Incarcerated Writers Initiative

Incarcerated Writers Initiative

The Incarcerated Writers Initiative was started in 2016 by Heather Radke at the Columbia Journal as a way to open the student publishing platform to writers in prisons across the United States. This population has been traditionally overlooked, undervalued, and pushed to the margins. We believe the inclusion of their literary voices will enlarge and ultimately strengthen the artistic and scholarly community.

The submission period is now open. We accept submissions from current and formerly incarcerated writers in the following categories:

Fiction (up to 5,000 words)
Nonfiction (up to 5,000 words)  
Poetry (up to 5 pages)
Visual Art (up to 5 pages)

All writing submissions may be considered for general print and online publication in the Columbia Journal, and may be entered into the Journal’s Winter Contest. All submitted works are also eligible for publication in Exchange, a literary magazine published through Columbia Artists/Teachers that features work exclusively by incarcerated artists. Both printed publications will be released in Spring 2022.  All writing submissions will receive a detailed feedback letter from a current Columbia writing student.

Please submit artwork by email only. All work must be previously unpublished, and do note that only one submission per genre is accepted for review. Do not send original copies, as IWI cannot return manuscripts, and make sure to include this cover sheet with your work.

Writers can send their digital submissions to or physical copies of their work to:

Heather Gluck – Incarcerated Writers Initiative, Columbia Artists/Teachers
415 Dodge Hall
Mail Code 1804
2960 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

By submitting, you give Columbia Journal and Exchange permission to publish your work in  print or online. Email Director Heather Gluck ( with any questions you may have, or you can send a letter to the address above.


We look forward to reading your work!

Begin typing your search term above and press enter to search. Press ESC to cancel.

Back To Top