Welcome to submissions for Under the Gum Tree, a digital literary magazine. Please scroll down to submit for the appropriate category. Thank you!

Under the Gum Tree Submission Guidelines

1. Please don’t email with questions until you have familiarized yourself with these guidelines and the details on our submit page (http://underthegumtree.com/submit/). Sorry, but we can’t answer emails that ask us to “please send more information about what you’re looking for.” Also, please don’t email us asking whether we have read your submission or if we’re going to publish it. If we decide to publish your piece, you will hear from us. Promise.

2. Under the Gum Tree does not accept queries. Only complete manuscripts sent digitally will be considered. We are a digital publication, after all.

3. Simultaneous submissions and work previously published on your own blog or website are both OK. We do not want submissions of work that has been previously published by someone other than yourself. Under the Gum Tree contributors retain all the rights to their own work.

4. Under the Gum Tree does not compensate contributors.

5. We accept digital submissions only (see below).

6. Yes, we charge a nominal submission fee. This helps us do things like pay our contributors (a goal we are working toward), send complimentary print copies to our contributors and offer a cash prize for our contests.

7. Do not include any identifying information (name, contact information, email, location, etc.) in the file that you submit. Doing so will mean your submisison is automatically declined.

8. We generally accept submissions for departments and features year-round, but occasionally close when our plate is too full. 

9. Please submit one piece at a time to us. We'd hate to accept all of your work at once! 

10. Submissions that do not follow these guidelines will not be eligible for consideration.

Under the Gum Tree invites you to submit today to our annual creative nonfiction contest, judged by Ira Sukrungruang! Ira is the author of the memoirs Southside Buddhist and Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy, the short story collection The Melting Season, and the poetry collection In Thailand It Is Night. His collection of essays, Buddha’s Dog and Other Meditations, is forthcoming in 2018. He is the coeditor of two anthologies on the topic of obesity: What Are You Looking At? The First Fat Fiction Anthology and Scoot Over, Skinny: The Fat Nonfiction Anthology. He is the recipient of the 2015 American Book Award, New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Nonfiction Literature, an Arts and Letters Fellowship, and the Emerging Writer Fellowship. His work has appeared in many literary journals, including Post Road, The Sun, and Creative Nonfiction. He is one of the founding editors of Sweet: A Literary Confection (sweetlit.com), and teaches in the MFA program at University of South Florida. For more information about him, please visit: www.buddhistboy.com.

Contest Theme: (without)pretending

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines “pretend” as “to give a false appearance of being, possessing, or performing” and both “to make believe” and “to claim, represent, or assert falsely.” There’s a lot of pretending going on these days—and a lot people standing up without pretense, too. We want to see your best writing that converses with these ideas and more, as they manifest in current culture and/or in a moment in collective or personal history.


Tell us your true story of experiencing someone else’s pretending. Or take a hard look at how we sometimes treat others: Tell us your true story of pretending to be someone, or something, you were not or are not, an act you got away with (or didn’t) and which may have cost you (and/or cost someone else). Tell us your own story, and/or the true story of someone you know, and how that story has affected you. Under the Gum Tree wants your very best work, articulated in any form (straight-ahead narrative, lyric, modular, etc.), that invite us as readers and people into a space, experience, examination or contemplation that brings us closer to our raw, complex and varied humanity/ies and challenges us to deeper authenticity with ourselves and fuller empathy toward others.
 
A few additional thoughts as we envision this year’s winner:

  • If your piece is about a very literal pretending (one example: a child dressing up for Halloween), then we’ll be looking to see and experience other kinds of pretending on other levels beyond the literal. To put it another way: The piece needs to go beyond the experience of dressing in a costume for its own sake.
  • We want to see more: diverse authors and experiences; multi-layered pieces (as distinct from braiding as a form); complex/open/unanswered questions; open texts; and well-developed writing that attends to craft as well as story (i.e. writing that goes deeper than “what happened”).
  • We see a lot of essays on: coming of age, sexual awakening, lost love, miscarriage, caregiving, mental health challenges, death of parent/grandparent, and experiences of serious illness (such as cancer) as well as trauma. These themes represent many core human experiences—and, because we see a lot of work on these themes, we’re searching for true standouts when we’re deciding what to send to the final judge (and what to select out of the contest pile for regular publication). We would also love to read and publish more essays considering additional core human themes, including immigrant experiences, experiences of difference in terms of class, race, ethnicity, nationality, language, sexuality, gender, age, ability, spiritual experiences, and more—show us what we should be looking for!

