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. 

Scroll to the bottom of this page for the link to submit your work electronically. But, please read the guidelines thoroughly first. We must decline submissions that do not follow the guidelines. 

Open Minds Quarterly is a 28-page literary journal that features explorations of life in a mad world. More specifically, it welcomes writing and art from people with lived experience of what is variously called mental health challenges, mental illness, madness, neurodiversity etc. We have a full-colour cover, and all inside pages are black and white. There is also now a FREE/PWYC, full-colour PDF of the magazine available through our website!

OMQ is published in Sudbury, Ontario, in what is currently called Canada, which is Robinson-Huron treaty territory on the traditional lands of the Atikameksheng Anishinawbek and the Wahnapitae First Nation.

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

What We Publish

Please note: The Summer and Winter issues are themed; Fall and Spring issues are open-theme. Our scope is purposefully broad, and OMQ accepts work under the following sections:

  • NONFICTION—First-hand accounts, personal essays, and memoir. 3000 word limit.
  • FICTION—Creative explorations of life through a mad lens. 3000 word limit.
  • POETRY—From poets well-versed in mental health challenges. 4 piece/8 page limit.
  • EXPERIMENTAL—Thinking and writing outside of the other boxes. 4 piece/8 page limit.
  • VISUAL ART—Visual, digital, and mixed media expressions. 4 piece/8 page limit.
  • RESEARCH—Studies on mental health that pass a formal ethics review. 3000 word limit.
  • REVIEWS—Reflections on books, movies, and other art forms. 3000 word limit.
  • LETTERS—Opinion pieces and letters for our editor or readers. 3000 word limit.

A submission is defined as either one piece of prose (including nonfiction, fiction, research, reviews, or letters) of up to 3000 words, or, four pieces of either poetry, experimental work, or visual art, totalling no more than eight pages. To ensure everyone has a fair chance to have their submission carefully and expertly reviewed, we will consider only one submission per person each issue. We accept simultaneous submissions. We very rarely accept previously published pieces, as we prefer to save OMQ's space for people and/or pieces that have not had an audience yet. Please notify us immediately if your submission is accepted elsewhere. 

Important Considerations

Diversity:  We recognize the ongoing discrimination and oppression many of our contributors face—because of colonization, racism, misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, ableism, classism, ageism, capitalism, etc.—and the ways these and other injustices impact people’s (un)wellness. We welcome people belonging to diverse communities to submit to OMQ, and we work to prioritize voices that are currently underrepresented. 

Payment: It is in the best interest of the magazine to compensate our writers for their hard work, and it is in the best interest of Canadian literature on the whole for writers to earn a decent, sustainable income from their work. It is simply fair for publishers to share profits with writers. 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. We are doing everything we can to secure funding for cash payments to everyone who contributes to OMQ. In the meantime, we offer an honorarium of $50 to artists whose work is featured on our front and back covers. Writers and artists published in OMQ receive a contributor copy of the issue in which they are published, and are encouraged to access the FREE/PWYC full-colour PDF of the magazine through our website.

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. This is true whether OMQ is the first place you’ve published your submission, or you have previously published it in another magazine (non-exclusive). If your submission has previously been published in another magazine, book or website, check that they do not own exclusive rights to your work before you submit it to OMQ.

Review process: Submissions to OMQ are reviewed by the editor with the help of one or two assistant editors, who advise the editor on whether to accept or decline a piece. Our assistant editors conduct an anonymous review of the submissions so please ensure your name or other identifying information are not included within your actual submission file or in the file name anywhere. Submissions will receive a response within 60 days of the end of the submission period. Editorial decisions are final. 

Contact

All inquiries can be directed to Ella Jane Myers at openminds@nisa.on.ca or 705-222-6472 x 303

Welcome! Below you will find all the rules and regulations for our 18th Annual BrainStorm Poetry Contest, a small fundraiser organized by NISA/Northern Initiative for Social Action, for our literary magazine Open Minds Quarterly: Life in a mad world (www.openmindsquarterly.com). The contest is open to all writers who have personally experienced madness, mental illness, mental health challenges, or neurodiversity.

The contest, as always, is anonymously judged by a panel of three or four writers who have lived experience themselves. Our goal is to recognize excellence in the craft of poetry from our community of peers, and to reward that excellence with prizes for the winners. We also celebrate the winners and honourable mentions with publication in Open Minds Quarterly.

The $12 CAD entry fee we collect goes towards the monetary prizes, and any dollars collected beyond that go to Open Minds Quarterly. The contest is an important event for our community of readers and writers. We appreciate the support your fees show for our project and your peers, for whom writing is both a healing practice and an art.

To enter the contest online, begin by reading through all the rules and regulations below, then click “Submit.”

While we encourage entrants to use our simple and secure online form, we know some writers need other submission options. Click here to find the entry form for mailing in.

Good luck!

Open Minds Quarterly

NISA/Northern Initiative for Social Action


Contest Rules & Regulations

The contest is open internationally, only to people with lived experience of madness/mental health challenges/mental illness/neurodivergence. It aims to eliminate the stigma associated with these by showcasing the talents and creativity of individuals who have lived through them, and provide a platform for folks to share their experiences.

The contest opens Friday, January 1, 2021 and closes on Sunday, February 14, 2021. All entries must be received before midnight on February 14, and payment must arrive with entry. Entries will not be returned.

