Submissions

Reading Period
Submit September 15 – March 15 by 11:59 PM Central time (US & Canada). Unless otherwise noted, submissions sent from Mar 16 through Sept 14 will not be accepted.

Simultaneous Submissions 
Simultaneous submissions to other journals are welcome as long as they are identified as such and we are notified immediately upon acceptance elsewhere.

Manuscript Guidelines
• Include a short cover letter noting the title(s) of the work(s) submitted and citing major publications and awards, as well as any association or past correspondence with a guest or staff editor.
• Upload your text submission as a Word (doc, docx), portable document format/PDF (pdf) or rich-text format (rtf) file. No Pages, txt, or Open Office Documents.
• Typed, double-spaced (poetry may be single-spaced) pages.
• Numbered pages.
• Submissions should follow the Chicago Style for grammar and MLA format for citations and works cited, when applicable. 
• Margins should be set at no less than 1” and no greater than 1.5”.
• Poetry: submit up to five (5) poems totaling no more than eight (8) pages.
• Fiction, Hybrid genre and critical essays:  12-point font. No more than twenty (20) pages or 5000 words (whichever is achieved first). Excerpts of longer works are welcome if self-contained. 
• Drama/Performance: submit one act or a collection of short scenes no longer than twenty pages (20) following Samuel French or the Dramatists Guild suggested formatting. Excerpts of longer works are welcome if self-contained.
Translations are welcome if permission has been granted.

Image Submission Guidelines
• Include a short cover letter noting the title(s) of the work(s) submitted and citing major publications and awards, as well as any association or past correspondence with a guest or staff editor.
• Submit up to five (5) images totaling no more than 15 MB.
• Upload your submission(s) as jpg or tiff file(s) (tiff preferred) in 300 ppi at the size(s) intended to be used.  
• Specify the orientation the image(s) as portrait or landscape.

Audio Submission Guidelines
• Include a short cover letter noting the title(s) of the work(s) submitted and citing major publications and awards, as well as any association or past correspondence 
• Submit up to five (5) sound files totaling no more than 30 MB.
• Upload your submission(s) as mp3 or wav file(s)

Video & Media Arts Submission Guidelines
• Include a short cover letter noting the title(s) of the work(s) submitted and citing major publications and awards, as well as any association or past correspondence with a guest or staff editor.
• Submit up to three (3) video and/or gaming files totaling no more than 800 MB.
• Upload your submission(s) as mpg, avi, or mov files, swf, Graphics Interchange Format (gif), UNITY game files, and HTML5 (with or without CSS and JavaScript markup).

Restrictions
• We do not reprint previously published work.

Submitting Online
We are now only accepting submissions via our online submission management system. Submissions via postal mail or email will be discarded without response. 
To submit online, please use the Obsidian submission management system, found at obsidian.submittable.com/submit. 

Notifications and Queries
Expect three to five months for a decision. Using our online submissions system you will be able to track the status of your submission.  We accept queries after five months have passed. Queries should be sent via email. They should include:
• Your name.
• The date, genre, and title of the submission.
• The title of the Call for Submissions to which you are responding, if applicable.

Contributor Copies
Upon publication, contributors receive two contributor copies of the issue. 

  • Call for Submissions—Special Issue: Furious Flower: Seeding the Future of African American Poetry

    The editors of Obsidian, in partnership with the James Madison University Furious Flower Poetry Center, invite you to participate in the journal’s celebration of over 40 years of continuous publication by submitting original unpublished essays presented at the 2014 Furious Flower conference and unpublished works of poetry for review. Selected works will appear in Obsidian’s fall 2015 double-issue edited by Meta DuEwa Jones and Keith D. Leonard (essays) and Giovanni Singleton (poetry).

    In anticipation of the forthcoming Furious Flower anthology, this issue will highlight the poetry and scholarship of 2014 conference participants and further commemorate Obsidian’s year long anniversary celebration.

    To be considered for the fall 2015 double-issue, please submit materials by the extended deadline of April 17, 2015.

    Please direct inquiries to obsidian@ilstu.edu with FURIOUS FLOWER in the subject line.

    Note: Submissions in multiple genre categories are acceptable but must be uploaded as separate titles under the respective submission categories.

    Manuscript Guidelines
    • Upload your text submission as a Word (doc, docx), portable document format/PDF (pdf) or rich-text format (rtf) file. No Pages, txt, or Open Office Documents.
    • Poetry: submit up to five (5) poems totaling no more than eight (8) pages.
    • Fiction, Hybrid genre and critical essays:  12-point font. No more than twenty (20) pages or 5000 words (whichever is achieved first). Excerpts of longer works are welcome if self-contained. 
    • Drama/Performance: submit one act or a collection of short scenes no longer than twenty pages (20) following Samuel French or the Dramatists Guild suggested formatting. Excerpts of longer works are welcome if self-contained.
    Translations are welcome if permission has been granted.

