Voiceworks is a national literary journal, featuring new fiction, nonfiction, poetry, visual art and comics by Australians under the age of 25. Voiceworks is produced entirely by people yet to hit the quarter-century mark and relies on contributions from readers to make up its content. Each selected piece goes through a collaborative editing process, and individualised feedback is provided for all unsuccessful written submissions. All published contributors are paid for their work.
Nonfiction pitches—Sunday 10 January, 11:59pm AEDT
Fiction, completed nonfiction and poetry—Sunday 17 January, 11:59pm AEDT
Art, comics and comic pitches—Sunday 7 February, 11:59pm AEDT
Current Theme: Reflex
The moro reflex begins at 2 months, triggered by a sudden lack of support: flinging the arms open wide, pulling them close, crying. You remember tracing shapes on an infant’s palm—round and round the garden, like a teddy bear—and the baby’s finger curling around your own, reaching, holding.
Send all the messages you’ve saved in your notes. Impulse, not introspection. The counsellor tells you to stop and notice and record the physical feeling if possible, record it on your phone if there’s no time to stop and write it down. Later, you find a phone memo that says: fidgety, heart pumping, throat tightening, hot, cold, breathless.
The lights go on. Can you see your reflection in the daze? You hear your own voice before you open your mouth. You’ve tasted the syllables and the tone you’ll adopt. Relaxed body posture, sit back in your right hip, hands alive, now stride. A singular persona. An icon on stage. Reflexivity—the process of becoming self-aware. You’ve been practicing in front of the mirror your whole life.
Re Flex. What made you feel strong? What makes you feel strong?
~Thanks to EdCommers Zowie Douglas-Kinghorn and Michelle Wang for the blurb~
Remember, you don’t have to stick to the theme! Our themes are a prompt more than anything else—a springboard to get the creative ideas flowing. Most of all, we just want good work.
Voiceworks accepts fiction, poetry, nonfiction, art and comics, but before you send your work our way, here are some rules:
We are only able to publish writers and artists who are under the age of 25 (that is, 24 and under) at the time of submission.
We only accept work by people living in Australia (including international students) or by Australians living overseas.
We only consider previously unpublished work.
Each category has its own submission page with specific guidelines, but here are the basics:
Fiction: send no more than two stories, each no more than 3,000 words.
Poetry: send no more than three poems, each no more than 100 lines. We recommend reading our poetry guide here before sending us your work.
Nonfiction: we recommend that you pitch your nonfiction work before sending it to us. Head here for advice on how to construct your pitch and write good nonfiction. For completed work, send no more than two pieces, each no more than 3,000 words.
Art and comics: please keep in mind, we print in duotone (only two colours of ink) and our page dimensions are 170 x 245 mm. We recommend you pitch your comics before sending them to us. For advice on how to pitch your comics, check out our handy guide here. Please send no more than three artworks or comics.
We encourage you to submit across genres, but please send us no more than four submissions in total (excluding comics and art).
What we’re looking for
The best way to get a sense of the kinds of work we publish is to read Voiceworks! You can get yourself a copy by ordering it online, subscribing or by looking for it at your local or school library or one of these stockists.
Voiceworks publishes a varied selection of short stories, poems, nonfiction, art and comics. We’re keen to read more experimental writing—think stylistically playful stuff, and work that blurs the boundaries between nonfiction, fiction and poetry.
We’re always on the lookout for writing in all of these forms, but we’re especially keen for more nonfiction submissions. We get far more people sending us fiction and poetry than nonfiction. This means we want to read more of it, and frankly your odds of publication are better if you send us some. This doesn’t mean we compromise on the standard of nonfiction we publish—it needs to have a specific angle and offer some sort of insight, whether that’s a keen interest in researching something, expert knowledge on a topic, a unique experience or perspective, or a combination of these things. We recommend you pitch your nonfiction before sending it to us, especially if you’re not sure if your piece appropriate, or what you want to do with it. Pitching is our chance to help you out before you submit. So before you send us your work, we (strongly) urge you to read our handy nonfiction guide on how to construct your pitch and write good nonfiction in general.
The same goes for art and comics—we receive fewer art submissions than in written categories, and want to publish more of it inside Voiceworks. But before you send it our way, be sure to flip through a copy of the mag to make sure your work is suited to the page dimensions, colour limitations and design specifications of Voiceworks.
Rates of pay
$100 for written work and art
$150 for multi-page comics or suites of art
For more information, visit the Voiceworks website.