Before submitting work, read several issues of Geist, or dig deep into the archives at geist.com, to get a sense of the tone and nature of the work we publish. Some of our editorial biases derive from George Orwell’s essay “Politics and the English Language.”
Geist is always seeking short (800-1200 words) non-fiction, typically personal narrative, for the Notes & Dispatches section. Notes & Dispatches are brief and often humorous or lighthearted evocations of life (most often) set in the land north of America, written in plain language with strong verbs. They are usually first hand reports of apparently simple encounters—with people, places, objects—that capture the spirit of our time. We are especially interested in historical narrative (see Robert Everett-Green’s “Checkered Past”), profiles of ordinary people with extraordinary stories (“Mr Tubesteak and the Schoolteacher” by Stephen Osborne), cultural news or non-news (“Giller Filler” by Diana Bryden) and everyday occurrences that show the strangeness of life (“Chainsaw Man” by Lucianne Poole). Notes & Dispatches have been filed from the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous Festival, a Nuu-chah-nulth naming ceremony, Question Period at Parliament Hill, a family reunion, bra shopping at Zellers, a cross Canada train, a floatation tank, the RCMP Heritage Centre in Regina, a salt mine in Poland, high tea at Buckingham Palace, a bathtub on the Sunshine Coast, among others.
Longer non-fiction pieces are published as Features.
Fiction: We publish short stories (see Stephen Smith’s “Sir John’s Lost Diaries”) in the Features section. Send one story at a time.
Poetry: Send a maximum of 5 poems.
Photography/Art: We look for art and photography to accompany written work in the magazine, and we also publish art and photo essays with text by the artist. For a good example of this, see "Memory and the Valley" by David Campion and Sandra Shields. When submitting artwork by mail, send digital media or photocopies only—no originals.
Reviews: We look for critical essays dealing with issues of the imagination as reflected, for instance, in the work of one or more authors. (See Alberto Manguel’s “I Believe Because It’s Impossible” in Geist 71.) Endnotes are written by Geist staff and correspondents.
Findings: We reprint excerpts from published work and works-in-progress in the Findings section, along with documents and interesting items found online, or anywhere in the real world. We appreciate suggestions from writers, artists and publishers.
Naturally, these categories are flexible. We like work that crosses genres or that surprises us in other ways.
With the exception of Findings, all submissions should be original and previously unpublished. We do not accept email submissions and unsolicited pitches. Covid-19 has not changed our submission policies and practices.
Manuscripts can be sent by mail to:
Editorial Board, Geist
#210 - 111 West Hastings Street
Canada V6B 1H4
For responses, please include a SASE with Canadian postage or IRC, or your email address. We accept simultaneous submissions, but please note it in your cover letter and let us know if your submission is accepted elsewhere. We buy first North American serial rights for most original work, and second or third serial rights for previously published work (including work published on the internet).
Wait 4 months before e-mailing to check the status of your submission. And please, no phone calls.