Submission Guidelines


Submissions for In/Words Magazine 16.1 are now open, so get writing!

Submission Deadline: September 12, 2016

For full submission guidelines, please see

We are accepting unpublished poetry, fiction, non-fiction and visual art from up-and-coming and established artists. We only accept email submissions.

There is no theme for our first issue, but expect some varied and exciting special issues in the upcoming year!

In/Words is a magazine about Canadian culture and ethics with an emphasis on literary fiction, poetry and art. The tone is intelligent and sensitive, with a particular taste for wittiness and diversity.

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Extended Deadline for submissions: May 15, 2016! Submission Guidelines for Refug(e)e, a Themed Issue of In/Words Magazine With Guest Editor Lise Rochefort

12784761_10205227810927111_1635671323_nIn/Words is a magazine about Canadian culture and ethics with an emphasis on literary fiction, poetry and art. The tone is intelligent and sensitive, with a particular taste for wittiness and diversity.

Refug(e)e: exploring internal and external geographies of the refuge/refugee experience.

The In/Words editorial team looks forward to reading submissions that reflect the full spectrum of the Refug(e)e experience: Your art and/or writing may acknowledge the emotional and physical realities of dislocation, fear, trauma or uncertainty but may just as well capture stories of healing, relief, and hope.

Your poem or short story may well include the voices and experience of those who have welcomed refugees. Or as a refugee, you may wish to contribute illustrations, photographs or essays that recall the specificities of your unique journey.

Texts exploring internal and external psyches with unexpected interpretations and experimental expressions of the words refugee and refuge—challenging and transgressing traditional understandings—are welcome. We are interested in liminal experiences where inner and outer borders collapse at the level of content and form.

The words refuge and refugee are open to critical thought, subjective interpretation or political satire—we are open to everything so long as it is sensitive and intelligent

Inclusivity is a priority for us so if you’re not sure whether your work fits with our vision, please don’t hesitate to write to us at                          

Guest Editor: Lise Rochefort

LiseLM Rochefort is a bilingual award-winning poet/editor/portfolio-careerist, living in Ottawa, ON., and Val-des-Monts, QC. She was recently named by the longstanding Tree Poetry Reading Series as one of Ottawa’s 2015 “Local Lights”.Lise studied Journalism at Carleton U., worked in community mental health programs, the travel industry, translation and research. Her poem HeLa’s Cells was long-listed for the 2011 Montreal International Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in Geist, Arc,Truck as well as in a dozen chapbooks. Lise has been Arc Poetry Magazine’s Associate Poetry Editor since 2013. In 2014, her multi-media installation and video-poem Escalator was featured in Blink Gallery’s ‘Something Leads to Something Else’ exhibition. She is a founding member of Ottawa’s ‘Ruby Tuesdays’ poetry collective.

Submission Guidelines:

Below are the categories of submissions we are accepting, including maximum word lengths and remuneration. Please do not submit to more than one category at a time, and do not submit more than two samples of your work unless otherwise stipulated.

  • Essays: written or photo essay format. 1,000 words maximum or up to ten images: we pay $50/ accepted submission.
  • Non-fiction: 1,500 words maximum: we pay $50/accepted submission.
  • Flash fiction and short stories: 500 words pieces: we pay 50/ accepted submission. 500-2,500 words: we pay 50/ accepted submission.
  • Poetry: we pay $40/ accepted poem; 60 lines/poem including blank lines (maximum 3 poems per person).
  • Visual Art: whether you submit photos, cartoons or visual art, please send us a link to your portfolio or low-resolution images in your initial submission. We will contact you if we are interested in viewing high-resolution images. we pay $40/ accepted image/cartoon/photograph. You may submit up to five images at a time.

Extended Deadline for submissions: May 15, 2016

Submit all entries to:

Launch date in mid-September.

In/Words’ Mission: To uphold Canadian standards of excellence in literature. We are interested in the Canadian experience and need all of our content to connect to Canada (you may be a Canadian writer living abroad, your story or characters are set in Canada, your main character may be seeking refuge in Canada, etc). If you are sending your submission from abroad, please indicate your connection with Canada in your cover letter or email. We welcome and champion emerging writers and artists, so please don’t hesitate to submit regardless of your level of experience.

