In 2012, the Asian American Writers' Workshop launched a set of online magazines in order to build conversations around cutting-edge ideas in Asian American literature, art, and social justice. Though the aims of our publications are distinct, both of them are committed to the reinvention and advancement of Asian American intellectual culture.
- The Margins is our award-winning magazine of arts and ideas dedicated to charting the rise of the Asian American creative class through essays, interviews, and creative writing.
We publish: 1) original creative writing, whether poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or even interdisciplinary work; 2) essays on literature and politics by sophisticated thinkers who can speak to a general audience about race, gender, sexuality, immigration, postcolonialism, pop culture, and diaspora; 3) reportage about immigrant communities in NYC by narrative storytellers who can set a scene with rich imagery and descriptive detail.
Our stories have been linked to by the Wall Street Journal, the New Inquiry and the New York Times. Our contributors have included Jessica Hagedorn, Hanya Yanagihara, Chang-rae Lee, Bhanu Kapil, Ashok Kondabolu, Jenny Zhang, Katie Kitamura, Hua Hsu, Kim Hyesoon, Alexander Chee, Vijay Iyer, and Yoko Ogawa. See below for ways you can submit your work!
Fortnightly on Fridays, The Margins publishes flash fiction by emerging and established Asian, Asian American, and Asian diasporic writers.
Some of the most fascinating and perhaps strangest and most experimental writing exists in short, finished pieces that were never meant to be novels or full-length stories. Our hope is for the flash fiction we publish to be shared and perhaps read aloud, where flickers of a campfire match the ferocity of the page.
We will accept new submissions for our Flash Fiction series from October 1, 2021, to November 15, 2021. We plan to notify writers by February 1, 2022.
We’re looking for:
- Fiction that announces itself in a compressed and urgent form
- Short fiction that luxuriates in capaciousness and challenges convention
- Auto-fiction, a collection of prose poems, any writing that subverts what “flash fiction” means
- Writing that is not afraid to be humorous, erotic, irreverent, and obscene
- Work that responds to current events and issues or speaks to history
Here are some Dos and Don’ts for your submissions:
- DO submit flash fiction between 500 and 1,000 words in length.
- DO send us your best work. As we often think of flash as the length of a campfire story, we recommend reading your draft aloud to listen to the language as you revise your submission.
- DO title your submission with the title(s) of your stories separated by semicolons.
- DO notify us immediately when a piece has been accepted elsewhere. If you withdraw your submission via Submittable, we will assume that every piece in the document is withdrawn. If you need to withdraw one piece and leave the others, please send an email letting us know what is withdrawn and what is available for consideration.
- DO send a message with an update if you make an error in your submission document, And then, withdraw your submission and re-submit, according to the guidelines. If you have questions, please let us know.
- DON’T submit more than three pieces in the same document and the same submission.
- DON’T send us work that has been published elsewhere.
- DON’T submit more than once in a reading period.
- DON’T submit if we have already published your work in the Flash Fiction series. If you have been published elsewhere in The Margins, we’d love to consider your work. If you have never been published in The Margins, we’d love to consider your work.
Authors whose flash is accepted for publication will receive a writer fee of $120.
We invite you to read an essay by the series editor and works from the series (here and here) to have an idea of what we’ve published so far. We’re also looking to be surprised. We can’t wait to read your flash!
Swati Khurana, Editor
Yi Wei, Assistant Editor
The following call for submissions has been curated by 2021 Margins Fellow Madeleine Mori.
Before pursuing a life of poetry in New York City, I worked for years as an assistant and harvest intern to several wineries in my native California, after graduating with a degree in enology, the science behind winemaking. Each time I open a bottle of wine from the harvests I have worked, its sensorial resonances (aroma, taste, tannin, etc.) feel a little different due to its maturation, and yet I can still sense some of the winemaker’s choices before the wine went into bottle. I can detect, for instance, choices toward its acid content, or if there might be a spicy woodiness from the inclusion of grape stems in the fermentation process. I similarly love when I can sense the associative traces left in a piece of lyrical writing by its maker.
