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.

IWI: Call for Submissions

As part of the Columbia Writing Program’s commitment to bring underrepresented voices into the public sphere the Incarcerated Writers’ Initiative (formerly a division of the Columbia Journal), would like to extend a special invitation to incarcerated writers to submit their writing. Writers may submit work by mail at no fee.
Submissions open September 1st, and close December 1st, 2019 (postmark deadline).
We accept submissions in the following categories:
Fiction (up to 5,000 words)
Nonfiction (up to 5,000 words)
Poetry (up to 5 pages)
All submissions are eligible for general print and online publication in the Columbia Journal, and may be entered into the journal’s Winter Contest. Submitted works are also eligible for publication in Exchange, a literary magazine published through Columbia Artists/Teachers that features work exclusively from incarcerated artists. Both printed publications will be released in Spring, 2020.
Submission Guidelines
Your submission must include the attached cover sheet. If possible, please submit all work in the same envelope on standard size 8.5 x 11” paper. All work must be previously unpublished. Please note that only one submission per genre is accepted for review. Columbia Journal cannot return manuscripts. Do not send originals. Writers should send physical copies of their work to:
Nathaniel Berry – Coordinator, 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 Coordinator Nathaniel Berry ( with any questions you may have, or a letter at the address above. All submissions will receive a response.
We look forward to reading your work!