Friends Journal welcomes articles, poetry, art, photographs, and letters from our readers. We are also helped by your comments and questions. We are an independent magazine serving the entire Religious Society of Friends. Our mission is “to communicate Quaker experience in order to connect and deepen spiritual lives,” which allows for a variety of viewpoints and subject matter. We welcome submissions from Friends and non-Friends alike.
We prefer articles written in a fresh, non-academic style. Friends value an experiential approach to life and religious thought. Our readers particularly value articles on: exploring Friends’ testimonies and beliefs; integrating faith, work, and home lives; historical and contemporary Friends; social concerns and actions; and the variety of beliefs across the branches of Friends.
Friends Journal prefers articles with a constructive approach to spiritual seeking. We seek an open, curious and respectful tone even when discussing controversial subjects. We prefer articles rooted in the author’s own experiences of the divine. Submissions should show an awareness of Friends’ ways and concerns, as well as sensitivity to them.
The magazine is published monthly (with a combined June/July issue) in print and PDF editions. We have an active and growing website with special web-only features focusing on timely topics, as well as special selections from the Friends Journal archives. We are seeking to publish more themed issues and to encourage and cultivate new writers and fresh topics.
We are generally not able to pay for writing. Authors of feature-length articles receive four free copies of the issue in which the article appears, while poets receive two copies. Authors of shorter material appearing in the departments will receive two free copies upon request. We welcome inquiries about potential articles and invite you to contact senior editor Martin Kelley at [email protected] or message us via Facebook or Twitter.
By submitting to Friends Journal, you acknowledge that you have read and agree to the legal agreement found at https://www.friendsjournal.org/legal. Advertising reservation deadlines typically occur a few days after our editorial deadlines; check our Advertising section for specific dates.
Our December 2021 issue will look at "Language of Faith." How do a people most renowned for our silence actually go about talking about spiritual insights?
Some ideas we’re considering:
- We’ve accumulated a lot of peculiar Quaker jargon over the years. When is it helpful to have our own language to discuss process and organization, and when is it just confusing to potential newcomers? When might a fluency in Quaker lingo simply mark insiders vs. outsiders and limit the sharing of important spiritual truths?
- Many North American Friends have advanced educations, and our language and vocabulary often reflect that. When is it important to simplify language, i.e., to attempt to reach a wider audience by writing for, say, someone with an eighth-grade education? What spiritual truths are unveiled when we simplify language? Which ones might be oversimplified or obscured?
- How has our language changed over time? A typical page of a classic Quaker journal might have half a dozen biblical references, while today we use "the Light" and "the Spirit" (or lately just "Spirit" without a definite article) to do a lot of heavy lifting. When are particular metaphors helpful, and when might they be obscure, or even off putting?
- Cultural awareness and sensitivity in language. This could include subjects such as gendered language and the sharing of pronouns; the avoidance of metaphors arising from disabilities, such as “blind”; evolving language that has taken on different meanings from those we intended, such as the use of “overseer” as a role in meeting. An article could also touch on linguistic prejudice, the use of non-standard English in writing, or accents in spoken words.
We can look at the literal languages of our faith: an English religious tradition is now practiced in many non-English-speaking areas. How does our Quaker language flex across different spoken languages? (Note: we had an issue on Quakers in Translation a year ago.)
Due October 18, 2021.
Upcoming General Submissions Deadlines:
- November 22, 2021 (February issue)
- January 17, 2022 (April issue)
- Feb 21, 2022 (May issue)
Many issues of Friends Journal are set aside for specific themes. Every 18 months or so we poll readers and dream up ideas for future issues (you can see the current list on our submissions page).
We also keep five issues a year open: no theme and no expectations. Most of our unsolicited articles go into a “General Submissions” list that we hold for these issues. Sometimes a choice is easy: we’ll get a blockbuster article that we know we just have to print. But just as often we’ll run some quiet piece of Quaker life that is offered to us without regard to our schedules.
The first bit of advice is to give our editorial submission guidelines a good once-over. The introduction to what we’re looking for is instructive.
We prefer articles written in a fresh, non‐academic style. Friends value an experiential approach to life and religious thought. Our readers particularly value articles on: exploring Friends’ testimonies and beliefs; integrating faith, work, and home lives; historical and contemporary Friends; social concerns and actions; and the variety of beliefs across the branches of Friends.
You should also study our tips for writing for Friends Journal. This is our list of the most-common pitfalls for incoming submissions—problems like length, structure, and tone.
The next thing to ask when writing or pitching an article to us is “why Friends Journal?” There are very few places where someone can write on the Quaker experience and see their work published. This scarcity weighs on us as we select an open issue’s mix. Authors don’t need to be Quaker, but the piece should have a strong Quaker hook. We’re not above doing a control-F on a submission to see how many times “Quaker” or “Friends” is mentioned. If it’s just a tacked-on reference because you’re shopping a piece written for another publication, it probably won’t work for us.
When you’re ready to send us something, please use the Submittable service so that we will have all of your information on file. “General Submissions” is the category for material that we consider for non-themed issues.
Link to share: Writing for General Submissions
Please note: All poetry should be submitted separately here.
Due December 20, 2021
Due February 21, 2022
Due March 21, 2022
News & other departments
Forum: Reader responses, limited to 300 words.
Viewpoints: short general reflections of 600-800 words.
Poetry: We generally publish 2-3 poems in each issue. Please use this form for all poetry, even poems that might be intended for specific issues.
Departments: Shorter articles (about 1,500 words or less) found toward the back of each issue that fall under one of our current Department categories, including Earthcare, Friends in Business, History, Reflection, Faith and Practice, and Witness. Click through to see the full list.
News Items: News, press releases, and reports from events. Click through for details and the submission form.
Book Reviews: We do not accept unsolicited book reviews. Review copies of books by Quaker authors or of interest to Friends Journal readers may be mailed to our address, “Attn: Book Review Editor.” If you would like to become a reviewer, please contact us.
Milestones: Births, adoptions, marriages/unions, and obituaries. Click through for instructions and the submission form. You may also submit by email to [email protected] or by postal mail to Milestones Editor, Friends Journal, 1216 Arch Street, Suite 2D, Philadelphia, PA 19107-2835.
Quaker Works: semiannual feature dedicated to connecting Friends Journal readers to the good works of Quaker organizations; the column is published in the April and October issues each year. Organizations must meet certain criteria in order to be included; click through for details and upcoming deadlines (submit in mid-February and mid-August).
Friends Journal Style Guide: Our frequently updated in-house style sheet includes guidelines for uniquely Quaker stylistic issues and also includes links to reference material by other Quaker and progressive organizations.