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Deadline: April 1, 2024, 11:59 p.m. EST


In collaboration with The Cloudscent Journal, The Renaissance Review, and Rewrite the Stars Review.

Take us home, show us your truth.

What tales have you devoured impatiently by the hearth on a long winter night, whispered in hushed tones by your elders, lest the unspeakable horrors assume flesh and blood to lure you out of your bed? Or perhaps your stories speak of morals and wisdom belonging to otherworldly beings that somehow found themselves beguiled by earthlyu captivities. Maybe the villain of your folktales isn't quite the antagonist as per modern standards — a growth in your vision allowing you to see that the knocks on your window weren't borne from malicious intent but the naivety of an unaging spirit. The ghosts stealing bread from street vendors do not wish to cause chaos as much as they wish to satiate their undying hunger. The witches in the tropical forests sacrifice men, yes, but only because the men are not as virtuous as they claim to be. Tell us about the colours of your folktales; the land from which they were birthed, the figures that weave through these renditions and ascend to folklore, how they have fared against the turning of time. Offer a different, unique perspective.

Look beyond what they were when you first heard of them — tell us what you see, give us your truth.

Contestants are welcome to submit to the poetry and prose categories from which we will be selecting three winners each. The prizes to be won are as follows:​

  • Document with detailed review from initial submission reader(s) and brief communication regarding the piece from the guest judge.

  • Expedited submission tickets to all four magazines. Tickets can be individually attached to submissions sent to teh respective magazines for any of their ongoing submission calls and this will guarantee their response of acceptance or rejection, or any other communication forthwith, within the period of a business week. Each ticket may be used only once within its period of validity. Note that using a ticket does not ascertain acceptance of the submission to any magazine.

  • Publication in participating magazines. We strongly hold the opinion that art is subjective and thus cannot be ranked definitively, and so the magazines will choose to publish from the six pieces whichever's core they discover to be most befitting their mission. The magazines may also choose to individually feature and interview their chosen creatives.

  • Cash prize. Additionally, first place winners in both categories can expect to recieve a cash prize of $20.

  • A winners' booklet will be published two months after the contest has concluded. This will contain all six winning entries. 

guest judges

Ausma Zehanat Khan is the author of Blood Betrayal, the second instalment of the Blackwater Falls crime series published by Minotaur Books which was 2023 Nero Awards Finalist; The Unquiet Dead, published by St. Martin's Press/Minotaur Books, the winner of the Barry Award, the Arthur Ellis Award and the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best First Novel, as well as a 2016 Macavity Award finalist; The Bloodprint, Ausma Zehanat Khan's fantasy debut and the first book of the Khorasan Archives, was hailed as "one of the year's finest fantasy debuts", published by Harper Voyager US & UK, and followed by three instalments in the epic fantasy series. Khan's non-fiction book, Ramadan, for middle-grade students, was published by Orca Books as part of the Origins series in Spring 2018. Khan was the Editor in Chief of Muslim Girl Magazine. She is also the founder of the Muslim Writers Index, and is currejntly serving as Director of the Oceans of Ink Muslim Writers Festival. Khan practised immigration law in Toronto and has taught international human rights law at Northwestern University, as well as human rights and business law at York University. She is a long-time community activist and writer, and currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area with her husband.


Sara Ghazal Ali is the author of THEOPHANIES selected as the Editors' Choice for the 2022 Alice James Award, and forthccoming with Alice James Books in January 2024. A 2022 Djanikian Scholar and winner of The Sewanee Review Poetry Prize, her poems appear in POETRY, American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, Pleiades, The Yale Review, Poem-a-Day, Guernica, Best New Poets, and elsewhere. A Stadler Fellow, Sarah is the poetry editor for West Branch. She has recieved fellowships and residencies from Tin House, the Stadler Center for Poetry and Literary Arts, the Hambidge Center, the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, Community of Writers, and others. She holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she was a Juniper and MFA Fellow, and currently lives in the Bay Area, California.


Submission guidelines are expected to be followed promptly, and they are as follows:​​

  • Contestants may only draw upon pre-existing folktales to contrive a newer version of their own. We appreciate reimaginings, explorations of complexity in underlying narratives and the unearthing of social reflections, a solid feel of the ground from which these tales are birthed, and anything more you can conjure up.

  • We will not accept self-made folktales.

  • We encourage exercising, your craft with tales of you ancestry and nation, but ask that you remain respectful and carry out your due diligence in research if you venture to base your submission on lores not of your land of origin.

  • The title of the piece is to be mentioned in bold at the beginning of the document and should be followed by an exact word or line count (discluding the title, content warnings, and word count header itself).

  • To accompany your submission, add a prelude to the document itself, following the title and wordcount, that introduces the folktale you have built upon, where and when you encountered it, and why you chose it in the first place. We appreciate any links to books or articles you've used while researching, if your piece required any prior research at all.

  • The contestant's name or any such identifying information should not be added to the document. Pieces containing such details will be disqualified directly.

  • Avoid the unecessary usage of profanities and note that we will not engage with content that aims to offend any groups of people. Triggering topics should be duly accompanied with the appropriate content warnings to be added right below the word count and before the prelude.

  • Contestants may submit only one entry to either prose or poetry. Multiple or simultaneous submissions will not entertain pieces that cross these limits.

  • The piece is to be formatted in Times or Times New Roman, size 11, with 1.5 line spacing and justified alignment, and converted to a PDF before submitting.

  • The mail's subject line should read as follows: petry/prose, title of the piece, submitter's name.

  • Within the body of the mail, enclose the following details: legal full name and pseudonym (if needed), pronouns, social media handles (if any), email address for further communication, and a brief third-person account.

  • No edits will be accepted once the submission is recieved.

  • You will recieve a reply indicating your submission has been recieved within a period of seven business days. In the event of not recieving this mail within the specified time period, kindly send a follow-up mail asking after your submission to the same mail address and the contact Healthline Zine (@healthlinezine) on Instagram via direct message.

  • Winners will be contacted via the e-mail address through which the submission has been sent if a need for the use of an alternative address has not been expressed in the initial mail. If your piece has not made it, the mail of reciept will be our final communication with you.

  • Submissions that stray from these guidelines will be disqualified

  • ​The decision of the guest judge is binding

​Please know that our constest administration and submission reading team, alongside magazine executive staff, do their utmost to ensure your piece is presented to the fullest of its potential. ​Avoid sending us unnecessary follow-up queries and ensure you understand these guidelines fully to maximise your chances of success while also reducing the team's workload. These guidelines are also available on our website for your perusal.

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