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 neurodivergence. We strive to promote these voices and perspectives by publishing work based on first-hand lived experience.

You may submit one (1) of the following:

  • NONFICTION—First-hand accounts, personal essays, and memoir. 1 piece, 3000 word limit.
  • FICTION—Creative explorations of life through a mad lens. 1 piece, 3000 word limit.
  • RESEARCH—Studies on mental health that pass a formal ethics review. 1 piece, 3000 word limit.
  • LETTERS—Opinion pieces and letters for our editor or readers. 1 piece, 3000 word limit.

OR four (4) pieces of the following:

  • POETRY—From poets well-versed in mental health challenges. 4 piece limit.
  • EXPERIMENTAL—Thinking and writing outside of the other boxes. 4 piece limit.
  • VISUAL ART—Visual, digital, and mixed media expressions. 4 piece limit.

We do NOT publish excerpts from longer works.

You may submit four pieces total of either poetry, experimental or visual art. For example, you may submit two pieces of art and two pieces of poetry, as long as the total does not exceed four pieces. You may only submit one piece of nonfiction, fiction, research or letters at a time. If you submit more than the limit, your submission will be declined.

We accept simultaneous submissions. Please notify us as soon as possible if your work is accepted elsewhere. We do not accept previously published pieces.

You must be 18 or older to make a submission.

Please note, it may take up to 60 days 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.

Do NOT put any identifying information in your submission

Do NOT put your name, address, email, a cover letter, or any other identification in 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. Writers and artists published in OMQ receive a contributor copy and will receive an honorarium when we can afford to do so (the current honorarium for Winter 2022 is $25). 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.

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 Spring 2022 will be open from October 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021.

Our Spring 2022 issue has no theme. Nonfiction, letters, and research 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 we feel fit our mandate.

We focus on publishing contributors with lived experience and we focus on publishing work based on first-hand experience. We want you to speak about your own experiences with your own voice. We do not publish work that tells other people’s stories for them or tells second-hand stories about them. Stories about how someone else's disorder, condition, or experience makes you feel will be declined. Anything that is disparaging, condescending, harmful, or potentially libelous towards another person or group of people will be declined.

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

Open Minds Quarterly