VOLUME 38 (2023)

                                         “HORROR” ISSUE

                                                                             READING PERIOD:

                                                                            SEPTEMBER 19, 2022


                                                                              DECEMBER 3, 2022

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” —H. P. Lovecraft

“The best monsters are our anxieties given form. They make sense on the level of a dream – or a nightmare.” —Victor LaValle

This year, we at FOLIO have goosebumps in welcoming our very first all-horror issue. Which then begs the question: what do we talk about when we talk about horror?

We are calling for submissions closer to realism but including elements of horror, suspense, magical realism, spec-fic, whimsy, and the “uncanny.” We want work which surprises us more than the ending of We Have Always Lived in the Castle, a piece which transmogrifies, making us ask, “How did she do that?” Send us something spiny which cannot be swallowed. An “other” capable of inspiring both passion and dread. Creatures with monstrous appetites or, even more sinister, the monster inside us all.

Please do not send work which upholds the “typical” horror tropes. We are looking for high-literary taste and atmosphere. We prefer no fantasy or hard sci-fi. Don’t take us to another planet or gore us to death. As a rule, no gratuitous blood and guts, no profanity, and no pornography. We want a “full-bodied” experience when reading your work.

If your jam is recreating Grimms’ fairytales with a badass feminist spin, we want to hear from you. If your love language is recommending stories by Carmen Maria Machado, your taste is up our alley. If you correspond to how Jordan Peele corners the intersection between horror and racial-social commentary, send us your stuff! Take a stab at our theme along the lines of Karen Russell, Margaret Atwood, Shirley Jackson, and Kelly Link. Give us the perfect storm of Bret Easton Ellis, Haruki Marukami, and Cormac McCarthy.

For our 38th issue, FOLIO is searching for your completely unique take on horror– in a way only you can write it. What does horror mean to you? What form does it take? Please send us previously unpublished stories that terrorize, creative essays that will make us shiver in the best way, poems and art about your version and vision of fear and disgust. Submissions are welcome from September 19, 2022 until December 3, 2022. Contributors will be compensated with two free print copies, and we will award an Editor’s Prize to our favorite story, essay, and poem. We welcome highly established writers and brand-new voices especially. Our theme is flexible; just give us the creepy-crawlies!

For individual genre requirements, please click on each genre’s form below.                                            


FOLIO is a nationally recognized literary journal affiliated with the College of Arts and Sciences at American University in Washington, DC. Since 1984, we have published original creative work by both new and established authors. Past issues have included work by Roxane Gay, Michael Reid Busk, Franny Choi, Billy Collins, Ivan Pinkava, Hettie Jones, William Stafford, Bruce Weigl, Yumi Sakugawa, and Ross Gay, as well as interviews with Carmen Maria Machado, Michael Cunningham, Allen Ginsberg, Charles Baxter, Amy Bloom, Ann Beattie, Walter Kirn, and Marie Howe. With over 30 years of history, FOLIO is proud to continue publishing great work. 

If you would like to get a sense of the work we publish, please check out past issues of FOLIO. You may purchase FOLIO through Submittable by following the purchase links below, and digitally on 0s&1s [here's a how-to guide for downloading your copy]. If you’re in the DC area, visit Upshur Street Books, The Potter's House or Politics & Prose to buy FOLIO at a discounted rate.

Our latest issue is available for purchase through the purchase link below--way down there! 

Send us your questions or comments to, but before you do please note that: 

FOLIO does NOT tolerate racism, bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, ableism, or any work that promotes harmful stereotypes and viewpoints. 

FOLIO does NOT accept previously published work. We accept only unpublished, original work. FOLIO does NOT accept work by former or current American University students/faculty.

Yes: FOLIO accepts translations as long as the English translation has not been published elsewhere; simultaneous submissions are OK as long as you let us know and pull your piece if/as soon as it's accepted elsewhere; 

Posthumous submissions are accepted for consideration as long as the piece in question is submitted by the next of kin/person who holds the rights to the piece (proof required prior to acceptance).  

Yes, FOLIO is a non-profit organization.

To withdraw an entire submission, please use the "Withdraw" function. To withdraw part of a submission, please send us a message within Submittable noting which piece(s) are no long available. Thank you.


FOLIO VOLUME 37 (2022)

This issue's theme is World in Flux. Heraclitus maintained that the very nature of life is flux, is change, and that to resist this change was to resist the essence of our existence.

What could be more relevant today than the idea of Worlds in Flux? We have all been affected by a pandemic that has muscled us into bearing witness to a brave new world and lifestyle no one could have expected. Analogously, how do other major (or minor) life changes shake up our own private universes? What can falling in love, the heating of the planet, physical and geopolitical conflict, spiritual/moral birth or bankruptcy, addiction, breakups, makeups, the coming of age, or the never ending cycle of life and death teach us?

The beauty of these periods of newness are endless and profound. And as agents of change and transformation, we become first-hand communicators of what comes out of Worlds in Flux. Whether they be lessons we tell ourselves so that we are not doomed to repeat them or celebrations of the best thing that has ever happened to us, our stories are revealing fossilizations of what it means to be human. They act to enshrine the uncanny elements of life that cannot help but withstand the test of time.

In this issue:

  • an interview with author award-winning author Joy Castro about Flight Risk, a novel that explores the effects of climate change, classism, and revisiting the past on a protagonist caught in the cross hairs of flux.
  • our annual Editor's Prize winners—the cover, our Editor's Prize for Art: “American Landscape” by Brittany Fanning; the Editor’s Prize for Poetry: BEE LB's "YOKE"; the Editor's Prize Nonfiction: “Motherlands” by Andra Emilia Fenton and the Editor's Prize for Fiction: Madison Garber’s “Flight in the Anonymizing City”
  • Plus new work from the following Volume 37 contributors: Dan Barton, Jack Bordnick, Roger Camp, Madeleine Corley, Briana "Bri" Craig, Garrett De Temple, Jeff Dunn, Nathan Erwin, Brittany Fanning, Andra Emilia Fenton, Josh Galarza, Madison Garber, Matt Gold, Robin Gow, Haley, Olivia Ivings, BEE LB, Lenny Levine, Matthew Medendorp, Christopher Munde, Cassady O’Reilly-Hahn, Marissa Perez, Dani Putney, Perry Ren, Monona Wali, Sean J. White, Dan Woessner, Rose Maria Woodson, Ghassan Zeineddine, and James K. Zimmerman

With this subscription, you will receive:

1. An order of our new, limited-run 2022 issue (Volume 37)



Under Title: please write your FULL NAME

Under Cover Letter: please ensure your mailing address is written out in full. Please write any special instructions for mailing your FOLIO issue. For international addresses, please include a phone number and/or e-mail address.

For multiple copies and special orders, please contact us at

Folio Literary Journal