To submit an entry for consideration, please note the following and submit accordingly:

  • Contest submissions should respond to the theme of (without)pretending.

  • Contest submissions are accepted between March 30 - June 30, 2018. (Submissions close promptly at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on 6/30/2018.) Contest entries must be previously unpublished, submitted blind, and not exceed 5,000 words

  • Submissions are accepted via Submittable here (*be sure to select the appropriate category*). Multiple submissions are welcome, though only one manuscript is allowed per submission. Current Under the Gum Tree subscribers submit for free (or extend, or give a gift subscription, for the regular submission fees that follow). General submissions bear a $20 reading fee and include a one-year digital subscription (or extension, or gift subscription) to the magazine; a year of the print edition is available for an $80 fee, which includes both a print+digital subscription. 

**Please Note: Submissions uploaded through the free option by non-subscribers will not be read. If you are not an active subscriber, you can become one by submitting through the $20 option, or, there is also an option to subscribe to the print edition!

Winner & Prizes

One (1) winner will receive the following:

  • A modest $500 cash prize (and more, if submission fees permit!)
  • Publication in our January 2019 issue
  • A one-year subscription to keep or gift

The winner will also receive the option to guest-edit the features section of a future issue of Under the Gum Tree; in this way, we desire to push the limits of our aesthetic and include more and more voices.

Honorable mention(s) will be published and will receive a one-year subscription to keep or gift, plus a mystery box of inspirational CNF goodies, including books and UTGT swag. We also hope to publish many finalists and other contest entries, so submit today! 

Under the Gum Tree is a self-supporting independent literary magazine. The magazine is unaffiliated with any university or other organization and receives no external funding. We hope, as a result of a strong submission pool for this contest, to be able to offer an even more generous cash prize, as all proceeds from submission fees go to the prize pool and contest production costs.

We Subscribe to the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses Contest Code of Ethics

CLMP’s community of independent literary publishers believes that ethical contests serve our shared goal: to connect writers and readers by publishing exceptional writing. We believe that intent to act ethically, clarity of guidelines, and transparency of process form the foundation of an ethical contest.

For complete contest rules and guidelines please visit our website underthegumtree.com/contest.

**$20 contest submission fee includes 1-year digital subscription**




Under the Gum Tree invites you to submit today to our annual creative nonfiction contest, judged by Ira Sukrungruang! Ira is the author of the memoirs Southside Buddhist and Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy, the short story collection The Melting Season, and the poetry collection In Thailand It Is Night. His collection of essays, Buddha’s Dog and Other Meditations, is forthcoming in 2018. He is the coeditor of two anthologies on the topic of obesity: What Are You Looking At? The First Fat Fiction Anthology and Scoot Over, Skinny: The Fat Nonfiction Anthology. He is the recipient of the 2015 American Book Award, New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Nonfiction Literature, an Arts and Letters Fellowship, and the Emerging Writer Fellowship. His work has appeared in many literary journals, including Post Road, The Sun, and Creative Nonfiction. He is one of the founding editors of Sweet: A Literary Confection (sweetlit.com), and teaches in the MFA program at University of South Florida. For more information about him, please visit: www.buddhistboy.com.

Contest Theme: (without)pretending

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines “pretend” as “to give a false appearance of being, possessing, or performing” and both “to make believe” and “to claim, represent, or assert falsely.” There’s a lot of pretending going on these days—and a lot people standing up without pretense, too. We want to see your best writing that converses with these ideas and more, as they manifest in current culture and/or in a moment in collective or personal history.


