Iron Horse Literary Review  publishes short fiction, poetry, and nonfiction.

General Guidelines:

 • All manuscripts must be submitted online, via Submittable. We do not accept submissions via regular mail or email.

 • Our submission gates open and close on a rolling basis between mid-August and mid-April each year. Please observe our submission periods; we reject manuscripts that do not fit the theme or genre of that submission period, without comment. See the table on our website for dates and topics. If the gate is not open, do not attempt to submit by purchasing a back issue or any other item. Wait till the gate is open.

 • We do not publish previously published materials.

• Regular submissions: Prose writers should send one manuscript (5,500 words or less); poets should send 3-5 poems. Manuscripts that do not meet these parameters will be rejected, without comment.

• Longer manuscripts must be entered in our annual Trifecta Competition (Prose: one essay or story, 25-40 pages; poetry: a single poem, 10-20 pages long). We reject, without comment, any long manuscripts that come in during other submission periods.

• We review only three manuscripts by any one author during any one academic year; subsequent manuscripts by the same author will be automatically rejected.

• Iron Horse accepts simultaneous submissions but please inform us immediately if a submission is taken elsewhere. Just send us a note through Submishmash or via email: ihlr.mail@gmail.com. We'll be happy for you and will much appreciate the head's up.

• Upon publication, we provide an honorarium of $50 per poem or flash piece and $100 per story or essay. Trifecta winners (one each in poetry, nonfiction, and fiction) receive $250. The Single-Author Chapbook winner receives $1,000. Prizes for filmfest winners include $300 (Editor's Prize) and $200 (Audience Award).

• Please include a COVER LETTER with your name, email address, and the title(s) of work submitted, but paste your COVER LETTER into the appropriate field in Submittable. Do NOT include your cover letter inside the manuscript itself--not as the first or any page inside the submission. We will immediately REJECT manuscripts including cover letters.

We recommend that you familiarize yourself with IHLR before you submit your work. Find more about the current issue as well as subscription information on our website.

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For further information on any topic, send us an email.

Iron Horse Literary Review charges a $3 submission fee for each regular manuscript submitted to our office (our various competitions have entry fees). Like every literary journal in the country, we're compelled to demonstrate that we are both a fruitful project, with many benefits, as well as self-sufficient rather than a drain on limited funds. Together, with your help, we can keep the literary arts alive, and we hope you will be happy to spend $3 for your submission rather than giving that money to an office supply store and the post office.

Thank you for your continued support of Iron Horse! Without writers, we wouldn't even exist--




Iron Horse is accepting submissions for our annual single-author issue. For the 2020 Chapbook Competition, we will select a winning collection of FICTION: a novella, or four to five ten-page stories, or a collection of flash stories or some similar set-up, but all FICTION. We are not accepting hybrids this year.


Manuscripts should be 40 - 56 pages, double-spaced, each story or chapter starting on a new page. The winning manuscript will be published in the Fall of 2020  as a separate issue (Volume 22.4). Full-color cover art will reflect the collection’s content and emphasize its title, not the name of Iron Horse.  The published chapbook will look like the single-author book that it  is. The winner also receives a $1,000 honorarium and 15 copies.


This year's judge is Kerry Beth Neville. To learn more about her, visit our website.


Formatting Instructions: 

Entries  must be between 40 and 56 manuscript pages, with each story or chapter starting on a new page. 

Manuscripts must be typed, with one-inch  margins, 12-point font. 

While individual portions of the chapbook may  have been published elsewhere, the chapbook as a whole must be  previously unpublished. 

The author’s name and contact information must  appear on the Submittable form, but it must NOT appear anywhere on the  manuscript. There should be no footers or headers containing the  author's identity. And no bio page. Manuscripts with biographical information will be disqualified. 

Do not include acknowledgments of previous publications. Manuscripts including an  acknowledgments page will be disqualified. 

Pages must be numbered.

We  only accept electronic manuscripts, submitted as ONE pdf file, with the entire chapbook in that single file. Do NOT submit essays or stories in individual files. 

Entries failing to meet formatting instructions will be automatically disqualified.


The $18 entry fee includes a one year's subscription to IHLR. 

Submissions will be accepted between January 13 and  March 15.
Additional questions should be directed to the editors at ihlr.mail@gmail.com.