    Image Submission Guidelines
    • Include a short cover letter noting the title(s) of the work(s) submitted and citing major publications and awards, as well as any association or past correspondence with a guest or staff editor.
    • Submit up to five (5) images totaling no more than 15 MB.
    • Upload your submission(s) as jpg or tiff file(s) (tiff preferred) in 300 ppi at the size(s) intended to be used.  
    • Specify the orientation the image(s) as portrait or landscape.

    Audio Submission Guidelines
    • Include a short cover letter noting the title(s) of the work(s) submitted and citing major publications and awards, as well as any association or past correspondence 
    • Submit up to five (5) sound files totaling no more than 30 MB.
    • Upload your submission(s) as mp3 or wav file(s)

    Video & Media Arts Submission Guidelines
    • Include a short cover letter noting the title(s) of the work(s) submitted and citing major publications and awards, as well as any association or past correspondence with a guest or staff editor.
    • Submit up to three (3) video and/or gaming files totaling no more than 800 MB.
    • Upload your submission(s) as mpg, avi, or mov files, swf, Graphics Interchange Format (gif), UNITY game files, and HTML5 (with or without CSS and JavaScript markup).
    Submit »
  • Call for Submissions—Special Issue: Call & Response: Experiments in Joy

    In Summer 2014, Call & Response, an innovative dynamic of black women and performance, took place at Antioch College. In July, seven black women performers—with different relationships to the words “black,” “women,” and “performance”—came together to build community, collaborate, and announce a Call, a collective prompt for artistic action. In August, the artists reconvened to share their responses to the Call with each other and the Antioch community. 

    The Call was to conduct “Experiments in Joy.”

    We now call you to offer your Responses.

    Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora supports—through publication and scholarly and critical inquiry—the poetry, fiction, drama, and visual and media art of Africans everywhere. For this special issue of Obsidian, we aim to document the historic work of the first Call & Response symposium as well as to solicit responses to the Call from a broad community of performers, artists, writers, and scholars. 

    We invite creative writing, original art work, digital projects and scholarly essays that engage the form or theme of “call and response” and/or offer a take on “experiments in joy.”

    Topics may include the following, but are not limited to:

    -black women and performance 

    -chronologies/cartographies of black performance art

    -black play/black plays/black playlists

    -black choreographies

    -black art and activism

    -black site-specific work and installations

    -black formal experimentation 

    -black utopias/dystopias

    -reconfigurations of the diasporic past

    -representations of black pleasure

    -black queer and transpossibilities

    -womanism in the 21st century

    -new visions for black community/interaction

    Contributors may also submit written or visual documentation of projects that respond directly to the original Call (included below) or critical/theoretical engagement with its directive for art-making.

    Abstracts of scholarly essays should be submitted by February 15, 2015.

    Full scholarly essays and digital content should be submitted by March 15, 2015.

    Creative work will for this special issue will be accepted until April 17, 2015.

    Please submit completed texts as Word documents and/or high resolution images of original artwork as jpg files on-line Include with the submission a 50-word bio in the cover page of your submission. Manuscripts must not exceed 20 pages (5,000 words).

    Please direct inquiries for this issue to the co-editors at experimentsinjoy@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

    Note: Submissions in multiple genre categories are acceptable but must be uploaded as separate titles under the respective submission categories.

    Special Issue Editors:

    Gabrielle Civil, Associate Professor of Performance, Antioch College

    Ebony Noëlle Golden, CEO of Betty's Daughter Arts Collaborative

                                                                                        *** 

    Call & Response Artists Announcethe Call: Experiments in Joy 

    (Presented at Antioch College, Yellow Springs, OH — July 22, 2014)

    From Lagos and Austin, Los Angeles, Louisville, Minneapolis, Chicago, Brooklyn, Seoul, Pétionville, the Arkansas Delta, Horseshoe Mountain, Busan, Detroit, New York City, Kentifrica, Puerto Rico, Beirut, Mexico City, Banjul, The Gambia and Yellow Springs, OH, we arrived to participate in Call & Response, an innovative dynamic of black women and performance, at Antioch College.  We are a diverse group of seven black women artists with different relationships to the words “black,” “women,” and “performance.” For five days, we shared stories and forged a process. We debated privilege, agency, and forgiveness. We worked, played, laughed, sang, presented work, and considered what we are all called to do.  

    What is the urgency of our invention?

    How can we engage in collective imagining?

    How does our work change when we create from a place of freedom?