Lyrical writing provides a kind of alchemical prolonging of life to its subject, as wine provides to fruit—both acting as living vessels of the history, memory, and care that their makers put in, and that we, as readers and drinkers, also simultaneously filter through our own personal histories and sense memories. Perhaps it is this slippery, intimate magic that makes lyrical writing and wine seem so difficult to approach, and their industry secrets so closely guarded by the established critics. What assumptions get made by those critics about the “typical” reader or consumer’s taste, identity, education, etc.? And how do those assumptions shape both what writing and wine gets funded, made, and shared widely, and how readers and drinkers perceive their right to their own sensorial truths, languages, and pleasures?
In my undergraduate wine studies as well as in much of my experience working in wineries, I was often one of the only women of color present. Of the few creative works written about wine that I’ve encountered, almost all were written by cis, straight men accepted by the traditional literary canon (Charles Baudelaire’s “The Soul of Wine” W. B. Yeats’s “A Drinking Song,” and Pablo Neruda’s “Ode to Wine” to name a few). With this call for submissions, I seek to take the bit of access I’ve been granted, and build a ladder for new voices and perspectives working at my same intersections of wine and lyrical writing.
For a new notebook on The Margins, we’re looking for original and translated poetry and short prose works by Asian and Asian diasporic writers that center stories, images, and sensations related to the transformative influence of wine. We’re especially interested in writing that experiments and plays with form, including graphic texts, short lyric memoir, and essays. Your submissions might be inspired by the molecular interactions between grape juice, cork, and barrels in the process of winemaking, or center wines like plum, dandelion, or rice wine. You might choose to engage with the adverse contributions of certain viticultural practices and water use to climate change, or acknowledge the colonial or religious imperialist histories of traditional wine regions, as with the spread of Spanish Catholic missionaries throughout what is now the U.S. state of California. Whether your approach is of an educator, maker, seller, enthusiast, and/or as someone with a complicated relationship to alcohol, we are looking for creative writing about wine from a variety of diverse perspectives.
We are not looking for straightforward wine reviews, scientific papers, or broad overviews of the history of winemaking. We’re looking for writing that pushes against the easy evocative gaze of wine as “muse,” wine as “voluptuous” or “seductive,” and especially wine as seen in relation to some concept of an ideal human “body” (i.e. the word “flabby” sometimes used to describe wines lacking in acid, or the “long legs” of alcohol on the inside of a wine glass). We’re looking for writing that also pushes its language beyond gender binaries of “masculine” and “feminine” styles of wine.
Format the title of your submission as follows: “LAST NAME – WINE – TITLE OF PIECE.” Include a short biography of up to 60 words and share why you chose your particular engagement with wine in your cover letter.
Double-space all prose submissions and limit them to approximately 2,000 words (though you may write as short as you like). You may send us up to three poems per submission. We accept Rich Text Format, MS Word, or PDF formats. For graphic work, please submit with enough detail that we can read the text in JPG, GIF, PNG, or PDF format. Do not include your name on the attachments of your submissions.
We accept simultaneous submissions, but please let us know if your work has been accepted elsewhere. Writers whose pieces are accepted will receive compensation.
The following pieces offer some models for ways to engage with the types of perspectives sought by this call:
“It’s Time To Decolonize Wine” by Miguel de Leon
“Stag’s Leap” by Sharon Olds
“Red Rice Wine: Chinatown’s Artisanal Homebrew” by Anelise Chen
“Fish Paste” by Nay Saysourinho
“Trust Me” by Yuxi Lin
AAWW is an organization that believes in the power of art to advocate for and center the voices and ideas on the margins. Our award-winning digital magazine, The Margins, publishes work by Asian, Asian American, and Asian diasporic writers (including but not limited to East Asian, Southeast Asian, South Asian, MENA [Middle Eastern and North African], Indo-Caribbean, Central Asian, Arab, and Arabophone, Pacific Islander, and Iranian writers) as well as multiracial writers. The Margins publishes Black, Latinx, and Indigenous writers. We welcome work from LGBTQIA, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming writers. Our work exists within the intersections of these identities and offers a new countercultural space in which to imagine a more just future.