The Florida Review & Aquifer: The Florida Review Online

Please read an issue of The Florida Review before you send us your work in order to get a feel for the kind of writing we publish. We are looking for innovative, luxuriant, insightful human stories—and for things that might surprise us. We like writing that takes risks, affects us deeply, and yet also meets the highest standards of beautiful language and  syntax that supports the meaning of the work.

See separate information for online vs. print and genre-specific guidelines.


Practical Guidelines

  • We accept general submissions online through the Submittable link below. We accept visual art, Editor’s Award, and chapbook submissions either online through Submittable via the links below or via regular postal mail (with a self-addressed stamped envelope enclosed). Please send an SASE if you submit on paper and do not expect us to send a personal email or take on the expense of return postage.
  • We will also accept postal mail submissions from those who do not have regular access to the internet, such as prisoners. These should include an SASE for us to respond.
  • All manuscripts must be typed (double-spaced for fiction and nonfiction; poetry should be single-spaced). We prefer serif typefaces such as Times New Roman over sans serif ones like Calibri. We prefer that you use indents to indicate new paragraphs rather than extra line spaces.
  • All general submissions (non-contest) manuscripts must include the author’s full name and contact information on the first page, and the title and page numbers on subsequent pages.
  • Manuscripts sent by mail (which we will accept only for Editors’ Award and chapbook contest submissions) must:
    • be printed on white letter-sized paper without identifying information except title;
    • include a cover letter with the author’s name, address, phone number, e-mail address, and title of submission(s);
    • include a self-addressed stamped envelope for response; and
    • indicate in the cover letter if the manuscript should be returned and include proper postage on the SASE.
  • International submissions are welcome, especially electronically, but these must be submitted via Submittable since the demise of the International Postal Coupon.
  • We do not usually accept submissions from University of Central Florida faculty, staff, or students. Alumni should wait until at least five years after graduating before submitting. Though there are some exceptions (such as our Pulse tribute section in 40.2), faculty, staff, students, and recent alumni should query before submitting.

We regret that we can no longer accept regular submissions via regular postal mail, and that we charge a small fee on Submittable to support our work and to cover administrative costs. Please understand that several of our editors live in other places, and it would be impracticable and cost-prohibitive for us to transfer snail mail submissions to them. Please also understand that our small submissions fee is roughly equivalent to what a snail-mail submission would cost in paper, toner, envelopes, and postage; you are simply contributing to the survival of our literary magazine endeavor instead of to the US postal service. Diatribes about how evil it is for us to charge submissions fees do not help: without them, our journal–and the publication opportunities provided to you–would not exist.


The Florida Review and Aquifer: The Florida Review Online

Please note that Aquifer will start accepting submissions in the summer or fall of 2017. Submissions in fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry will have separate submissions streams for TFR and Aquifer, whereas graphic narrative will remain all in one submissions stream so that we can assess work for its most apt publication location (depending on color, length, format, and so on). In addition, for Aquifer we will have a submissions category for digital stories.


Fiction & Nonfiction

We look for stories and essays in which the mysteries emerge out of human personality and interaction. In other words, character-driven pieces that make us think about our lives in new ways. We like sophisticated humor and dark irony.

We do not consider typical genre fiction (sci-fi, romance, action, or fantasy), though that doesn’t mean that we don’t enjoy magic and mayhem and futuristic visions when they are fully imagined in a non-stereotypical,  character-driven, and beautiful way. What we look for is insight into the human condition and richness of perspective. We tend toward the maximal rather than the minimal in our preferences, but also firmly believe that each story has to find its own form and style, and that the minute we state a firm preference we’ll find the perfect story that will upend our claims.

In the realm of nonfiction, we publish mainly memoirs and personal essays, but also welcome submissions of literary journalism, especially if based in experience. We also encourage creative nonfiction submissions that inhabit borderlands between fact and fiction and that experiment with form. We do not publish scholarly essays at this time.

There is no word or page limit, though we prefer prose that is between 3 and 25 manuscript pages (750 to 6,500 words). Do understand how difficult it is for us to commit the pages for longer work, and the therefore increased excellence demanded of it. Please submit only one short story or essay at a time. However, we will read up to three short-shorts, as long as the total page count remains under 15 pages (3,750 words). We consider novel or memoir excerpts only if they stand alone.



We’re interested in well-crafted poems that sing and take risks—in style or subject. We’re interested in traditional forms and free verse, any length.

Please submit no more than five poems at one time. We will only read the first five poems that you send.


Graphic Narrative

We look for graphic narratives that show both artistic and literary merit. Currently, we are able to consider black and white only for The Florida Review print magazine. However, we can consider both black-and-white and color works for Aquifer: The Florida Review Online. (Please note that, although we will be able to use color work online, if and when we create an anthology of online work in print, we will have to convert any color work to black and white.)

