Big Bend Literary Magazine seeks poignant, breathtaking submissions written or created by those deeply affected by the nature, beauty, and culture of the Big Bend region. Big Bend has long inspired and harbored creators.

Submissions are currently open for the Winter 2021 issue, themed "Bright Lights". We want bright lights, the light reflected from snow, playing with lights, festive lights, things that light up the soul, eerie lights, beacons and blazes, all those things that kindle the heart and ignite the spirit. Submissions will close on November 30th. Issue II is set to publish January 1st.

Issue II Curated Collection with Special Guest Editor of Music & Lyrics, Tony Drewry. Tony will be curating songs about the Chihuahuan Desert for an exclusive collection. Songs will be carefully coaxed into poetry for the print edition but showcased in all their audio glory on the electronic publication. Translations for print from Spanish to English are accepted. Submit in 12-pt. single-spaced format. Submit here.

Please refer to the submission guidelines below for all but lyrics for "La Lingua." Specific guidelines may be found in the submission forms. Submissions that do not follow the guidelines will not be considered.

We hope to submit nominations for Pushcart Prizes, Best Small Fictions, Best of the Net, the O. Henry Prize, PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers, Best American Series, Four Quartets Prize, and more.

Submission Guidelines:

  • All works are to be 12-pt. double-spaced, preferably in a doc. format.

  • Under 4500 words per piece

  • Unedited pieces that have not been crafted for publication will not be accepted.

  • DO NOT provide a bio. Cover letters are not necessary, either. We want to read your work blind.

  • Simultaneous submissions are fine. Please indicate if the work has been published and/or let us know if it has been accepted for publication elsewhere.

  • Please indicate your full name within the file name.

  • Creative nonfiction, fiction, essays, book excerpts, reviews, flash fiction, and prose: Submit no more than two pieces. Please wait to hear back from us before submitting new work. Submit here.

  • Poetry: Submit no more than five poems. Please wait to hear back from us before submitting new work. Submit here.

  • Photography and art: Submit no more than five pieces. Please wait to hear back from us before submitting new work. Submit here.

  • Big Bend Literary Magazine retains First North American Serial Rights and First Electronic Rights for all work that it accepts for publication. Upon publication, all rights immediately revert back to the author. We simply ask that any future publications of work that we publish recognize Big Bend Literary Magazine as the original publisher.

  • We may consider previously published works for those local to the Big Bend area ONLY. Please indicate if the work has been previously published, where, and any pertinent information regarding citation for this work. Please also provide a link to the work on the publisher's site. If this is not available, please provide a link to the publisher.

  • Please consider a donation for reading fees, website hosting, and other costs by using the donation button below. Your donation or lack thereof will have no bearing on whether or not your work is published. Unlike many other literary journals, we are not sponsored by a university, foundation, or corporation. In the spirit of Big Bend, we desire to remain a maverick publication, beholden to no other than whoever happens to be masthead at the time. Money may later sponsor awards and prizes for creative works. In order to nominate our contributors for awards, we must pay submission fees to those award contests. The sky is the limit, especially here in Big Bend.

What we are looking for:

  • Any genre of prose or poetry with overtones of the Big Bend region

  • Creative nonfiction - emotional, raw, thoughtful, deep, esthetic

  • Essays on the region or its culture and people

  • Fiction set in the Big Bend region or by a native/local person

  • Diverse voices

  • Photography that is beautiful, clear, unfiltered, artistic, and shows some difficulty or complexity in obtaining the shot

  • Book reviews of works by local authors or works pertaining directly to the Big Bend region

  • Art by local artists or art inspired by the Big Bend region

  • Works that are not a specific category (such as book excerpts) may also be considered

  • Local myths, legends, or stories passed on orally

  • Works that appreciate geology, landscape, nature, desert culture, open spaces, history, etc.

What we are not looking for:

  • Anything overtly political or ranting

  • Generic photographs of the area

  • Children's art or other youth works

  • Spam/multiple submissions outside of the guidelines above

  • Works that do not at all pertain to the Big Bend region or are not by a local/native of the area

  • Works that are not edited and ready for publication

  • Overly filtered or altered photographs

  • Work that could be considered pornographic, overly violent or graphic, or offensive to a specific group/race/gender/etc.

  • Editorials or letters of complaint unless satirical or creative in nature and purpose

Header photograph by Jennifer Pittinger