one side of plain white paper only. Poetry should be typed, one side of plain white paper only, no more than one poem per page.

· For those submitting by mail: Please mark both your cover letter and the outer envelope with “Spring 2020 Theme.” Send a SASE for response. Postal submissions are free.

· For those submitting online: Please submit work online under the theme category . A $3 fee is charged for online submissions to cover the administrative costs associated with those submissions.

· If the online submission fee or the postage to send work by mail will pose a substantial economic burden, writers may seek a waiver of the fee. To seek a waiver, please email us at with your request and reasons for seeking a waiver.

Manuscripts will be accepted beginning February 1, 2019.

Postmark deadline: September 30, 2019

Publication date: April 2020

Payment: $10/printed page with a $200 maximum

Nimrod is a nonprofit literary magazine published in print by The University of Tulsa, with issues appearing twice a year. All contributors to the magazine receive two copies of the issues in which their work appears.

Send postal manuscripts to:

Nimrod Journal
The University of Tulsa
800 S. Tucker Dr.
Tulsa, OK 74104

Submit online at:


Email or call (918) 631-3080