General Submission Guidelines


Annually, we are open for submissions from May 1 - January 1

From January 2 - April 30 we charge a small reading fee for each submission. If we reach our submission limit in the months of May through December, this fee will be reinstated until the first of the following month.

We understand that the Midwest is often a cloudy term. Most importantly, we understand that it has many layers, not just one cabin on a lake, forests and farmlands, and cheese curds—though we do love cheese. The Midwest extends past state lines, past a single experience. It is not a singular feeling, a singular perspective, not just where our editors are from or where they’ve been. It’s not just rural life, but also sprawling, diverse, and multicultural cities. It rusts and burns and glows. It brings us joy and breaks our hearts. It is not always right. We understand there’s a lot at stake here and the Midwest experience extends into other spaces like the Great Lakes and the Northwestern parts of the United States. It travels with us anywhere in the world.

It’s easy to get caught up in classic portrayals of the Midwest, movies and shows like Fargo, Happy Days, and That 70’s Show, and the list goes on. And while many of these shows are funny, complex, and thrilling, they can often times make it seem like only one experience exists here. Often times, this can disservice many of the everyday experiences in the Midwest, specifically people and communities often already under-represented. At Up North Lit, we are committed to making space for these voices and perspectives.

Care and attention are required when representing a place rich with diverse walks of life, and we are committed to doing everything we can to get this right. We welcome your best work. We can’t wait to encounter something that adds another layer to this already layered place.


We welcome fiction and nonfiction submissions up to 4,000 words. We welcome more than one story or essay if the total submission is under 4,000 words. 


We welcome poetry submissions of up to 3-6 poems (no longer than 10 pages).  Please make sure every new poem appears on a new page.

Art and Photography:

We also consider all forms of art and photography. We ask that artists submit no more than five images for our perusal. 

Notes on Submissions: 

Submissions are free year round. However, our Up North Poetry Prize carries a $10 reading fee. 

If you are submitting multiple pieces, please put them together in one Microsoft Word file. 

Simultaneous submissions are welcome, provided we are notified in the event that a piece is accepted elsewhere.

Submitting in multiple genres is fine, but please do not resubmit in the same genre until you have heard back from us about previous submission.

Where and How to Send

We accept electronic submissions only, via the Submittable link below.

Please include a cover letter and a short biographical note.