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.

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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:

We keep two issues a year un-themed in order to highlight extraordinary articles of interest to the Quaker community. You can submit these pieces as General Feature Submissions, but 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 May 2018 post, 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.

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 at our 2018 Editor’s Desk blog post: Tips for Writing for Friends Journal Open Issues

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

For many Friends in the Friends Journalaudience, there are few topics more fraught than race and racism. We look at our collective history—slavery and anti-slavery campaigning, Indian and freed African American boarding schools, the U.S. Civil Rights movement—and react with equal parts pride and shame. Earlier Friends reacted to the racial issues of their day in complicated ways that often defy good/evil narratives or easy stereotypes.

We’ve inherited something of a hot mess. Many unprogrammed meetings are far more white than the communities in which they reside. Some of this is a result of a forces beyond meetinghouse walls: residential zoning, population shifts, large-scale segregation. Our beginnings as a movement of British dissenters also plays a role, of course, as does the tangled mix of ethnicity and folkways that make up Quaker culture.

But these days, relatively few Friends come from unbroken Quaker lineages tracing back to seventeenth-century England. Even many of the Friends born into our religious society hail from families with Quaker histories only one or two generations deep. But many of our newcomers are less diverse than random chance would predict.

The uncomfortable ironies only deepen if you step outside of the traditional Friends Journal audience of North American unprogrammed Friends. Most of the world’s Friends live in Central Africa, especially Kenya and Burundi. Large populations of Friends also live in Latin America, in countries like Bolivia and Guatemala. The culture of these communities reflect the missionary-minded Friends that founded them, and theology, language, and worship style divide us—but so too do the complexions of our congregations.

In 2012, Donna McDaniel and Vanessa Julye did a remarkable job chronicling Quaker discrimination in the landmark book Fit for Freedom, Not for Friendship. In recent years, various Friends Journalwriters have shared heartbreaking stories of not feeling completely welcome in Quaker circles. How do we make sure that everyone feels fit for our religious friendship? How do we figure out which parts of Quaker culture arise from our core beliefs and which perhaps are relics of white culture that should be dispensed with?

Short description:

What’s holding Quakers back from being more racially diverse? What opportunities and challenges does diversity bring? What sorts of language or practices might we need to reconsider in order to make ourselves more attractive to racial groups that are underrepresented in our meetings? What Quaker principles might we need to reconfirm to give us an identity worth joining?

Note: All poetry submissions here.

It can be comforting to talk amongst ourselves and debate nuances of Quaker lingo in Quaker conferences, but what happens when we move outside our meetinghouse walls? How do our values follow us into the world?

Note: All poetry submissions here.

So how many Quakers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Share your corniest Quaker jokes but also tell us stories of humor overcoming differences and building bridges. 

Note: All poetry submissions here.

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 deaths. 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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