Three wrting pencils with a curly pencil shaving on a pink background

Issue One of The Propelling Pencil

Open for submissions 10 June – 1 August

Picture by Markus Winkler at Unsplash

Issue One of The Propelling Pencil Journal will be published in September 2023

There’s no theme – but we are looking for stories that somehow move us forward, make progress, show us a different way of thinking or living. To get a flavour of what we like, take a look at our Editors’ profiles on the Masthead page.

We especially welcome stories from writers from under-represented backgrounds and previously unpublished writers. We’d love if you can share our submissions call with your wider network to maximise our reach amongst marginalised writers and newcomers.

Submissions are free and our journal will be free to read, but unfortunately, we aren’t currenly able to pay writers. However, we will be nominating stories for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. If you would like to support The Propelling Pencil towards our costs (this whole shebang is unfunded while we get off the ground), you can click the Tip Jar button. THANK YOU!

Submission Guidelines

  • Anyone over 18 can submit, from anywhere in the world
  • Only one entry per writer, please
  • Stories must be received by midnight (BST) on 1 August 2023
  • Stories must be the author’s own work of fiction and written in English, aimed at an adult readership (no YA or children’s stories, please)
  • We are not accepting AI generated stories
  • Send us your best work, but not anything that is racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, graphically violent or sexual
  • Stories must not have been published before in print or online (if your story has been shared within a critique group or private forum, that’s fine.)
  • We are happy for you to submit your story elsewhere during our reading period, but if it is accepted for publication or wins a prize, please let us know ASAP. You can email us at Thepropellingpencil at gmail dot com.
  • Authors retain full worldwide copyright of any story published by us, but we ask you not to republish within three months of publication, and would appreciate being acknowledged as first publishers when published elsewhere
  • The editors’ decisions on which and how many stories to publish are final


  • Maximum length is 750 words, title excluded. There is no minimum word count
  • We aim to be inclusive so please know that you will not be penalised for the occasional typo or spelling error. If your story is selected for our Issue, we’ll work with you to fix any necessary edits before publication, don’t worry!
  • Entries should be typed in a plain, easy to read 12 pt font. Calibri, Arial or Times New Roman are good fonts to choose
  • Double spacing is preferred but if your story relies on format please be aware that we are limited in how we are able to present text on the page/screen and may not be able to replicate anything too fancy!