    What is irresistible to us?

    Are you available to yourself and to your calling?

    How can we negotiate invisibility and hyper-visibility in productive ways?

    How do we undefine the defined?

    How can we sharpen our awareness of energy and rhythm in the body?

    How can we make art that manifests change for a more socially just world?

    How can we move through or without fear?

    How can we sustainably care for and be accountable to ourselves and one another?

    How can we achieve radical openness?

    How can we claim joy?                                                            

    In response, we call you to conduct experiments in joy

    This call invites you to play, explore, investigate and create performance, poems, drawings, desserts, long walks, spirited discussions, textiles, hairstyles, dance, research—make it funky—cooking, music, maps, apps, structures, sounds, movements, games, artifacts, political actions, adornment, manifestations, encounters, new intentions, letters, photographs, or anything else—surprise yourself! Here's how to do it:

    1.Tell the truth

    2.Make something new

    3.Invite someone in

    4.Document

    5.Repeat

    This process can be collective or individual, a single event or daily practice. Reasons to respond include:

    to participate in an artistic community, to connect to the enduring legacy of black women artists, to experiment,

    to play, to find new sources of joy, to confront obstacles to your joy, to learn how to inhabit joy while embattled, to make new work, to transform the work you’re already doing, to interact in new ways, to heal. We don’t have all the answers and we don’t always agree on the answers we have. We do know the conversation is urgent. Join us. Respond to the Call.

    Gabrielle Civil, Duriel E. Harris, Kenyatta A. C.Hinkle, Rosamond S. King, Wura-Natasha Ogunji, Miré Regulus, Awilda Rodríguez Lora

    Manuscript Guidelines

    • Upload your text submission as a Word (doc, docx), portable document format/PDF (pdf) or rich-text format (rtf) file. No Pages, txt, or Open Office Documents.
    • Poetry: submit up to five (5) poems totaling no more than eight (8) pages.
    • Fiction, Hybrid genre and critical essays:  12-point font. No more than twenty (20) pages or 5000 words (whichever is achieved first). Excerpts of longer works are welcome if self-contained. 
    • Drama/Performance: submit one act or a collection of short scenes no longer than twenty pages (20) following Samuel French or the Dramatists Guild suggested formatting. Excerpts of longer works are welcome if self-contained.
    Translations are welcome if permission has been granted.

    Image Submission Guidelines
    • Include a short cover letter noting the title(s) of the work(s) submitted and citing major publications and awards, as well as any association or past correspondence with a guest or staff editor.
    • Submit up to five (5) images totaling no more than 15 MB.
    • Upload your submission(s) as jpg or tiff file(s) (tiff preferred) in 300 ppi at the size(s) intended to be used.  
    • Specify the orientation the image(s) as portrait or landscape.

    Audio Submission Guidelines
    • Include a short cover letter noting the title(s) of the work(s) submitted and citing major publications and awards, as well as any association or past correspondence 
    • Submit up to five (5) sound files totaling no more than 30 MB.
    • Upload your submission(s) as mp3 or wav file(s)

    Video & Media Arts Submission Guidelines
    • Include a short cover letter noting the title(s) of the work(s) submitted and citing major publications and awards, as well as any association or past correspondence with a guest or staff editor.
    • Submit up to three (3) video and/or gaming files totaling no more than 800 MB.
    • Upload your submission(s) as mpg, avi, or mov files, swf, Graphics Interchange Format (gif), UNITY game files, and HTML5 (with or without CSS and JavaScript markup).
    Submit »
  • Call for Submissions—Special Issue: Speculating on the Future: Black Imagination & the Arts

    The editors of Obsidian invite you to participate in the journal’s celebration of four decades of excellence in the arts by submitting original unpublished work for its first double-volume issue exploring the speculative genre. Selected works will appear in Obsidian’s fall 2016 double-issue edited by Sheree Renée Thomas and Nisi Shawl (short fiction, drama, poetry), Isiah Lavender III (essays), and Krista Franklin (art, visual media, and paraliterature). All artists ask, “what if?” explore the consequences of “if this continues,” and contemplate “if only;” however, practitioners of the speculative arts or Afrofuturism, an umbrella term for science fiction, fantasy, magical realism, fabulism, horror, and unclassifiable and interstitial creative works such as slipstream,ask the same question and respond with an answer that re-imagines whole worlds and goes beyond the known universe.

    Afrofuturism and the speculative arts may transport audiences to a planet light-years away,to alternate histories and identities, or deep inside the jewel-toned caves of a far-distant past, another consciousness. Whether extrapolating science and society to imagine futuristic technology, art, and socio-political configurations, or conjuring new forms of magic, these genres imagine what might have been or what might be, opening the door to any possibility.

