FIYAH is a quarterly speculative fiction magazine that features stories by and about Black people of the African Diaspora. This definition is globally inclusive (Black anywhere in the world) and also applies to mixed/biracial and Afro-appended people regardless of gender identity or orientation.

Submissions are currently OPEN.

Issue #9: Open (no theme) | Window open October 1, 2018 – October 31, 2018

An open theme means that your story doesn’t need to fit a specific theme, but it must still contain speculative elements. We want to make this disclaimer right out of the gate: An Open issue is not an excuse to send us any and everything you have sitting on your hard drive (and Gdocs because you better be backing stuff up). The stories you send us still need to be uniquely Black. We’re just allowing you the chance to explore that how you want without our guidance.


2019 Upcoming Themes and Submission Schedule

Submissions for each issue will be open for a period of one month, so do pay attention to the dates. Stories sent outside the time frames for each theme will be deleted unread. There is no reason you should be sending us anything at all in February, March, May, June, August, September, November, or December. Pay attention.

Click the theme to expand the description.

Issue #10: Hair | Window open January 1, 2019 - January 31, 2019

If there is any one part of the black body that is targeted for obsession the most; it is our hair. Natural. Weave. Dye. Fade. High top. Dreadlocks. You name a style and a black person somewhere, somehow pulls it off with magical ease. But for every style we rock, there’s someone telling us that it isn’t professional, doesn’t look good, is acquiescing to colonialism or some other no good nonsense.

This challenge is prevalent throughout our history and to the modern day. Tignon laws restricting how black women could present their hair were rooted in the jealousy white women had towards black hair because of the perceived lust it caused in white men. In the 70s, we saw the afro flourish as a symbol of revolution and a reclamation of pride still actively trying to be denied us today. How many schoolchildren have been summarily rejected for their hair? How many employees fired for it? Our hair and the majesty of it presents a danger to those who don’t have it.

Look to Medusa as the first example of that fear. The gods couldn’t resist her beauty and she was punished for it (her hair obviously being a symbol for dreads). Funny that even the gods fear us. But not all stories about our hair need to be rooted in that. Send us stories where hair is loved, where it’s accepted and where it’s even worshipped. There are entire myths built around the mystery of our hair. Tap into them and create something that is an expression of love. Or let it be an expression of rage. Anger at a global culture that doesn’t allow you to dictate how you present yourself to the world. No emotion is invalid when looking at the blank canvas of the paper.

And we hope as you write, you embrace more fully the gift that is your hair.

Issue #11: Open (no theme) | Window open April 1, 2019 - April 30, 2019

An open theme means that your story doesn’t need to fit a specific theme, but it must still contain speculative elements. We want to make this disclaimer right out of the gate: An Open issue is not an excuse to send us any and everything you have sitting on your hard drive (and Gdocs because you better be backing stuff up). The stories you send us still need to be uniquely Black. We’re just allowing you the chance to explore that how you want without our guidance.

Issue # 12: Chains | Window open July 1, 2019 - July 31, 2019

The idea of chains carries a heavy context for black folks across the globe. The most visceral imagery of chains bears the weight of the Middle Passage, colonialism, antebellum slavery and modern day mass incarceration. But it runs deeper than that and in so many ways our global community carries chains unseen.

There have been studies conducted showing that the stress of racism is shortening the lifespan of African Americans and that generational trauma is transferred in our DNA. What is that if not a chain? Too many of us live in oppressive governments that restrict our movement, criminalize our bodies and trap us in spiraling cycles of labor that are to everyone’s benefit but our own. And despite what your resident #AllLivesMatter supporter will tell you, being a millionaire in the NFL is its own kind of chain too.

So these are the stories we’re looking for. Ones that explore the ways systems entrap us, but also the ways we circumvent them and rise up against them. For when they forced Christianity on us, we simply changed the names of our gods to fit theirs. When we grew tired of their brutality, we rose up and took an island as ours. Perhaps one day we’ll take a planet. Maybe there are worlds where we’ve lived free existences because we shed ourselves of chains long ago. Or there could be just one of us finding a way to slide out of a personal chain. Because all of our trauma allows us to imprison ourselves too.

However you decide to delve into it, understand that writing is an exercise in freedom. Writing is a breaking of chains.


Fiction Guidelines

We accept submissions of short fiction 2,000 – 7,000 words and novelettes up to 15,000 words.

We are looking for brave works of speculative short fiction by authors from the African continent and diaspora that reject regressive ideas of blackness, respectability politics, and stereotype. Please submit your bravest, blackest, most difficult to sell stories to us. We want to read them.

We want stories that are well written, of high quality, and generally easy to read on a screen.

We are open to receiving stories around many themes, but we will immediately reject stories that feature any of the following:

  • Graphic depictions of rape or sexual assault
  • Needless brutalization of women and children
  • Depictions of brutalization or abuse of people with disabilities
  • Graphic abuse of animals

We are only considering unpublished work, and we are not considering reprints (work that has been published in another magazine or on your blog) or fan fiction.

We do not accept multiple submissions, so please wait until you have heard a response to a submission before submitting again.

We do not accept simultaneous submissions.

We are only accepting submission from authors from the African diaspora and the African continent because #BlackWritersMatter. This is an intersectional definition of blackness, and we strongly encourage submissions from women, members of the LGBTQIA community, and members from other underrepresented communities within the African diaspora.

Poetry

What we want in speculative poetry is verse that struggles, reveals, instructs, comforts, and fights back. We are looking for weird, complex, honest and challenging work with a clear speculative element from black authors. You can check out this post from our Poetry Editor for more on what we’d like to see in your poetry.

 


Submission Formatting 

  • The subject line of your submission must read “FICTION SUBMISSION: [Story Title]”.
  • Submissions should include a cover letter written in the body of the email. Click here to learn more about how to write a professional cover letter.
  • Submissions should be attached as a .doc/.docx file to your submission email. Stories pasted into the body of an email will not be accepted.
  • Submissions should be submitted in proper short story manuscript format with your name, address, email address, and the story’s total word count on the first page. Click here for an example of proper short story manuscript format.
  • Email your submission to: submissions@fiyahlitmag.com

 

For Poetry

  • The subject line of your submission must read “POETRY SUBMISSION: [Poem Title]”. Include a cover letter written in the body of the email.
  • Attach your poetry submission as a .doc file. Poems pasted into the body of an email will not be accepted.
  • You may submit up to four separate poems, but each poem must be submitted separately, in its own email.
  • Many of the guidelines about short prose still apply here. That means: no graphic violence or abuse, no reprints (including work that you’ve shared on your social networks), and no simultaneous submissions.

Payment and Rights

Our payment schedule is as follows:

Short stories (2,000 – 7,000 words): $150 USD

Novelettes (<15,000 words): $300 USD

Poetry: $50 USD

FIYAH will publish accepted stories in a quarterly ebook magazine format, as well as archiving them on our website. Thus, FIYAH will claim first world electronic rights, nonexclusive archival rights, and nonexclusive anthology rights to your story.

This means that we are buying the rights to publish your story on FIYAH’s website and in electronic issues of our magazine. This also means that you can only publish your story as a reprint after it appears in FIYAH, and it cannot appear anywhere else online or in print prior to submission, or for 180 days after we publish it. After that it can be reprinted online, in a magazine, or in an anthology.

 

Response Times

Response time will vary by volume of submissions. You may query after one month, and  please include the date that you submitted and the title of your story.

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