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 for Issue Four: Rain Dance will open May 23, 2022 to close July 1. Our desert is thirsty. The rivers run dry. We wait for the monsoons without patience, leave windows open, laundry on the line, wash our cars, and dare the sky to carry a thunderhead across the Chisos onto the floodplains. At the slightest drop, we pause, breathe the air for a hint of rain, and call to each other, “I felt it! The rain is here!” This day has not yet come. The canyons are walkable. The draws are dusty. We pray to ancient and modern gods alike to cure this world of drought. Let us rain dance together and celebrate every drop given and received.

We 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.

  • DO NOT submit works that contain more than one type of submission (i.e. creative nonfiction with photography, poetry with art, etc.) Submit each work seperately.

  • 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.

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

  • Creative nonfiction, reviews, articles, and other nonfiction: Submit no more than two pieces. Please wait to hear back from us before submitting new work.

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

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

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

  • Music & Lyrics: Songs will be carefully coaxed into poetry for the print edition but showcased in all their audio glory oin the electronic publication. Translations for print from Spanish to English are accepted. Submit in 12-pt. single-spaced format.

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

  • 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 Matt Baker