General Guidelines


Currently CLOSED for submissions. Please see The Future of Understorey and 6 Things I’ve Learned for more (many more!) details.

Understorey Magazine publishes stories based in life experience and told through fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and visual art. We feature writers who identify as women or non-binary, and who also have a strong connection to Canada. This includes Canadian citizens, permanent and temporary residents, stateless people in Canada, and Indigenous people living within the political boundaries of what is currently called Canada. Please contact us if you have questions about eligibility.

Before submitting work, please read our mandate and the guidelines below.

Understorey Magazine aims to publish as many different voices, styles, and perspectives as possible. We welcome submissions from writers and artists of various ages, cultures, ethnicities, gender identities, abilities and disabilities, and educational and economic backgrounds.


Understorey‘s mandate is to publish the voices of women/non-binary writers, particularly underrepresented stories and experiences. As such, we lean toward personal, life stories, whether told through fiction, creative nonfiction, or poetry. We are open to traditional short story, essay, and poetic forms as well as letters, prose poems, rants, anecdotes, dialogue, or any shape your story wants to take. Surprise us!

Please note we do not publish “how-to” articles, expository essays, or academic work. Nonfiction pieces should be “creative” or literary. See What is Creative Nonfiction? for a detailed description.

Also note: Poetry with complex arrangement (white space) is sometimes difficult to publish online.

Audio / Video

We welcome audio and video recordings of written submissions. Please see Granny and Walls for examples.

Visual Artists

Understorey Magazine illustrates most published stories with visual art by artists in Canada who identify as women or non-binary. We welcome photos of both art and craft. Please see our current and past issues for examples.

The Details

  • Please include a cover letter that demonstrates you are familiar with at least one issue of Understorey Magazine (all issues are here). Also include a short biographical statement.
  • Creative writing submissions must be original, unpublished work.
  • Keep all submissions under 1,500 words. Poets, submit no more than five poems at one time. Prose writers, please submit only one piece per issue.
  • Visual art may be published elsewhere online. Please send a jpg file of approximately 800 x 600 pixels.
  • We encourage simultaneous submissions but let us know if your work is accepted elsewhere.
  • Writers and artists retain copyright of their work. Writers grant Understorey Magazine nonexclusive Internet rights to publish their work.
  • We offer an honorarium to writers and artists whose work is accepted for publication. Current rates (as of Issue 20) are $150 for writers and $75 for artists (i.e. to re-post artists’ work already available online). Please note: Due to our administrative partnership with Mount Saint Vincent University, to receive an honorarium, contributors to Understorey (with some exceptions) are required to provide their Social Insurance Number. This is only required when and if your piece is accepted for publication. (Contact us with any questions:
  • Email your submissions to If possible, include your submission AND cover letter/bio in the body of the email (so we don’t have to open attachments to read your submission).