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The Veterans Writing Project is pleased to call for submissions for a Special Issue of O-Dark-Thirty/The Review dedicated to writing from veterans and family members of color, to be published in November 2018. The issue is designed to amplify and showcase the voices of writers of color in the broader community of military writers. Submissions need not be about issues of race or military service. Selection will be based solely on literary merit; submissions will be read and chosen by the following guest editors:

Senior Editor: Matthew Komatsu. Matthew Komatsu is an author, currently serving veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and graduate of the University of Alaska-Anchorage’s MFA in Creative Writing (Nonfiction). He has published essays and reviews in The New York Times; War, Literature and the Arts; Brevity; StorySouth; Stoneboat Literary Review; METER Magazine; The Southeast Review; The Sierra Nevada Review; The Normal School; Foreign Policy; The Millions and on stage at Anchorage, AK’s Arctic Entries. His work has been nominated twice for Pushcart Prizes and earned him a 2017 Alaska Literary Award.

Nonfiction Editor: Drew Pham. Drew Pham is a Brooklyn based writer and contributing editor at The Wrath Bearing Tree. In 2010, he deployed to Afghanistan with the 10th Mountain Division. Follow Drew on Twitter @Drewspeak.

Fiction Editor: M. L. Doyle. M. L. Doyle has served in the U.S. Army at home and abroad for more than three decades as both a soldier and civilian and calls on those experiences in much of her writing. The Master Sergeant Harper mystery series has earned numerous awards and five star reviews from readers who enjoy a strong female lead in a noir mystery which happens to involve military life. Each book in the three-book series features a location in which Mary served in uniform. The first book, The Peacekeeper’s Photograph, was penned based on experiences while deployed to the peacekeeping mission in Bosnia. She is the co-author of two memoirs; A Promise Fulfilled; the story of a Wife and Mother, Soldier and General Officer (Jan. 2013) and the memoir of former POW Shoshana Johnson, I’m Still Standing: From Captive U.S. Soldier to Free Citizen—My Journey Home (Touchstone, 2010), which was nominated for an NAACP Image award. She is also the author of several novellas spanning genres from romance to mystery and is currently at work on an urban fantasy series.

Poetry Editor: Suzanne Rancourt. Suzanne Rancourt was born and raised in the mountains of West Central Maine. Her art and counseling practice both draw on her Native American heritage and her experiences with formal education, military service, and 30+ years of professional practice. A survivor, she has been challenged with her own learning disabilities, head injuries, and exposure to domestic violence.

The reading period for this issue will commence on April 16 and will end at midnight on July 31. Submissions received after this deadline will only be considered for subsequent regular issues.

Submission guidelines are as follows:

  1. Submissions from any writer who self-identifies as a writer of color will be considered.
  2. Submissions must be accompanied by a cover letter that includes the author’s name, address, phone number, email address, brief biographical note that includes how the author identifies, and relevant cultural and ethnic information.
  3. The cover letter must also specify the submitter’s connection to the armed forces (active duty, Guard/Reserve, veteran, family member).
  4. Submissions must be the author’s original, unpublished work.
  5. We will consider only ONE prose submission of up to 5,000 words or one submission of up to THREE poems from each potential contributor. Submissions in excess of these guidelines, either in word count or number of pieces submitted, will be automatically declined.




People are incarcerated in time of peace and in war. We also trap ourselves in situations, relationships, and ways of thought from which it may seem impossible to escape. Submissions for this theme may be on any of these topics—or other ways in which people find themselves imprisoned, literally or figuratively—and need not be on the military experience.

Contributors must be active duty, Reserve, Guard, veterans, or military family members. Please indicate your military connection in your cover letter to avoid processing delays, and indicate that your submission is for the August themed issue.

For additional important submission information, please see our complete submission guidelines for all issues, below.


This is a journal of writing by veterans, service members, and their adult family members. We seek quality, literary writing on any topic.

We have two sections. The first, The Report, is our core. It is a rolling scroll of stories by our friends and readers. Think of this as a sort of reverse blog: instead of coming here to see what we’re thinking about and writing, come here to see what other people are thinking about and writing–in fiction, creative non-fiction, and poetry. These works will receive only the lightest of review by our staff, mostly for content (some subject matter isn’t appropriate for all readers) but occasionally for spelling or grammar, etc.

The second is our quarterly literary journal, called The Review. All works submitted to O-Dark-Thirty will be considered for publication in The Review. Works accepted will undergo a rigorous review process by our editorial board and may require some back and forth between the editors and the author.

Our editorial style is more curatorial than judgmental. Our editors curate the works submitted to this site. Works that really knock our socks off might be placed in the quarterly review alongside works that we think best support a theme or other goal for that edition. But the same work might go to The Report simply because we want to get it out as soon as possible or because it just didn’t fit with other pieces in The Review.

We accept submissions year round of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. If you want to write for us you should be a veteran, a service member (active or reserve), or a service member or veteran’s family member. Your submissions should be previously unpublished (see below for our definition of exactly what “published” means) and should conform to these standards:

  • Fiction: works under 2500 words are more likely to be published. We won’t consider anything over 5000;
  • Non-fiction, should be true and around 2500 words are more likely to be published;
  • Poetry, three poems per submission.

Please only send one submission at a time: one piece of fiction or non-fiction, or one batch of three poems.

The VWP acquires first-time North American rights. After publication, all rights revert to the author and may be reprinted as long as appropriate acknowledgement to O-Dark-Thirty is made.

We will consider simultaneous submissions, but request that you inform us immediately if your work is accepted elsewhere.

We cannot provide payment for publishing your work. If your work is selected for The Review we’ll send you a copy of that and you can purchase additional copies at a reduced rate. It is also our goal to print an anthology of our best works. If your work is selected, you will receive a copy of that.

For us “published” means published in print in North America, or published on the Internet in electronic journals, e-zines, academic websites, and other “public” or “official” websites. Posting on a personal blog or website is usually not considered published. If you have questions, ask.

What we mean when we say “should be true.” Call us old fashioned, but we divide the world of prose into fiction and fact. If your story is non-fiction, you are bound by pesky things known as facts. If you weren’t there, don’t say you were. Tell the truth.

What we mean by family member.  Family for us mean spouse or partner, child or grandchild, parent or grandparent, sibling. Please don’t make us play six degrees of separation.

We use Submittable as our submissions manager. Click the link below to go to our Submittable site. Please include in your cover letter some contact information, your connection to the military community, and anything else you think we might want to know about you and the work.

Submit to Veterans Writing Project

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