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Contrary Magazine

Literary Magazine





A literary journal of poetry, fiction, and lyrical commentary, founded at the University of Chicago in 2003.

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  • Vibe:Send us your best but less intimidating
  • Response time:
    1-4 months*
    Editor reported data
  • Acceptance rate:


Find more details in the Genres section


  • Accepts simultaneous submissions

    What's that?

    When you can submit your work to multiple magazines at the same time

  • Accepts previously published

    What's that?

    When the magazine wants to publish your previously published work. Requirements vary

  • Nominates for prizes

  • Active on social media

  • Available in print

  • Provides contributor copies

  • Has examples online

  • Offers expedited response

    What's that?

    Expedited submission: When the magazine offers a faster response time for an extra fee


Max pieces: 3

We look especially for plurality of meaning, for dual reverberation of beauty and concern. Contrary’s poetry in particular often mimics the effects of fiction or commentary.


Sub Genres: Literary, Experimental, Magical Realism

We favor fiction that is contrary in any number of ways, but our fiction typically defies traditional story form. A story may bring us to closure, for example, without ever delivering an ending. It may be as poetic as any poem.


Lyrical commentary/creative non-fiction —“Commentary” is our word for the stuff that others define negatively as non-fiction, nominally as essay, or naively as truth. We favor commentary that delivers a message less through exposition than through artistry. The commentary we select is often lyrical, narrative, or poetic.

How to submit

  • Processs

    Google / other forms

  • Cover letter

    No cover letter advice

  • Eligibility

    No specific eligibility requirements

  • Formatting

    We don't have formatting requirements for this magazine

  • Author's rights

    We don't have rights information for this magazine

  • Additional info

    Payment – If you invoice us within one month after publication, we will send you a payment. For original commentary, fiction, and poetry, Contrary Magazine pays $20 per author per issue, regardless of the number of works or nature of the submission. If you are enquiring about the status of a submission, you can determine the status immediately. Contrary begins each issue cycle from scratch, holding over no submissions. If an issue has appeared since your submission, and your submission is not in it, then your submission was not accepted. If an issue has not appeared since your submission, your submission is still in consideration, and we will contact you if it is accepted.

Tracker statistics


Total submissions tracked

26 days

Average response time


Average acceptance rate

5 days

Fastest response time

46 days

Slowest response time

Сhill Subs is able to provide internal statistics because you use our tracker! You're the best!

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Submission calls

    All genres








    Editor Jeff McMahon avatar

    Jeff McMahon


    Editor Shaindel Beers avatar

    Shaindel Beers

    Poetry Editor

    Editor Frances Badgett avatar

    Frances Badgett

    Fiction Editor