What We Publish

Open Minds Quarterly is a literary journal that features explorations of life in a mad world. We welcome writing and art from people with lived experience of what is variously called mental health challenges, mental illness, madness, and neurodiversity. We strive to promote these voices and perspectives by publishing work based on first-hand lived experience.

Please note our guidelines have changed as of July 1, 2022 for the Winter 2023 issue!

You may submit to ONE of these categories per submission period:

  • Nonfiction: 1 piece limit, 3000 word maximum.
  • Fiction: 1 piece limit, 3000 word maximum.
  • Poetry: 4 piece limit, 96 lines maximum per poem (this includes stanza breaks, but not the title).
  • Art: Any 2D medium, suitable for print. 4 piece limit, 1 page maximum per piece.
  • Other: Includes experimental pieces, letters, opinion pieces, research, and anything that doesn’t quite fit in the above categories. 1 piece limit, 3000 word maximum.

We will consider only ONE submission per person per submission period. Submitting to more than one category or submitting more than the limit for your category will result in your submission(s) being declined.

We accept simultaneous submissions. Please notify us as soon as possible if your work is accepted elsewhere. We do not publish work that has been selected for publication elsewhere. We do not accept previously published pieces. We do not publish excerpts from longer works.

You must be 18 or older to make a submission.

Please note, it may take up to two months after the submission period has closed to review your submission.

Art submissions are for the interior of the magazine only and will be published in black and white in print, and full colour in our PDFs. Please provide high resolution (300 dpi) files for artwork.

Do NOT put any identifying information in your submission

Do NOT put your name, address, email, a cover letter, or any other identification within the file you submit to us. Our assistant editors conduct blind reviews to ensure fairness. Any submissions that contain identifying information will be declined.

Important Considerations

Diversity: We welcome people belonging to diverse communities to submit to OMQ, and we work to prioritize voices that are currently underrepresented. There is an optional space in the submission process to self-identify as belonging to a number of minority groups, however, as we understand some people may not feel comfortable or safe self-identifying, it is by no means mandatory. Any information you share with us on this subject will be kept strictly confidential.

Payment: OMQ is a project funded by NISA/Northern Initiative for Social Action, a non-profit consumer/survivor initiative in Northern Ontario. Currently, sales and subscription revenues do not cover the cost of publishing the magazine—we do not turn a profit. All sales go directly into the magazine. Contributors published in OMQ will receive a print copy of the issue they are published in and an honorarium (currently $25 CAD). This payment is subject to change.

Publication rights: If your submission is accepted for publication in OMQ, we will ask you to grant us one-time, non-exclusive serial and/or electronic publication rights to your work. That means we’re asking for permission to publish your work once, in the print (serial) and/or future online (electronic) editions of OMQ, but you retain ownership of your work and can freely submit it for publication elsewhere.

Violence and Sexuality: While we do not want to discourage people from submitting pieces about topics that are difficult to discuss, we ask that you consider your audience when writing about sensitive topics. We don’t forbid violence or sexuality in our submissions, but the more graphic your work is, the more likely it is to run the risk of being declined. Anything that is disparaging, condescending, harmful, or potentially libelous towards another person or group of people will be declined.


You can learn more about who we are, what we do, and why we do it on our website: www.openmindsquarterly.com. 

To receive OMQ's calls for submissions by email at the beginning of each submission period, please sign up to our MailChimp list using this form.

If you have any questions, please contact Sabine Gorecki at openminds@nisa.on.ca or 705-222-6472 ext. 303.

Winter 2024 Theme: Identity

Thank you for choosing to submit your work to Open Minds Quarterly! Please read our guidelines and style guide before submitting. Submissions that do not follow our guidelines will be declined.

Submissions for Winter 2024 will be open from Aug 29, 2023 to October 31, 2023.

The theme for Winter 2024 is: Identity
How has your experience with mental health challenges, mental illness, madness, and/or neurodivergence shaped your identity? How do other identities intersect with your experience? Have mental health challenges, mental illness, madness, and/or neurodivergence affected the way you see yourself? What about others? Do you feel your identity is understood by others? What would you like to tell them about it? We want to here all about how identity affects your lived experiences.  
We encourage you to consider this theme and incorporate it into your work. Pieces that follow the theme will have a much higher chance of being selected for this issue than pieces that don't follow the theme.

Nonfiction, reviews,  and letters, should relate specifically to experiences of madness or mental health challenges. Poetry, fiction, or visual art submissions do not need to focus on madness/mental health, but we may prioritize pieces that fit our mandate and this issue's theme.

We focus on publishing contributors with lived experience and work based on first-hand experience. We do not publish work that tells other people's stories for them or tells second-hand stories about them.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with us at openminds@nisa.on.ca or 705-222-6472 ext. 303.

Open Minds Quarterly