Submissions: Write for Friends Journal

Information on upcoming issues and behind‐the‐scenes news from FJ’s editors.

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]​friendsjournal.​org 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/​l​e​gal. Advertising reservation deadlines typically occur a few days after our editorial deadlines; check our Advertising page for specific dates.

Click for downloadable flyer.

Upcoming themes

Most of our monthly issues are built around themes (full list from 2012–2019), which in turn means that most of the featured articles we publish are written for particular issues. We write about upcoming issues in our Editor’s Desk blog:

Would you like to know when we post new Editor’s Desk stories? You can sign up for our super low‐volume email list here.

We keep two issues a year un‐themed in order to highlight extraordinary articles of interest to the Quaker community. Please be aware that competition for these issues is particularly high and decision timelines can be longer given the twice‐annual publishing schedule. Potential authors might want to read our Tips for Writing for Friends Journal Open Issues.

Feature articles generally run from 1,200 to 2,500 words. We strongly prefer material that has not already been published elsewhere, either in print or electronic form, including on personal blogs. Please submit all poetry to our specific category for poetry.

Fast Facts: 

Friends Journal is looking to devote our May issue to competition. It’s a fascinating topic that doesn’t always get talked about. Old versions of our books of Faith and Practicehave cautions that indirectly relate to competition: our aversion to gambling and games of chance; a commitment to equality and the valuing of a kind of personal humility that keeps individuals from standing out.

If you look back through Friends Journal archives, you’ll find warnings against competitive behavior. In 1955 Bess B. Lane of Swarthmore (Pa.) Meeting wrote that schools should “Place emphasis on cooperation, sharing, rather than on competition” and wondered if “competition is being overstressed in our schools.”

In 1972, Christopher H. Anderson, then a senior at Wilmington College, had stronger words. He contrasted his Quaker education with public schools, which he said “breed a social conformity, an intellectual blandness and a repugnant spirit of competition.”

By the mid‐1970s you see a comprehensive Quaker vision coming out of the antiwar movement. It tied seemingly disparate issues such school bullying, military recruitment, war toys, and domestic violence against women. One of the most popular tools were collections of cooperative games for kids. These books ended up on the shelves of most meetinghouses libraries and were brought out for innumerable Quaker gatherings.

I no longer hear as much talk about the potential dangers of competition. FGC kids have been playing the game Wink forever (it’s said to be adapted from a nineteenth‐century parlor game and has survived various attempts to squash it). Various role‐playing games are quite popular among younger Friends. Most Quaker schools have sports teams, debate clubs, etc. Many Quakers participate in competitive sports and even more follow professional sports. Much of our lives are a careful balancing act between competition and cooperation. Is non‐competition still a strong Quaker value?

The May issue will also include our annual Student Voices Project, a chance to hear from middle‐ and high‐school students who are Quaker or attend Quaker schools (do you know someone who should write? Learn more at Friendsjournal​.org/​s​t​u​d​e​n​t​v​o​i​c​es/). Here are some queries we came up for them as they consider competition in their lives. They might be useful for anyone thinking about feature writing for this issue:

  • How does competition fit in with the Quaker testimony of equality?
  • What do you learn about yourself and others when engaging in competition?
  • What does it mean to win or lose?
  • How much does outcome matter in reflecting someone’s gifts, abilities, or worth?
  • How has competition helped you grow or change?
  • How do you encourage others to compete and challenge each other in ways that build community?

How do our food choices reflect our values? From eating in ways that reduce our environmental impact to connecting with others through the hospitality of food, our relationships to food have a greater impact than simply nourishing our bodies. Due March 11, 2019.

Friends Journal’s QuakerSpeak video series began five years ago. In that time, over two million people have tuned in to watch our short videos about Quaker practice, theology, activism, history, and ministry. How has QuakerSpeak changed how the world sees us and how we see ourselves? How do Friends use it in meetings and First‐day schools? Due May 13, 2019.

We will stop collecting new submissions for the September 2019 issue on 6/10/2019.

Since 2012, most of the monthly issues of Friends Journal have been set aside for specific themes. Every eighteen months or so we poll readers and dream up ideas for future issues. Sometimes we’ll be inspired by a particular article that struck a chord with readers; other times we’ll look at a topic that Friends aren’t talking about enough. There are some relatively perennial themes (race, art, finance, social witness, outreach), but even with these, we try to find hooks that might bring fresh voices to the conversation.

We also keep two 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 us without regard to our schedules. 

Please be aware that since we only run two un‐themed issues a year, response times can be longer on these, from 3–9 months.

Learn more: Tips for Writing for Friends Journal Open Issues

Also, please note: All poetry should be submitted separately here.

Half of the world’s Friends live in Africa; Kenya alone has almost twice as many Friends as the United States. But the African yearly meetings’ beginnings as missions from evangelical Friends created theological and cultural gaps with American unprogrammed Friends from the start. How do we begin to bridge differences and learn from one another? Due July 8, 2019.

One of the most important historic Quaker testimonies stood against gambling, yet it’s a topic we rarely seem to talk about anymore. Do we participate in raffles or games of chance? Does it matter? How about investments in the stock market? Does gambling foster materialism? Is it an addiction we need to work against? Due August 12, 2019.

One of the things that define many of us as Friends is our reliance on Quaker process for decision making. What is it? How does it different from consensus? How do we respectfully adapt it for non‐spiritual uses? Where did it come from and is it really still the best way of making every kind of decision? Due July 13, 2020.

Future themes:
August 2019: QuakerSpeak at Five
September 2019: Open Issue
October 2019: Friends in Africa
November 2019: Gambling
December 2019: Quaker Kids
January 2020: Drugs
February 2020: Open Issue
March 2020: Unnamed Quaker Creeds
April 2020: The State of Quaker Institutions
May 2020: Thin Spaces
June/July 2020: Membership and Friends
August 2020: Pastoral Friends
September 2020: Open Issue
October 2020: Quaker Process
November 2020: Quakers in Translation
December 2020: Emerging Witnesses

News & other departments:

  • ForumReader responses, limited to 300 words.
  • Viewpoints: short general reflections of 600–800 words.
  • PoetryWe generally publish 2–3 poems in each issue. Please use this form for all poetry, even poems that might be intended for specific issues.
  • Art and Photographs (Flickr): If you wish to send us graphic material that’s not attached to any article, please feel free to join our Flickr group.
  • Departments: Shorter articles (about 1,000 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.
  • MilestonesBirths, adoptions, marriages/unions, and obituaries. Click through for instructions and the submission form. You may also submit by email to [email protected]​friendsjournal.​org, by fax to (215) 568‑1377, 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.
  • Student Voices Project: Our annual student writing issue. The latest appears in the May 2018 issue.

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