Tell us your true story of experiencing someone else’s pretending. Or take a hard look at how we sometimes treat others: Tell us your true story of pretending to be someone, or something, you were not or are not, an act you got away with (or didn’t) and which may have cost you (and/or cost someone else). Tell us your own story, and/or the true story of someone you know, and how that story has affected you. Under the Gum Tree wants your very best work, articulated in any form (straight-ahead narrative, lyric, modular, etc.), that invite us as readers and people into a space, experience, examination or contemplation that brings us closer to our raw, complex and varied humanity/ies and challenges us to deeper authenticity with ourselves and fuller empathy toward others.
 
A few additional thoughts as we envision this year’s winner:

  • If your piece is about a very literal pretending (one example: a child dressing up for Halloween), then we’ll be looking to see and experience other kinds of pretending on other levels beyond the literal. To put it another way: The piece needs to go beyond the experience of dressing in a costume for its own sake.
  • We want to see more: diverse authors and experiences; multi-layered pieces (as distinct from braiding as a form); complex/open/unanswered questions; open texts; and well-developed writing that attends to craft as well as story (i.e. writing that goes deeper than “what happened”).
  • We see a lot of essays on: coming of age, sexual awakening, lost love, miscarriage, caregiving, mental health challenges, death of parent/grandparent, and experiences of serious illness (such as cancer) as well as trauma. These themes represent many core human experiences—and, because we see a lot of work on these themes, we’re searching for true standouts when we’re deciding what to send to the final judge (and what to select out of the contest pile for regular publication). We would also love to read and publish more essays considering additional core human themes, including immigrant experiences, experiences of difference in terms of class, race, ethnicity, nationality, language, sexuality, gender, age, ability, spiritual experiences, and more—show us what we should be looking for!

To submit an entry for consideration, please note the following and submit accordingly:

  • Contest submissions should respond to the theme of (without)pretending.

  • Contest submissions are accepted between March 30 - June 30, 2018. (Submissions close promptly at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on 6/30/2018.) Contest entries must be previously unpublished, submitted blind, and not exceed 5,000 words

  • Submissions are accepted via Submittable here (*be sure to select the appropriate category*). Multiple submissions are welcome, though only one manuscript is allowed per submission. Current Under the Gum Tree subscribers submit for free (or extend, or give a gift subscription, for the regular submission fees that follow). General submissions bear a $20 reading fee and include a one-year digital subscription (or extension, or gift subscription) to the magazine; a year of the print edition is available for an $80 fee, which includes both a print+digital subscription. 

**Please Note: Submissions uploaded through the free option by non-subscribers will not be read. If you are not an active subscriber, you can become one by submitting through the $20 option, or, there is also an option to subscribe to the print edition!

Winner & Prizes

One (1) winner will receive the following:

  • A modest $500 cash prize (and more, if submission fees permit!)
  • Publication in our January 2019 issue
  • A one-year subscription to keep or gift

The winner will also receive the option to guest-edit the features section of a future issue of Under the Gum Tree; in this way, we desire to push the limits of our aesthetic and include more and more voices.

Honorable mention(s) will be published and will receive a one-year subscription to keep or gift, plus a mystery box of inspirational CNF goodies, including books and UTGT swag. We also hope to publish many finalists and other contest entries, so submit today! 

Under the Gum Tree is a self-supporting independent literary magazine. The magazine is unaffiliated with any university or other organization and receives no external funding. We hope, as a result of a strong submission pool for this contest, to be able to offer an even more generous cash prize, as all proceeds from submission fees go to the prize pool and contest production costs.

We Subscribe to the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses Contest Code of Ethics

CLMP’s community of independent literary publishers believes that ethical contests serve our shared goal: to connect writers and readers by publishing exceptional writing. We believe that intent to act ethically, clarity of guidelines, and transparency of process form the foundation of an ethical contest.

For complete contest rules and guidelines please visit our website underthegumtree.com/contest.

