Readers’ Narratives

One of the great pleasures of editing Narrative is the knowledge that our stories find readers all over the world, that one needs only an Internet connection and a love of the English language to reach us. Coming together over the same stories creates an intimacy otherwise impossible between far-flung strangers. Often we’ve wondered about our readers all over the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Europe, Russia, Asia, the Pacific, Central and South America. We hear from many of you with queries about the magazine, and we’re curious, too, about the world where you are. What’s out the window, down the street, in town or out? What daily experience are you involved in or witnessing that would make a short, compelling read? We invite you to send us a short piece that will tell our readers about your world, or perhaps your state of mind, or heart.

A Reader’s Narrative may take the form of a short personal essay, a dispatch in story form, a reflection or meditation on crucial matters in one’s life (past or present) or in the larger social realm—matters such as questions of friendship, family or of politics, war, or the environment. We intend Readers’ Narratives to illustrate a dramatic turn in life—a moment of trouble or joy, insight, or revelation. And whatever else a Reader’s Narrative does, it should include the element of place—a strong sense of setting and how it shapes the events you’re writing about.

Ideas of place may go beyond geographical location to a time or stage of life; a room or aspects of home; a role within a community; relationships that define a moment; emotional states; physical conditions such as aging, athletic quests or challenges; we encourage you to think creatively about place not only as setting, but also manner of being.

Please note: while the first-person narrator is often most common, we are also seeking pieces that transcend the self-expression observable in the first-person, present-tense memoir. Instead, we are looking for works that demonstrate a sense of proportion and perspective, an engagement with the world beyond the self, manuscripts that offer gifts of omniscient thought or feeling, and insight that enhances a reader’s sense of connection and possibility.

We accept Readers’ Narratives that run up to 1,500 words. Submissions are considered year-round. We do not charge a reading fee for you to submit a narrative, and we do not pay for publication of Readers’ Narratives. We may edit your piece, and if we do, we will go over any changes with you. If your work has been selected, you will hear from us before publication. We are, however, a small staff and regret that we cannot comment on or return unaccepted Readers’ Narratives. Please read the Submission Guidelines for manuscript formatting and other information. We can’t wait to hear from you.

Other Submission Categories: In addition to Readers' Narratives, please review our other Submission Categories for areas that may interest you.