Written by Ella Peary

Bluestem: Now Seeking Submissions

UPDATE: As of March 30th, their website is working again. Their Submittable is capped at 200 submissions per genre per month. They reached these caps and are now closed, but plan to reopen in the summer.

Bluestem is a well-established online journal produced by the English Department of Eastern Illinois University. While they publish writers from around the world, they’re rooted in a Midwestern identity: “…we thrive on the prairie.” A highly selective journal, Bluestem has published authors who’ve won the Pushcart Prize, the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, and more.

Bluestem has been published since 1966. While previously published in print, the journal is now produced in three electronic editions per year. Each thoughtfully designed online issue features poetry, fiction, and nonfiction from around a dozen contributors. You can read the journal online to get a sense of what they publish. And, to find out more about what the editor-in-chief of Bluestem is looking for, you can read her interview with Duotrope here.

Although Bluestem was on hiatus during the pandemic, they are now seeking submissions through April 2nd. Poets may submit three to five poems. Authors of fiction or nonfiction may submit one piece, 5,000 words or fewer. Bluestem also accepts flash writing. Authors of flash fiction or nonfiction may submit up to three pieces.

Bluestem accepts submissions online using Submittable, not via email or by post. They accept simultaneous submissions but ask that authors withdraw work published elsewhere. They do not accept previously published work. Although Bluestem is not charging a fee to submit during this reading period, they sometimes do.

Bluestem only accepts submissions that adhere to the guidelines they’ve posted online. Please read these guidelines in full before submitting.

If you would like to learn more or submit to Bluestem, please visit their website here.


Bio: Ella Peary is the pen name for an author, editor, creative writing mentor, and submission consultant. Over the past five years, she’s written hundreds of articles for Authors Publish, and she’s also served as a copywriter and copy editor for a wide range of organizations and individuals. She is the author of The Quick Start Guide to Flash Fiction. She occasionally teaches a course on flash fiction. You can contact her at ellapeary@gmail.com.

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