Thank you to our Funders/Sponsors:

Carleton logo                                                                CUSA_Logo.svg

Department of English Language & Literature





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September Reading Series! Featuring Nina Jane Drystek & Dave Currie!

The end of the month is coming up fast which means any three of the following:

  • Deadlines (esp. ours: September 30th is the submission deadline for In/Words 15.1!)
  • Deadlines (getting our latest work ready for the Reading Series)
  • The Reading Series is fast approaching! Yay!
  • Drew is standing behind you right now.

Here is some info on our features this month:

Nina Jane Drystek Jane is a poet, short story and non-fiction writer from Ottawa, Canada. Since moving back to Ottawa in 2013 she has worked and volunteered with the Ottawa Writers Festival and Tree Reading Series doing communications and social media. Her poetry was published by In/Words Magazine and Window Cat Press, and she has self-published two chapbooks.

Things haven’t gone so well for old Davie Currie. After publishing two chapbooks in 2014, a series of minor tragedies and misfortunes befell him. Many were his fault some were not. Now he’s back to tell you all about it.

Get stoked & see you on Wednesday!

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It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s an In/Words Update!

Hey everyone! Summer is almost over, and like a reverse grizzly bear In/Words is stirring as though from a deep slumber.

We spent our summer finding ourselves, finding our new editors, moving into a larger office (which instantly halved in size once the flood of books washed in), publishing two new books, and making plans for many more.

In/Words welcomes Sanita Fejzic and Jenny Greenberg to the team. Both are accomplished poets and organizational masters who have already been instrumental in getting In/Words on track for the fall. We’re looking forward to a productive and exciting year!

This month (August) we released City in the Clouds by Sanita Fejzic and Passages by the Carleton University English Department’s Passages Creative Writing Competition, both of which will be available through Etsy shortly!

Here are some things to look forward to from us in the near future:

  • Multiple Writers’ Circles: One on Wednesday as usual, and another on the weekend (still figuring out exactly when but probably Sunday?)
  • A new chapbook from a popular writer coming in September!
  • A new chapbook from a trio of talented upstarts coming in October!
  • Issue 15.1 coming in November!

Alright, that’s all for now. Happy writing!

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All we do is UPDATES

Here we are in the throes of February, setting records like “Winter 2015 could be Ottawa’s coldest in 35 years,” and “This weekend Ottawa is the coldest capital city in the world,” and “Today it was colder in Ottawa than it was on Mars“. And let’s face it, there are always those winter days when you go outside and the wind is furiously stabbing the frigid daggers of icy death into every pore of your body–and it’s days like those that have you questioning why the hell you or any person would ever willingly choose to settle in this industrial-sized walk-in freezer of city. I mean, what case can you really make for living in a place that, at times, is three degrees colder than the south pole? ALSO MARS.

And Jehiel Collins' was all like, "This looks like a STELLAR place to set up shop." 

And Jehiel Collins was all like, “Well this looks like a STELLAR place to set up shop.”

But for poetry lovers, there is plenty in this city that makes the cold well worth it–worth it enough to trek out into the glacial deathgrip of winter dozens of times every month. We have no shortage of fantastic poetry events here, and that’s something to be thankful for when you live in a place that CBC lovingly calls “the city that fun forgot.” In/Words is lucky to be part of such a rich, thriving community of writers, publishers, and poetry enthusiasts–without them we just would be sitting in our closet-turned-office, publishing chapbooks into a vacuum, and probably crying.

And so it’s because of that community that we’re able to get up to such exciting things this season. One of the biggest of those things is our involvement in VERSeFest 2015, where we’ll be co-hosting an event with our pals over at Blue Mondays. We are THRILLED to be presenting our poet picks this year: Kind-Of-A-Huge-Deal/Canadian poetry rockstar bill bissett, and our very own dalton derkson, of Hurtin’ Crüe fame. March 25 is going to be a fantastic show, and there is absolutely no reason you should not come. Same night and time as our regular reading series, less basementy venue. Check it out and buy your tickets while you still can.

