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@example.com 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.
Most of our monthly issues are built around themes, 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. 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.
Upcoming General Submissions Deadlines:
- 2022: Nov. 21
- 2023: Jan. 16, May 22, Nov. 20
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.
How do we repair past injustices? For many of us around the world the greatest collective sins in our past are the twin horrors of the genocide and displacement of Indigenous peoples and the centuries of chattel slavery that built our countries and fortunes. Quakers actively participated in both in complicated ways: despite some clear-eyed visionaries our hands are far from clean. What are our responsibilities today? What is being done? What should be done?
Submissions due 10/17/2022.
Quakers are distributed very unevenly in many parts of the U.S. and world. There are many would-be Friends that have no physical meeting or Friends church nearby. There are also small meetings and worship groups isolated from other meetings by hundreds of miles. How do we pull isolated Friends closer into our religious fellowship? Traveling ministers once linked isolated meetings and helped knit them into culture of wider Friends. How are we doing that today? What tools and practices do we have to support those at a distance?
Submissions due 12/19/2022.
We’d like to open up the issue to the spirituality of food: how do we produce it, how do we consume it? Food is also the heart of communal human behavior: how do we share it in our Quaker and outward communities? Friends have long been involved in farming: how is that occupation faring? And how should we be involved in the sourcing of food?
Submissions due 2/20/2023.
When early Friends did away with the clergy they did away with hierarchy: or did they? Every generation of Friends have had debates over authority and leadership (sometimes fierce enough to lead to schisms) and the Friends Journal news column continues to publish modern-day stories which hinge on questions of power. With the rise of Quaker bureaucracies in the mid-twentieth-century, a new kind of professional leadership has taken hold without always examining the pluses and minuses of these new roles. Quakers also have always benefited from a kind of renegade authority from below–think of a figure like Benjamin Lay, speaking a truth to the power of the slave-owning Quaker leadership of the time, expelled from membership. How do we encourage this kind of leadership—and how might we be discouraging it today?
Submissions due 3/20/2023.
Yes, there are some Friends meetings and churches with a healthy mix of ages. But there are many more that are graying. Like many denominations today we are having a hard time retaining young people and attracting young families. How can we turn this around? How to we bring children, teens, and young adults into the life of the meeting? What supports and education do we give? How do we balance freedom and exploration with safety and instruction? And how do we invite them back into the life of meetings after school and work travel have settled them elsewhere?
Submissions due 6/19/2023.
A look at our relationship with other denominations and faiths. What do Friends raised in other traditions bring to us? What of Friends whose spirituality also embraces other faiths? How do we make common ground with other Christians? What is the balance between keeping to our own traditions and opening up to others?
Submission due 7/17/2023.
In November 2021 we published our first issue dedicated to Quaker fiction, specifically speculative and science fiction. This year we’re opening it up to all genres—romance, action-adventure, suspense, young adult, and more. Surprise us with your work!
Submissions due 8/21/2023.
In Genesis 2:15 it is said that God put us “into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.”What is the right relationship between humans and the world? What are our responsibilities for caring for the earth and other creatures? How do we use our talents to glorify God’s creations? What are Friends doing to promote sustainability, both on the personal and political level?
Submissions due 9/18/2023.
A fairly wide-open topic for Friends to consider: what does it mean to forgive? Are there any preconditions? Any limitations? What does forgiveness do to us and to the forgiven?
Submissions due 10/16/2023.
What is prayer? How does it work? How does it differ from the modern Quaker idea of holding in the Light?
Submissions due 12/18/2023.
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.
- 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 1,500 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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. Deadlines for 2019: February 11, 2019, and August 12, 2019.
- Student Voices Project: Our annual student writing issue. The latest appears in the May 2019 issue.