**$20 contest submission fee includes 1-year digital subscription**





Under the Gum Tree invites you to submit today to our annual creative nonfiction contest, judged by Ira Sukrungruang! Ira is the author of the memoirs Southside Buddhist and Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy, the short story collection The Melting Season, and the poetry collection In Thailand It Is Night. His collection of essays, Buddha’s Dog and Other Meditations, is forthcoming in 2018. He is the coeditor of two anthologies on the topic of obesity: What Are You Looking At? The First Fat Fiction Anthology and Scoot Over, Skinny: The Fat Nonfiction Anthology. He is the recipient of the 2015 American Book Award, New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Nonfiction Literature, an Arts and Letters Fellowship, and the Emerging Writer Fellowship. His work has appeared in many literary journals, including Post Road, The Sun, and Creative Nonfiction. He is one of the founding editors of Sweet: A Literary Confection (sweetlit.com), and teaches in the MFA program at University of South Florida. For more information about him, please visit: www.buddhistboy.com.

Contest Theme: (without)pretending

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines “pretend” as “to give a false appearance of being, possessing, or performing” and both “to make believe” and “to claim, represent, or assert falsely.” There’s a lot of pretending going on these days—and a lot people standing up without pretense, too. We want to see your best writing that converses with these ideas and more, as they manifest in current culture and/or in a moment in collective or personal history.


Tell us your true story of experiencing someone else’s pretending. Or take a hard look at how we sometimes treat others: Tell us your true story of pretending to be someone, or something, you were not or are not, an act you got away with (or didn’t) and which may have cost you (and/or cost someone else). Tell us your own story, and/or the true story of someone you know, and how that story has affected you. Under the Gum Tree wants your very best work, articulated in any form (straight-ahead narrative, lyric, modular, etc.), that invite us as readers and people into a space, experience, examination or contemplation that brings us closer to our raw, complex and varied humanity/ies and challenges us to deeper authenticity with ourselves and fuller empathy toward others.
 
A few additional thoughts as we envision this year’s winner:

  • If your piece is about a very literal pretending (one example: a child dressing up for Halloween), then we’ll be looking to see and experience other kinds of pretending on other levels beyond the literal. To put it another way: The piece needs to go beyond the experience of dressing in a costume for its own sake.
  • We want to see more: diverse authors and experiences; multi-layered pieces (as distinct from braiding as a form); complex/open/unanswered questions; open texts; and well-developed writing that attends to craft as well as story (i.e. writing that goes deeper than “what happened”).
  • We see a lot of essays on: coming of age, sexual awakening, lost love, miscarriage, caregiving, mental health challenges, death of parent/grandparent, and experiences of serious illness (such as cancer) as well as trauma. These themes represent many core human experiences—and, because we see a lot of work on these themes, we’re searching for true standouts when we’re deciding what to send to the final judge (and what to select out of the contest pile for regular publication). We would also love to read and publish more essays considering additional core human themes, including immigrant experiences, experiences of difference in terms of class, race, ethnicity, nationality, language, sexuality, gender, age, ability, spiritual experiences, and more—show us what we should be looking for!

To submit an entry for consideration, please note the following and submit accordingly:

  • Contest submissions should respond to the theme of (without)pretending.

  • Contest submissions are accepted between March 30 - June 30, 2018. (Submissions close promptly at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on 6/30/2018.) Contest entries must be previously unpublished, submitted blind, and not exceed 5,000 words

  • Submissions are accepted via Submittable here (*be sure to select the appropriate category*). Multiple submissions are welcome, though only one manuscript is allowed per submission. Current Under the Gum Tree subscribers submit for free (or extend, or give a gift subscription, for the regular submission fees that follow). General submissions bear a $20 reading fee and include a one-year digital subscription (or extension, or gift subscription) to the magazine; a year of the print edition is available for an $80 fee, which includes both a print+digital subscription. 

**Please Note: Submissions uploaded through the free option by non-subscribers will not be read. If you are not an active subscriber, you can become one by submitting through the $20 option, or, there is also an option to subscribe to the print edition!