Also performing (on opening night!) is Ikenna Onyegbula aka OpenSecret, of In/Words fame (but also there was that time last year when he won the World Slam Championship). His recent book, Army Arrangement, is up for sale on our Etsy store.

The whole festival is going to be mind-blowing. Check out the line up for yourself. Carleton Students get in free when they show their student card at the door. Everyone else should buy a festival pass, or volunteer with the festival to get a free one.

Reading Series, February Edition: Sandra Ridley and JM Francheteau

Our next show, happening Wednesday February 25 at 9pm at the Clocktower Brewpub in the basement, will feature two of our favourite local poets, the incomparable Sandra Ridley, and JM Francheteau, Reviews Editor of Arc Poetry Magazine. It’s going to be a helluva show. It’s going to be GREAT. And it’s totally free!

JM will also be launching his new HCPR chapbook, KIDS. Buy it from him on the night, buy it from the HCPR Etsy store, or better yet, do yourself a favour and buy a subscription for you and everyone you know–at $15 a pop, you can afford it.

New Addition to the In/Words Family

We’re very excited to be in the process of a major upgrade this year in terms of equipment. Just got a fancy new printer, Hildegard Pintar, who is quite possibly now the most competent member of our team. She is actually out-competencing all of us. However, we’re sad to see Harvey Pintar go, considering that he’s been in the family for about 7 years. Thus, we will be hosting a Harvey Pintar Retirement Party within the next couple of weeks. Check our Facebook group later for all the deets.

we <3 u bae

we  still❤ u bae

Submissions for 14.3

They are closing Saturday, February 21 at midnight. Check out our submission guidelines. Submit your poetry, prose, visual art. TELL ALL YOUR FRIENDS.

That’s all for now, friends.

Further updates imminent re: our next issue launch, upcoming chapbooks, the Spring 2015 Small Press Book Fair, all that good stuff. Thanks for reading, and see you at the Clocktower next week!

– Av & the In/Words Gang

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What an incredible year it’s been so far–and it’s only getting better. Here are some of the MANY EXCITING THINGS In/Words is getting up to these days.

Upcoming book launches at The Reading Series Presents: Rachel Gray and Matt Jones 

In/Words is thrilled to announce the launch of White Flowers and Landmines by celebrated war poet Matt Jones, winner of Arc Poetry Magazine’s Reader’s Choice Award, and former co-editor of In/Words, as well as the much-anticipated poetry & prose anthology, Mythical Beasts. 

white flowers cover

White Flowers and Landmines by Matt Jones, In/Words Press November, 2014

We’ll be launching both books at our upcoming Reading Series on Wednesday Nov 26 at the Clock Tower Brew Pub (575 Bank st., in the basement). The event will feature readings by Matt Jones, as well as local poet Rachel Gray, and will be followed by an open mic. See our Facebook Event for more details!

Issue 14.2 & Chapbook Launch at the December Reading Series Extravaganza

Submissions for  In/Words Magazine 14.2 will be closing November 30, so get your submissions in now! The issue will be launched on December 31st at what is sure to be a mind-blowing event: a Reading Series-Issue and Chapbook Launch-New Year’s Eve Extravaganza, where we’ll also be launching chapbooks by Ikenna Onyegbula (aka OpenSecret), 2014 World Slam Champion, and Mia “Big-Cahuna” Morgan, President of uOttawa’s Undergraduate English Students’ Association. Excitingly, both these poets will be featuring at this Very Special Reading Series, and to share our excitement at this exciting event, we’ll be excited to offer FREE CHAMPAGNE FOR EVERYONE, generously donated by the Clock Tower. SO EXCITING!

Check out Ikenna, doing his thing, winning international poetry competitions in Paris, France–all in a day’s work, right? NBD.

