Kestrel: A Journal of Literature and Art

There are presently no open calls for submissions.

Call for THEME ISSUE Submissions: "Loved Labors Lost"
Kestrel invites submissions about work conducted in or beneficial to Appalachia now lost, disappearing, or transforming. The kind of work may range from making a living and industries requiring it, like salt and coal mining; to social activism, like organizing unions and grassroots movements; to personal labors, such as art, cooking, farming, mycology and mushroom hunting, storytelling, painting, music, stump work, herbalism, or orienteering. The people, communities, landscapes, and narratives shaped by labor and its transitions are of particular interest.

For this special issue, expected in summer of 2017, we welcome poetry, critical and creative nonfiction pieces, fiction, book reviews, and visual artwork, including plastic arts. Kestrel prefers submissions through Submittable, but will also accept work through surface mail. Please provide an SASE for a reply; please do not expect notification through email. Submissions sent through ground mail will likely and unfortunately wait longer for decisions, but we strive to respond within three months. Please provide a cover letter addressed to the relevant editor that usefully frames your submission rather than a mini-cv, and let us know how you learned about the journal. Work submitted that does not fit the however loose boundaries of this topic will be considered for future issues of Kestrel, but please note in your cover letter whether you intend the work for the special issue. This reading period runs November 1-January 31.


Kestrel publishes fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction by established and emerging writers. We are especially happy to publish work by West Virginia and Appalachian writers. Kestrel features visual art in each issue, as well.  

You can submit through Submittable for a $3.00 fee or send hard copy via regular post during the following reading periods:

November 1-January 31 (spring issue) 

May 1-July 31 (fall issue)

Poetry: Kestrel welcomes poems of all genres, styles, and traditions, including experimental and hybrid forms, as well as poetry in translation. Send 3-5 of your best poems during one of our reading periods.   

Fiction: Kestrel is open to any genre of short fiction that questions assumptions and moves us to reconsider everyday life. We enjoy stories with believable plots, developed characters, consistent points-of-view, vivid and symbolic settings, true dialogue, and thought-provoking themes, though we also enjoy experimental writing that makes new the expected conventions. 5,000 words maximum.

Non-Fiction: Creative nonfiction, memoir, or literary essays are preferred. Subject matter may vary but attention to writing as craft and art is paramount; the attention to diction, syntax, and detail should delight and surprise. We appreciate writing that makes a subject's complexity understandable and its familiarity new. We expect non-fiction to be non-fiction. 

Reviews: Kestrel recently began publishing reviews of newly-published poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Please query via email. See featured reviews from Issue 29 at

Visual Art: Submissions to Kestrel may be made in any medium. Image resolution should be at least 300 dpi and in .jpg format. We publish full-color and black and white images. Kestrel may use images for publicity purposes.

An SASE is required for response if sending through snail mail. Only previously unpublished work will be considered. Kestrel retains first North American rights only. Contributors receive two copies.  Address your submission to the appropriate editor (fiction, poetry, nonfiction, visual art).

Simultaneous submissions are accepted; immediate notification of a manuscript accepted elsewhere is expected, preferably via email at   

Allow three months for our response before inquiring about your submission, and restrict yourself to one submission per calendar year.

 All accepted work is for the print publication; select work may be featured on our website.  

Submissions may be mailed to: 

Kestrel Department of Language and Literature

Fairmont State University

1201 Locust Avenue

Fairmont, WV 26554

Attn: [genre] Editor