Ninth Letter Print Edition Submissions

Ninth Letter is currently open for submissions to our print edition until Feb 28, 2024! Ninth Letter is published semi-annually in print at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. We are interested in prose and poetry that experiment with form, narrative, and nontraditional subject matter, as well as more traditional literary work. To make life easier for everyone, including yourself, please adhere to the following guidelines when submitting your work.

We do not accept previously published work, including self-published work on websites, blogs, etc. Simultaneous submissions are okay as long as they are identified as such in a cover letter. Please send a message withdrawing your poem(s) immediately upon acceptance elsewhere. Please only send only one submission per genre at a time. We ask that previous contributors wait three years from your publication date before submitting again. 

We accept electronic submissions via Submittable. We do not accept submissions by email attachment–email submissions will not be read.

Please note our fee schedule as follows:

August, September, and October: $3.00 per submission

December: no submission fee required (300 submission cap per genre)

January and February: $3.00 per submission

General Print Submission Guidelines

For poetry, please submit 3-5 poems (max. 8 pages) at a time.

For fiction and creative nonfiction, submit one story or essay up to 8,000 words at a time. For flash, you may submit up to 3 pieces with a total word count totaling no more than 4,000 words.

Submission Fee:

We charge a $3 reading fee to pay for Submittable and to contribute to our author payments. Fees are waived from December 1 – December 31, or until we hit our cap of 300 submissions per genre.

Fee Waivers:

A limited number of fee waivers are available for writers for whom the submission fee would present undue financial hardship. Please email to request a fee waiver.

Publication Terms & Payment:

Ninth Letter pays $25 per poem and $100 for prose upon publication and two complementary copies of the issue in which the work appears. Ninth Letter acquires First North American Serial Rights (FNASR). We ask that you acknowledge Ninth Letter upon reprint of your work.

Response Time:

We strive to respond to your submission within 16 weeks. Please wait until that time has elapsed before querying about the status of your submission.

Web Edition Submissions

General Guidelines: Ninth Letter is open for submissions for our Spring/Summer 2024 web edition from Jan 22, 2024 – Mar 31, 2024. There is no submission fee for web edition submissions.

You may submit up to three poems or one piece of short prose up to 3500 words. Please also include a cover letter that briefly explains how you see your work connecting to the current theme.

Please do not send submissions via email–they will not be read. Submissions sent via snail mail or submitted to the general call for print submissions will not be considered for the online themed issue.

Unless otherwise requested, please only submit once per reading period.

All submitted work should be original and unpublished. Work published on personal blogs and social media are considered previously published and are ineligible for publication.

Ninth Letter acquires First North American Serial Rights (FNASR) only. All work remains under ownership of the author.

Payment: $25/poem; $75/prose and a discounted subscription offer for Ninth Letter’s print edition.

Theme: Caretaking

To define Caretaking, to our mind, as being separate from but not exclusive to love: sometimes we find our way to it, but other times we are chosen to take it on.

Send us fiction, poems and essays that capture and navigate practices of care for others. This call for submissions is not limited to care for people, but for care of anything other than ourselves. We want pieces that show both caretakers and cared for in a variety of settings and circumstances – through difficulties and successes. 

We want stories and essays that begin or conclude a caretaker’s watch. We want characters and speakers as family and as parents and as children and as friends, but also as cultivators and shepherds, guardians and forward scouts, LPNs and educators. Or as any caregiver or cared for not imagined here. 

We encourage poems to move beyond the internalized and self-important, and to find shared moments of experience with others that express any of the complexities – the ups and downs – of care.

USPS Submissions

Ninth Letter also accepts mailed submission at no charge. USPS submissions should be addressed to the appropriate editor. 

Fiction Editor, Poetry Editor, or Nonfiction Editor
Ninth Letter
University of Illinois Department of English
608 South Wright St.
Urbana, IL 61801

Please include your name and contact information on the first page of your manuscript; cover letters are optional. All mailed submissions must include an SASE for reply; we recommend a stamped business-sized envelope. If you wish to have your manuscript returned, you must include adequate postage and a properly sized envelope, and indicate such in your cover letter. We will recycle all unreturned manuscripts.

You should hear from us regarding your submission within 16 weeks; if you haven’t heard from us in that time you are welcome to query about the status of your manuscript at

We can only review two submissions per author per reading period; if you have submitted twice before the end of the reading period, please do not submit again unless solicited to do so by an editor.