    Obsidian seeks original works that explore and reimagine black thought, black art, future and past.

    To be considered for the fall 2016 Speculative Arts double-issue,please submit materials by Friday, January 15, 2016.

    Please direct inquiries to obsidian@ilstu.edu with SPECULATIVE in the subject line.

    Note: Submissions in multiple genre categories are acceptable but must be uploaded as separate titles under the respective submission categories.

    Manuscript Guidelines
    • Upload your text submission as a Word (doc, docx), portable document format/PDF (pdf) or rich-text format (rtf) file. No Pages, txt, or Open Office Documents.
    • Poetry: submit up to five (5) poems totaling no more than eight (8) pages.
    • Fiction, Hybrid genre and critical essays:  12-point font. No more than twenty (20) pages or 5000 words (whichever is achieved first). Excerpts of longer works are welcome if self-contained. 
    • Drama/Performance: submit one act or a collection of short scenes no longer than twenty pages (20) following Samuel French or the Dramatists Guild suggested formatting. Excerpts of longer works are welcome if self-contained.
    Translations are welcome if permission has been granted.

    Image Submission Guidelines
    • Include a short cover letter noting the title(s) of the work(s) submitted and citing major publications and awards, as well as any association or past correspondence with a guest or staff editor.
    • Submit up to five (5) images totaling no more than 15 MB.
    • Upload your submission(s) as jpg or tiff file(s) (tiff preferred) in 300 ppi at the size(s) intended to be used.  
    • Specify the orientation the image(s) as portrait or landscape.

    Audio Submission Guidelines
    • Include a short cover letter noting the title(s) of the work(s) submitted and citing major publications and awards, as well as any association or past correspondence 
    • Submit up to five (5) sound files totaling no more than 30 MB.
    • Upload your submission(s) as mp3 or wav file(s)

    Video & Media Arts Submission Guidelines
    • Include a short cover letter noting the title(s) of the work(s) submitted and citing major publications and awards, as well as any association or past correspondence with a guest or staff editor.
    • Submit up to three (3) video and/or gaming files totaling no more than 800 MB.
    • Upload your submission(s) as mpg, avi, or mov files, swf, Graphics Interchange Format (gif), UNITY game files, and HTML5 (with or without CSS and JavaScript markup).
    Submit »
  • Audio - General Issue

    Audio Submission Guidelines

    • Include a short cover letter noting the title(s) of the work(s) submitted and citing major publications and awards, as well as any association or past correspondence
    • Submit up to five (5) sound files totaling no more than 75 MB.
    • Upload your submission(s) as .mp3 or .wav file(s)
    Accepted Document Types: doc, docx
    Submit »
  • Critical Essay - General Issue

    Submissions should be no longer than 20 pages in length and double-spaced. Citations and work cited should follow MLA style. For additional information consult, http://www.mla.org.
    Accepted Document Types: doc, docx
    Submit »
  • Drama/Performance Script - General Issue

    • Drama/Performance: submit one act or a collection of short scenes no longer than twenty pages (20) in the Samuel French format. Excerpts of longer works are welcome if self-contained.
    Submit »
  • Fiction/Hybrid Works - General Issue

    Please number each page of your manuscript. Submissions should be no longer than 20 pages in length and double-spaced. 
    Accepted Document Types: doc, docx
    Submit »
  • Image - General Issue

    Image Submission Guidelines

    • Include a short cover letter noting the title(s) of the work(s) submitted and citing major publications and awards, as well as any association or past correspondence with a guest or staff editor.
    • Submit up to five (5) images totaling no more than 40 MB.
    • Upload your submission(s) as .jpg or .tif file(s) (.tif preferred) in 300 ppi at the size(s) intended to be used. 
    • Specify the orientation the image(s) as portrait or landscape.
    Accepted Document Types: doc, docx, mp3, mp4, m4a, wav, mov, avi, mpg, 3gp, flv, webm
    Submit »
  • Poetry - General Issue

    submit up to five (5) poems totaling no more than eight (8) pages.
    Accepted Document Types: doc, docx
    Submit »
  • Video/Media Arts - General Issue

    Video & Media Arts Submission Guidelines

    ·         Include a short cover letter noting the title(s) of the work(s) submitted and citing major publications and awards, as well as any association or past correspondence with a guest or staff editor.

    • Submit up to three (3) video and/or gaming files totaling no more than 800 MB.
    • Upload your submission(s) as mpg, .avi, or .mov files, Flash Animation (.swf), Graphics Interchange Format (.gif), UNITY game files, and HTML5 (with or without CSS and JavaScript markup).
    Accepted Document Types: doc, docx, jpg, gif, tiff, png
    Submit »