Poetry about the experience of madness is welcomed; however, all subjects are acceptable. Poems are judged on poetic merit: originality, creativity, how well it changed or provoked readers’ thoughts, how well it was written, the effective use of imagery and sound devices, writing mechanics, and whether the poem imparted a sensation after it was read—the last a critical factor in the final round of judging.

The top three winning poems will be published in an upcoming issue of Open Minds Quarterly. Winners will receive two copies of the issue of Open Minds Quarterly in which their work appears. The top three winners will also receive monetary awards: $250 for First Place; $150 for Second Place; $75 for Third Place. Entries receiving Honourable Mentions will be published in subsequent issues of Open Minds Quarterly. All nonwinners will be entered in a random draw to win a free one-year subscription to Open Minds Quarterly or a copy of our book, The Dictionary of Madness (two draws).

The judges’ decisions are final. Authors retain all rights to their work and, after the contest, are welcome to submit their poems to Open Minds Quarterly for regular review.

To be eligible, each entry must:

  • be original, unpublished work;
  • be written in English;
  • be accompanied by one entry form for every three poems entered;
  • arrive with your entry fee;
  • NOT include a name on the page (put your name only on the accompanying entry form);
  • be written legibly;
  • be no more than 30 lines in length;
  • not include any drawings or images;
  • arrive at NISA by 11:59 p.m. of February 14;
  • arrive by the online submission form, surface mail, or hand delivery, (no faxes or e-mails);
  • if submitted by mail, be printed on 8.5” x 11” or A4 paper, one poem per page


Poems are not eligible if:

  • they have already been published by or accepted for publication in Open Minds Quarterly or elsewhere;
  • the rules listed above are not followed;
  • entry fee payment is returned due to insufficient funds.


NISA staff and board members are ineligible for entry. Disqualified entrants will not be notified of disqualification.


Entry Fee

The entry fee is $12 CAD for up to three poems. For mailed entries: Do not send cash in the mail. Cheques or money orders must be made payable to NISA or Northern Initiative for Social Action. Credit card payments can be sent via PayPal.com to info@nisa.on.ca, and please include your payment confirmation with your mailed entry form.

Thank you for choosing to submit your work to Open Minds Quarterly: Explorations of life in a mad world! 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.  

This submission stream welcomes pieces from all people residing within what is now called Canada.

This submission form gives us the information we need to review your submission and, if it is accepted, to publish it in the magazine.

We happily accept simultaneous submissions during the initial submission period. Please let us know right away is your submission is accepted elsewhere.

Before submitting, please view our submission guidelines at openmindsquarterly.submittable.com/submit.

Submissions that do not meet the guidelines will be declined.

Summer 2021 – Sickness & Health

Submissions for this themed issue will open on January 1, 2021, and will remain open until March 31, 2021.

We encourage you to think creatively, and explore the experiences and perspectives of health and sickness, broadly. Here are some prompts related to this theme to get you started:

· How do you define sickness?

· What does health mean to you?

· How has the past year affected your sickness and/or health?

· How has your perspective on sickness and/or health been impacted by the pandemic?

· What are some health threats (yours, or the world's?)

· What do you need to be healthy?

· What makes you sick?

· What does sickness feel like to you?

· What does health look like to you?

· Are you sick? Healthy? Neither? Both?


Your writing needn't focus on madness/mental health if you are submitting poetry, fiction, or visual art; however, nonfiction, reviews, open letters, and research should relate specifically to experiences of madness or mental health challenges.

We recognize the ongoing discrimination and oppression many of our contributors face—because of colonization, racism, misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, sanism, ableism, fatphobia, classism, ageism, capitalism, etc.—and the ways these and other injustices impact people’s (un)wellness. We welcome people belonging to under/mis-represented communities to submit to OMQ, and we work to prioritize these voices and stories.

There is an optional space in the submission process to self-identify as belonging to specific communities; 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.

Thank you for choosing to submit your work to Open Minds Quarterly: Explorations of life in a mad world! 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.  

This submission stream welcomes pieces from all people residing outside of what is now called Canada.

This submission form gives us the information we need to review your submission and, if it is accepted, to publish it in the magazine.

We happily accept simultaneous submissions during the initial submission period. Please let us know right away is your submission is accepted elsewhere.

Before submitting, please view our submission guidelines at openmindsquarterly.submittable.com/submit.

Submissions that do not meet the guidelines will be declined.

Summer 2021 – Sickness & Health

Submissions for this themed issue will open on January 1, 2021, and will remain open until March 31, 2021.

We encourage you to think creatively, and explore the experiences and perspectives of health and sickness, broadly. Here are some prompts related to this theme to get you started:

· How do you define sickness?

· What does health mean to you?

· How has the past year affected your sickness and/or health?

· How has your perspective on sickness and/or health been impacted by the pandemic?

· What are some health threats (yours, or the world's?)

· What do you need to be healthy?

· What makes you sick?

· What does sickness feel like to you?

· What does health look like to you?

· Are you sick? Healthy? Neither? Both?

Your writing needn't focus on madness/mental health if you are submitting poetry, fiction, or visual art; however, nonfiction, reviews, open letters, and research should relate specifically to experiences of madness or mental health challenges. We recognize the ongoing discrimination and oppression many of our contributors face—because of colonization, racism, misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, sanism, ableism, fatphobia, classism, ageism, capitalism, etc.—and the ways these and other injustices impact people’s (un)wellness. 

We welcome people belonging to under/mis-represented communities to submit to OMQ, and we work to prioritize these voices and stories. 

There is an optional space in the submission process to self-identify as belonging to specific communities; 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.

Open Minds Quarterly