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 magazine of arts and ideas dedicated to charting the rise of the Asian American creative class through essays, interviews, and creative writing.
  • Open City is our narrative journalism magazine that seeks to tell the stories of Asian American neighborhoods, primarily in New York.

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!

Please note that on November 30, 2020 at 11:59 pm EDT we are closing Flash Fiction submissions to The Margins to give our editors a short break. But don't fret—we will reopen submissions in the Spring of 2021.

Submit Flash Fiction 

Fortnightly on Fridays, the Margins will begin publishing 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, perhaps read aloud, where flickers of campfire match the ferocity of the page.

We will be accepting submissions for our Flash Fiction series through November 30, 2020. 

We’re looking for flash fiction that:

  • announces itself urgently
  • luxuriates in capaciousness and compression
  • challenges convention and subverts forms 
  • is not afraid to be humorous, dirty, irreverent, and obscene
  • responds to current events and issues or speaks to history


  • Each flash piece must be between 500 and 1,000 words in length. 
  • Multiple pieces may be submitted in the same document; but please send us no more than three pieces to consider at a time.
  • We welcome simultaneous submissions (when you send the same piece to us and other publications), but please notify us immediately when a piece has been accepted elsewhere. 
  • While the reading period is open, notification can be up to 90 days. If you have not heard back after three months, feel free to contact the editor.

This introductory essay by The Margins' Flash Fiction editor Swati Khurana offers inspirations and aspirations for this flash Fiction series.

Call for Submissions: A World Without Cages

Extended deadline: We will accept submissions on an ongoing basis until December 1, 2020.

“Imagine those tens of millions of years that were taken, woven back into society. If our lives are made up of moments and memories, how much could the people of this world benefit, having those moments intact for eons, alongside all the failures, emotional lessons, and worlds that they gestate? If this was a science fiction story, the twist might be that some species out in space implemented this thinking long ago, created a more heartfelt ecosystem than ours, perhaps evolved a society that, from a distance, now gazes at our own from some distant galactic heaven, looking to guide us home.”   Roshan Abraham, “For Future People: Reflections on Imprisonment

“What if abolition isn’t a shattering thing, not a crashing thing, not a wrecking ball event? What if abolition is something that sprouts out of the wet places in our eyes, the broken places in our skin, the waiting places in our palms, the tremble holding in my mouth when I turn to you? What if abolition is something that grows?” Alexis Pauline Gumbs


We’re eager to see a variety of forms of writing and art that imagine the end of mass incarceration and immigrant detention: creative essays, nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and visual storytelling, including artwork, graphic illustrations, and comics. We are looking for fantasies, dreams, memories, experiments, and explorations. This might include poems on movement and mobility; visionary fiction speculating on future worlds and alternate realities; or a visual essay on how people grow and tend to a community space together. We want to know: What does safety feel and look like without the carceral system? How do we imagine repair after rupture? How do our relationships with one another transform? How do our histories rewrite and reimagine our futures?

We are seeking pieces by writers that demonstrate thoughtfulness and care around their relationships between sites and systems of violence. We prioritize contributions by writers with direct experiences with the carceral system.

Previous contributions to a World Without Cages have included a comic about two men who play Dungeons and Dragons inside Auburn Correctional facility; poems themed around purgatory and the underworld; memories and letters sent to past selves; and letters exchanged between two women, one on the inside and one on the outside, as a glimpse of their burgeoning friendship and intimacy. 

Written submissions should be 3000 words maximum, though we welcome shorter submissions. You may include up to 5 poems per submission.

What to include:

  • Please format the title of your submission as follows: “LAST NAME – World Without Cages – TITLE OF PIECE.”
  • Be sure to include a short biography (maximum 100 words).
  • In addition to your piece, please submit a cover letter and tell us a little bit about why you chose your particular interpretation of the theme, how the submitted work relates to this specific call, and how you connect to this theme as an author. Feel free to respond in a way that aligns with the aims of your work (maximum 300 words)

We can pay an honorarium to all contributors whose work is accepted and will mail copies to contributors who are incarcerated. We may contact some contributors with an offer of writing mentorship. 

A World Without Cages will appear in the online magazine, The Margins, run by the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, and may be collected in printed portfolios. We want to highlight work including—but not limited to!—Asian Americans.

Every Tuesday, the Margins publishes the work of emerging and established Asian American poets. We accept submissions for our Poetry Tuesday feature. Please allow at least five weeks for a response.

We’re looking for:
  • Poetry that challenges/subverts convention (in both poetry and society)
  • Poetry that is not afraid to be humorous, dirty, and obscene
  • Poetry that explores history
  • Poetry that responds to current events and issues
  • Translations of poetry (given the submitter explains that he/she/they has/have acquired the rights to publish them, along with the originals)


  • Poems need not be a specific length/form/style (e.g. long, short, formal, free verse, erasure)
  • Submissions should be no longer than six pages total. Multiple poems may be submitted in the same document.
Asian American Writers' Workshop