Note: For information and guidelines on the 2020 Undergraduate Student Essay Writing Contest, which will be open for submissions from January 15 to March 15, click here.


The editors of Deep Wild Journal: Writing from the Backcountry are accepting submissions for Volume 2, to be published in June 2020. We are seeking work that conjures the experiences, observations, and insights of backcountry journeys. By “backcountry,” we mean away from paved roads, preferably more than a day’s journey by foot, skis, snowshoes, kayak, canoe, horse, or any other non-motorized means of conveyance. Work that does not fall within this backcountry spectrum, however excellent it might be, is not a good fit for us.

We are open to a wide spectrum of carefully-crafted work, both personal and political (however you construe that word). We invite you to send up to three poems or one or more prose pieces (creative nonfiction or fiction), up to about 3,000 words total. We will consider longer prose pieces of exceptional merit. We are also looking for artwork for the cover and interior pages. (See specific Art Guidelines.)

The deadline for poetry submissions is December 31, and for prose and art submission, January 31.Our Submittable platform currently allows us to accept up to one hundred submissions per calendar month and no more. Thus, the earlier you can send us your work in any given month, the better your chances that it will be received. If you miss us one month, catch us at the start of the next! Please do not send manuscripts via email or US mail.

We encourage you to familiarize yourself with the work published in our Summer 2019 issue. Visit to subscribe, or to read selections published on our blog. For student rates, inquire at

  • Specific Fiction Guidelines: We like gritty realism. Please no magic, vampires, elves or aliens. Looking, perhaps, for a contemporary Jack (or Jacqueline) London.
  • Specific Nonfiction Guidelines: Give us the intimate detail of particular experience. Aim to convey connections to the world you are passing through. Conjure if you can the experience of being there.
  • Specific Poetry Guidelines: Send us poetry that resonates with the heartbeat of wilderness. We want poems that speak to us on a cellular level. Inspire us.
  • Specific Art Guidelines: We seek original artwork for both the cover and interior pages. Submit 1-3 color images for the cover or up to 8 black and white images of your artwork for the interior pages. We are also happy to consider graphic art and illustrated trail journals. At this time we are not accepting photographs.​

Previously published work is welcome, so long as the rights are yours. Please identify as such in your cover letter, and be prepared to provide proof of permission. If your work is selected, we ask for the right to publish it in our print journal and also possibly on-line. You retain all rights to your work.

Simultaneous submissions are fine, but please let us know at once, via Submittable, if your work is accepted elsewhere and is no longer available.

Response time: We will strive to respond to all submissions within four months after our submissions window closes (and often much sooner). If you do not hear from us after that time, feel free to query us.

Payment: Contributors will receive one copy of the journal in which their work appears, and a 40% discount on additional copies.


  • Please submit only once in any open-reading period. To be clear, this means you may submit work in one of the three categories: Poetry, Fiction, or Nonfiction. If your work is declined, please wait until our next reading cycle before submitting again.
  • Please submit all poems/essays/stories together in one document on a single submission form. All the work you submit must be contained in a single computer file. Artwork may be submitted in multiple files, so long as it is on a single submission form.
  • Submissions cannot be revised after you press <send>. Do not withdraw and resubmit a different version; if you do so, your work will be returned unread. Be assured that a few typos or minor errors will not affect our decision.
  • Do not include any contact information in the file that you submit. Your name and contact info will be included in the Submittable fields. This will make it easier for us to read fairly.
  • Formatting guidelines: Please double-space prose and single-space poetry. Please indicate paragraph breaks by indenting, not by skipping a line (although an extra space to indicate section breaks is fine). Please put only one space after periods at the ends of sentences.

To submit, click on this image: DW sticker

Thank you in advance for the privilege of considering your work.