Winner & Prizes

One (1) winner will receive the following:

  • A modest $500 cash prize (and more, if submission fees permit!)
  • Publication in our January 2019 issue
  • A one-year subscription to keep or gift

The winner will also receive the option to guest-edit the features section of a future issue of Under the Gum Tree; in this way, we desire to push the limits of our aesthetic and include more and more voices.

Honorable mention(s) will be published and will receive a one-year subscription to keep or gift, plus a mystery box of inspirational CNF goodies, including books and UTGT swag. We also hope to publish many finalists and other contest entries, so submit today! 

Under the Gum Tree is a self-supporting independent literary magazine. The magazine is unaffiliated with any university or other organization and receives no external funding. We hope, as a result of a strong submission pool for this contest, to be able to offer an even more generous cash prize, as all proceeds from submission fees go to the prize pool and contest production costs.

We Subscribe to the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses Contest Code of Ethics

CLMP’s community of independent literary publishers believes that ethical contests serve our shared goal: to connect writers and readers by publishing exceptional writing. We believe that intent to act ethically, clarity of guidelines, and transparency of process form the foundation of an ethical contest.

For complete contest rules and guidelines please visit our website underthegumtree.com/contest.

**$20 contest submission fee includes 1-year digital subscription**





We also consider submissions (2,000 words or more) as featured pieces for any given issue. This longer feature may explore a department topic or any other unspecified topic. Most issues will have two longer features, but we reserve the prerogative to include more than one feature. We might also ask for features on a particular theme, depending on the season and how we're feeling at the time of planning the issue.

We consider submissions (2,000 words or less) for the following departments:

Fork and Spoon: Much of life revolves around food. This department is for stories, and even recipes, on how food, cooking, eating and drinking affect life. The dinner table means different things to each of us—it can be a comfortable place that facilitates intimate communion, but to someone else it might be an awkward place of forced conversation. These food interactions shape us more than we know.

Sound Track: Music sets the tone of a gathering. It changes a mood from depressed to uplifted. This department is for stories on interacting with music and how it interacts with us. Is there a specific song, group or artist that has had a significant impact on your life? Have you had a meaningful live-music experience? Are you a musician who also writes about how music affects the human experience?

24 Frames per Second: This department is for stories on film, perhaps one of the more powerful storytelling mediums. Is there a specific film that has changed you in some way—caused you to think differently or see the world from a new perspective? Are you consistently moved by the work of one particular actor or director?

Those Who Wander: Tolkien famously wrote, “Not all those who wander are lost.” And surely, as writers, we are often inspired by our journeys or the travels of others (and we know, some wanderers ARE lost). Whether travels are from one neighborhood to another, one state to another, one country to another; on vacation or a pilgrimage, for family or for work, so many of these changes in our physical locations trigger meaningful reactions in us and the way we view the world around us. This department is for stories about travel and the individual ways moving around this globe affects us.

Stomping Ground: So much of who we are depends on the relationships in our life, blood or otherwise. This department is for stories about family—and we use that term liberally, because isn't the friend you've had since you were 8, almost 9, years old, more like a sister?

Flash: Every issue includes a flash feature, which is a short-short piece of creative nonfiction, under 1,000 words.

IMPORTANT: for submissions to the 1,000 Words photo essay department, please use the Photo & Art category below—do not submit images under this department category.

We consider submissions of visual art and photography. Every issue features two artists: a photographer and a visual artist. Art should be recent, no more than 2 years old, and should be previously unpublished in literary magazines or journals. We do not consider an exhibition or gallery show as previous publication.

1000 Words: a photo* essay, illustrating stories told without shame. Photo essays must be a complete body of work, and we are looking specifically for a story told visually through photographs.

Cover Art: The cover artist also has work featured as section breaks between stories throughout the magazine. Art must be a collection that is a cohesive body of work.

*Photo submissions need to clearly state whether they are a photo essay or general submission.