Work should be submitted via Submittable as a jpeg or pdf file. If you have any technical issues, please query us at


Digital Stories

The Florida Review has a tradition of recognizing new art forms–we were one of the first literary magazines to publish graphic narrative, and, before that, to open our pages to creative nonfiction. Now we would like to recognize that digital stories are an art form as well and publish some of the best in our new web magazine, Aquifer: The Florida Review Online.

Submit 3-5 minute digital stories that combine images, voiceover narration, and, as appropriate, music, sound effects, and/or video.  Compelling personal narratives concerning a variety of topics will be considered for online publication.  Digital stories should be submitted in .MP4 or .MOV format, and authors should include a title screen that lists story title and full author name, as well as a credits screen at the end that lists all image and other content sources unless they are the property of the storyteller (for example, personal photographs).  Please ensure that you have the right to use and share online all digital story content before submitting. Please note that before publishing any work, we will ask for a signed publication agreement that confirms you have acquired permission for use of any visual, auditory, or other work not your own included in your digital story, and that you accept full responsibility for doing so.


Book Reviews and Interviews

All book reviews and interviews will be published in Aquifer: The Online Florida Review starting in 2017. We hope this will give our reviewed and interviewed authors more exposure, and we will sometimes be connecting reviews and/or interviews to literary content in the print magazine and/or the online magazine to create a healthy synergy between the two.

Please contact our book review editor, Judith Roney ( to query a book review topic. We also accept review essay submissions on Submittable, but it is better to query before submitting. Review essays are extensive examinations of multiple works that go beyond straightforward reviews.

If you are interested interviewing an author for us, please send a query to


Visual Art

Visual artists are encouraged to submit two-dimensional works in any medium for a color cover for or black-and-white spread within The Florida Review. We prefer submissions on Submittable, but also accept work on CD-ROM (U.S. mail at the address above) or via a web link ( Please note we will not open any e-mail attachments.


Annual Editors’ Awards

Each year between January 1 and March 31, we accept submissions to our three Editors’ Awards contests in Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, and Poetry.

Each winner receives publication in The Florida  Review and $1,000 (upon publication). We also frequently recognize and publish one or more finalists in each genre.

  • For prose, submit up to 25 pages (6,500 words) (double-spaced Word doc preferred, but will also accept pdf).
  • For poetry, submit up to 5 poems (single-spaced Word doc preferred, but will also accept pdf).
  • This is a blind-read contest. The manuscript should have only the title(s) – not the writer’s name or other identifying information on any page. Submit a cover sheet that includes the manuscript title(s) and the writer’s name, email address, phone number, and mailing address.
  • Entry fee of $20 includes a one-year subscription to The Florida Review.
  • All submissions will be considered for publication.
  • Simultaneous submissions are fine if withdrawn immediately upon acceptance elsewhere.
  • Make sure to select the correct contest category in Submittable.


Jeanne Leiby Memorial Chapbook Contest

Each year The Florida Review Publications honors past editor Jeanne Leiby with the publication of a prose or graphic narrative chapbook. Starting in 2017, we are publishing our chapbooks in cooperation with Burrow Press for better exposure and distribution through small-press book channels.

The contest runs from September through December each year. However, this year we have extended the deadline through the end of February 2017, due to the late announcement of final judge, graphic novelist and fiction writer Robert Venditti, author of New York Times bestsellers The Surrogates and The Homeland Directive.

Winners receive publication and $1,000 (upon publication). Second-place winners receive tuition for the Sanibel Writers Conference, and possible publication of a selection in The Florida Review or Aquifer: The Florida Review Online.

    • Submit up to 45 pages (double spaced and in MS Word for fiction or essay, pdf or jpeg if graphic narrative).
    • This is a blind-read contest. The manuscript should not have your name or other identifying information on any page. Please note that if your name is drawn into a panel of a graphic narrative, it should be blocked out. Submit a cover letter with your name and the title (or titles) of the submitted work.
    • Any combination of long or short stories, essays, or flash fiction or nonfiction–as well as graphic narrative–will be considered.
    • Graphic narrative must be black and white and in jpeg or pdf format.
    • Entry fee is $25.
    • All submissions will be considered for publication in The Florida Review or Aquifer: The Florida Review Online.
    • Simultaneous submissions are OK as long as they are withdrawn immediately upon acceptance elsewhere
    • Notification of results will be posted on The Florida Review website by the summer following the contest, and publication will be scheduled for the following spring.
    • In the unlikely event that no submitted manuscript is selected by the judge as fitting chapbook publication, only the second prize will be awarded.
    • Make sure to select the chapbook category in Submittable.

To Submit Your Work

Submit online here.

For visual art, Editor’s Award, and chapbook submissions ONLY (or for those, like prisoners, without Internet access), you may submit via Submittable above or by US postal mail. Address submissions to:

The Editors [Indicate Genre and/or Contest]
The Florida Review Department of English
University of Central Florida
PO Box 161346
Orlando, FL 32816-1346

Withdrawals & Queries

For Submittable submissions, please go into Submittable and withdraw your manuscript there. For general queries, send us an email at You may also send a letter via postal mail, but in order to receive a response, please include a self-addressed stamped envelope.