14.1 Launch Review

14.1 Contributor Christine Lyons. Photo by Clarissa Fortin, via The Charlatan.

14.1 Contributor Christine Lyons reads at the Launch of 14.1. Photo by Clarissa Fortin, via The Charlatan.

What a huge success! We were so pleased to have a bigger turnout than chairs! The walls of our venue, Black Squirrel Books (1073 Bank St), were decked out with the incredible art of Rich Silva and Rodrigo Medrano’s recent exhibit Horses and Unicorns. We heard readings from Liam Burke, Chris Love and some of our 14.1 contributors including Rob Thomas, winner of the 2013 John Newlove Chapbook Award, and Catina Noble, recent feature at Sawdust Reading Series. The Charlatan’s Meredith Pal was kind enough to cover the launch, and wrote a very lovely review!

We were also lucky to have the help of Carleton J-School students Aishu Ravishankar, Clarissa Fortin and Amanda Gregorio in promoting the event and issue in a CJTV News spot:

Missed this awesome event? Read on to find out where you can pick up copies of issue 14.1 and chapbooks from the launch, including Liam Burke’s Dry Right Up, Marilyn Irwin’s Tiny, and Chris Love’s Jesus Poems.


In our last post, we said In/Words issues and chapbooks would be more available than ever before–and we’re pleased to have followed through on that promise. You can now find In/Words Magazine and Chapbooks for sale at Black Squirrel Books (Bank and Sunnyside), online at our Etsy Store, and of course, we will as always be selling our publications at all of our events, including our upcoming Reading Series.

We know. It’s a lot to take in. That’s all for now, but keep an eye open for more updates soon–and see you at the Reading Series!

– Av & the In/Words gang

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Introducing In/Words 2014-2015

Well, it’s fall again, and let me tell you, people in Ottawa LOVE fall–the mild temperatures, the beautiful scenery, the warm clothes that have gathered dust in the backs of our closets all summer (our layout designer is particularly excited to bust out his impressive collection of sweaters). Geoff will soon be donning his winter parka. Avonlea will soon be back in her favourite footwear–winter boots. Michelle will be setting fall fashion trends (again).

Drew will probably still be wearing a kilt to the Reading Series.

Chris, Matt and Maria, our fabulous outgoing editors, will be relaxing in their book-lined studies, smoking expensive cigars and drinking fine port while reading books by the likes of Tolstoy and Proust–this time for fun (that’s what happens when you graduate from a Masters program, right? Right…?)

In short, things are changing for everyone, and In/Words Magazine and Press is no exception. The new editing team is working hard to introduce some exciting new features–and bring back some old ones. Here are some of those changes, in varying levels of detail.


We’re pleased to announce that In/Words is moving online–in a big way. We’ll be opening our Etsy store in the very near future, where back-issues, current issues, chapbooks, subscriptions and pre-orders will be available for purchase. It’s happening. Equally exciting, we’ll also be selling our publications at the new home of our Writer’s Circle (Black Squirrel Books, at Bank and Sunnyside) following the launch of issue 14.1. That’s right: In/Words will now be (at least slightly) more available than ever before.

The In/Words Reading Series Presents: Openers (Again)

For a long time there was a tradition at the Reading Series of having an up-and-coming poet do a short set to open for the regular feature. There was also a long-standing tradition of taking a break immediately after the feature. We are going to honour at least one of those traditions this year. Our first Reading Series Opener will be introduced this October 29 at the Clocktower Brewpub (at Bank and Isabella) at (around) 9pm. Isn’t this great? Isn’t this exciting?! Check out our Facebook Group in the next couple of weeks for the event page to find out who our Feature and Opener will be. (Hint: At least one of them is sleazy.)

We will also take a break after the feature. Don’t worry.


Our goal this year is to publish 2-3 chapbooks along with each of the projected four magazine issues between now and May 2015. Some of the chapbooks will be chapbook-sized. Other chapbooks will be tiny-sized. Other chapbooks won’t look like chapbooks at all. But we promise you’ll love each one–we’re very lucky this year to be working with a fantastic roster of poets to put out some equally fantastic books. (There is at least one hidden teaser in this paragraph.)


Speaking of traditions… more details coming your way soon.

So, we encourage everyone to check in with us periodically, either here, or at our aforementioned Facebook group. Indulge in the fine hospitality of Black Squirrel Books at our Writer’s Circle every Wednesday, and come visit us at our Reading Series on October 29.

Thanks for reading, and happy fall!

– Av

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