Iron Horse publishes fiction that earns a deliberate rather than dismissive read. To this end, we look for fiction that was written carefully, demonstrates a mature understanding of literature, and reveals the writer’s control over language and narrative. We do not accept work that merely conveys an emotion. The story must be crafted by a skilled writer and engage the reader’s intelligence, imagination, and sense of humanity. More specifically, we enjoy stories with developed characters, consistent points-of-view, vivid and symbolic settings, true dialogue, thought-provoking themes, and believable plots (even when situated in fabulism). A good fiction writer also knows how to use figurative language, the sound of words, and the rhythm of prose sentences—techniques that grant prose the musical qualities of poetry. We're looking to include a range of voices and experiences.

For our print issues, we read flash and stories up to 6,000 words. Longer stories should be submitted for our annual Trifecta, not here. We accept simultaneous submissions, but please let us know if the story is taken elsewhere the moment that happens.

For the IHLR NewsFlash, we seek brief essays, stories, or poems that respond to immediate current events. We will not publish work that supports hate or racism, that disrespects science or journalism, or promotes falsehoods and/or bigotry. Prose should be no longer than 800 words; poetry should be no longer than 25 lines.


We will receive only 20 submissions per week in this category, but will read them year-round--because the world never rests, even if our office is closed. The submission gate for NewsFlash opens every Monday morning at 10 a.m. CST, and closes as soon as we hit submission twenty. We'll reopen the gates the following Monday.


We will accept the best ones. Maybe 20 in some weeks, but maybe none in others--though we're hoping to accept at least two a week. 


We do not pay for every manuscript we publish as part of our NewsFlash series--the series will move too quickly, and the payment process is so laborious--but we will select the best one we publish in a year's time and award that writer $200.   





fiction: Meredith Hardwicke Jensen, Denton Loving

poetry: Allison Adair, Bess Cooley, Annie Livingston, Lynn Otto, Katherine Riegel

nonfiction: Jackie Connelly, Brenda Taulbee, Annie Warner





Iron Horse Literary Review has been in print for 20 years! In that time, we've published 76 issues, including 825 poems, 207 stories, and 97 essays. 


Here, in this double issue, we're including our most beloved selections: our favorite 7 stories, 4 essays, and 26 poems:

  • Best of IHLR Fiction: shane castle | aaron gwyn | gina ochsner | lucas southworth | e.m. tran | anne valente | kennedy weible   
  • Best of IHLR Nonfiction: lina maria ferreira cabeza-vanegas | gary fincke | elizabeth horneber | michelle valois
  • Best of IHLR Poetry: nin andrews | lauren berry | nickole brown | m. soledad caballero | ching-in chen | tiana clark | chad davidson | erica dawson | stephen dunn | ryler dustin | jaclyn dwyer | carolina ebeid | bob hicok | carrie jerrell | tyehimba jess | ted kooser | barbara lau | li-young lee | paige lewis | juan j. morales | cecily parks | katie peterson | carl phillips | saara myrene raappana | karrie waarala | afaa michael weaver

 

Celebrate with us! Read this double issue, featuring these terrific writers, and learn how we selected the works we've included--which will give "insider" insight into our overall preferences and editorial selection process!


Sincerely,
Leslie Jill Patterson, Editor









A year's subscription, for only $18, includes a complete volume of Iron Horse: 5 print issues and 1 electronic issue, PLUS an additional print issue in the next volume.

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Thank you for supporting IHLR, our contributors, and the literary arts. Without subscribers, we wouldn't exist!
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There are four categories of Iron Horse sponsors:

Friends (at the $50 level)

Patrons (at the $100 level)

Benefactors (at the $300 level)

You are choosing to join the Benefactors list! Thank you so much for your generous support! Without our sponsors, Iron Horse would not be the journal it is today. We are so appreciative!

There are four categories of Iron Horse sponsors:

Friends (at the $50 level)

Patrons (at the $100 level)

Benefactors (at the $300 level)

You are choosing to join the Patrons list! Thank you so much for your generous support! Without our sponsors, Iron Horse would not be the journal it is today. We are so appreciative!

There are four categories of Iron Horse sponsors:

Friends (at the $50 level)

Patrons (at the $100 level)

Benefactors (at the $300 level)

You are choosing to join the Friends list! Thank you so much for your generous support! Without our sponsors, Iron Horse would not be the journal it is today. We are so appreciative!

Iron Horse Literary Review