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Lit Mag Spotlight: Nimrod International Journal

Nimrod_NEWIt’s the last full month of summer, and we’re shining our Lit Mag Spotlight on the renowned Nimrod International Journal. Run out of the University of Tulsa and in print since 1956 (!!), Nimrod aims to publish new and well-known writers alike from all walks of life and all corners of the globe. Read a little about their mission, what makes them cringe, and why you should subscribe (or keep subscribing)! Enjoy!

CONTEST: Leave a comment on this blog post by September 3 to enter to win a one-year subscription to Nimrod!

Give us the lowdown on your journal’s mission.

Nimrod’s mission is, first and foremost, the discovery of new writers. While we enjoy publishing well-known writers like Ted Kooser and Linda Pastan, we are dedicated to discovering new writers and helping them break into the publishing world. Additionally, we strive to bring the work of writers from abroad to the attention of U.S. readers. We’ve published issues focusing on Arabic, Indian, Native American, Chinese, and Australian writing, just to name a few. 

Describe your ideal submission in 15 words or less.

One that is both universal and unique—and that surprises us.

Tell us about a piece you recently published that got the staff really excited. Why did you love it? Why did it strike a chord?

In our fall 2013 issue, we published a story called “Angel in Glasgow” by Sandra Hunter. It follows a displaced young immigrant living on the streets in Glasgow. It’s a complex story, both in its subject matter and also in its style—definitely among the more unique fiction pieces we’ve received recently. And though it plays with style, it never feels overblown. The style feels organic to the main character and the strange twists her life has taken.

Regarding submissions: What’s the most common turnoff that you encounter (in terms of craft)?

For poetry: Pretension. We get many poems that feel overly self-important, which takes our attention away from good language, interesting subjects, etc.

For fiction: Not knowing where to start a story. We see many stories that don’t really get off the ground until page seven or eight, and by then it is too late to engage the reader.   

What’s the most common oversight (in terms of submission guidelines)?

We get two quite commonly—writers living in the U.S. sending in their work by email (we only accept e-submissions from writers outside the country) and writers sending in previously published work (we only print unpublished work). Basically, make sure that you read all the submission guidelines of a journal before sending out work. Journals do their best to be clear about what they want, and not following the rules just wastes your time and theirs.

Why is your journal awesome?

Since Nimrod’s beginning, we’ve published writers at the start of their careers who have gone on to become household names: Sue Monk Kidd, S. E. Hinton, Linda Pastan, and William Stafford, just to name a few. In other words, we have a great track record of discovering amazing writers! Additionally, our spring thematic issues ensure that we’re constantly showcasing unique, thought-provoking, and fun poetry and fiction on a variety of subjects: from retellings of myths and fairy tales, to work by writers aged 57 and over, to sports in literature.

Where can readers find your submission guidelines?


What’s an often overlooked piece of advice to writers wanting to be published in literary magazines?

Read a copy of the magazine before you submit. If possible, purchase a copy before you submit your work. That will help you determine if the journal is a good fit for your work and it will support the journal, most of which are run on shoestring budgets. Submitting blind may be less work, but it’s not nearly as effective—and without support, literary magazines fail, leading to fewer places to publish your work overall.

Follow Nimrod on Facebook!

CONTEST: Leave a comment on this blog post by September 3 to enter to win a one-year subscription to Nimrod!

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