BOOKS & ARTS
We are currently only open in this category for pitches on dispatches of upcoming literary festivals, zine festivals, biennales, art exhibitions etc. Please limit yourself to one pitch until you have heard back, and limit your pitch to two short paragraphs. Make sure to send a link of the event as well as the dates.
Send your pitch to email@example.com with the subject heading "Festival Pitch". You do not need to have attended any event before the deadline, but you must be registered for it.
We are currently open to pitches. See guidelines below.
As crises deepen both in and around South Asia, we extend our mission to encompass other parts of the world. Part of our mission is to forge new communities and build upon longrunning traditions of solidarity across oceans, languages, and nations. The Vertical is a column centering solidarity—an effort to include essential, specific stories from across the world, featuring voices that offer a deeper introduction to key issues impacting regions not limited to South Asia.*
Our aim is to ensure that we are able to publish and create space to share the work being done by marginalized communities, their voices, their struggle across different contexts in South Asia against oppression, marginalisation, active genocide and growing fascism to enable solidarities and make the movements stronger and visible in whichever way possible.
The Vertical is rooted in the belief that to fight the growing inequities and systemic oppression and injustice, the movements across South Asia and the world have to be connected, the voices amplified through solidarities. Our context might be unique but the goals are common.
Pitches to The Vertical must have a degree of urgency, news-worthiness, or lack of local and/or international coverage, to indicate their importance. There is no prescribed genre for such stories: we are open to more academic pieces as well as reported pieces or multimedia storytelling. However, we are unlikely to entertain humorous, satirical, or highly profane works which may be more successful as pitches in other categories. Collaborations are welcome.
Please keep your pitches short: a maximum of three short paragraphs. Inform us of the story you wish to tell and why it is important in one paragraph. Tell us a bit about yourself and why you are compelled and well-positioned to write this piece in another paragraph; you may hyperlink to one or two clips although no previous publications are required.
Send a maximum of two pitches at a time to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will get back to you, but we have received hundreds of pitches per open call in the past, so please bear with us. Please do not pitch us again until you receive word on one or both of your pitches. If you do not receive personalized feedback, please do not take it as a reflection of the quality of your pitch, and solely about timing and the bandwidth of our editorial team!
Please note these general guidelines for the length of the final piece when pitching your work. Each piece in The Vertical is remunerated a flat fee of USD$200.
Prose: Please pitch a work of short-form opinion, analysis or reportage 750-2,000 words in length. In exceptional circumstances, we may allow writers to exceed the word limit. Unless you are pitching a photo-essay, please note that prose and photography will be considered as two separate pitches. See here for an example of an opinion piece in prose.
Comic: We are likely to publish the equivalent of ½-two A4-sized page(s) with original illustration. For longer works or laborious collaborations, please submit in another category. Algorithmically generated & AI art is not permitted. See here for a sample comic.
Multimedia: For video, please pitch a short video about 0.5-2 minutes long. See here for an example of a short-form video.
For all other genres, pitch the equivalent of the three examples provided here.
Longer-form works may be better suited to our Features or Books & Arts sections. See here for an example of a long-form reported prose piece. If you envision a longer work and still believe it belongs in The Vertical, please let us know why. Please note that between pitch and publication, a great deal changes because editors at SAAG work intensively with creators to publish the best possible piece.
* We deliberately do not construe "South Asia" specifically in terms of geography. This is because we recognize, as our archives indicate, that: 1. Diasporic communities originating in the subcontinent exist in countries as far east and as far west as any map will show. 2. "South Asia" is generally conceived of as countries within the subcontinent, but the history of its terminology is often nationalist, divisive, and problematic for many peoples even within the region's most populous country. As Benedict Anderson has argued, it is also a construction to some degree of the rise of area studies; its arbitrariness can be seen in the inconveniences: some countries in what is academically considered "Southeast Asia" share more historical, cultural, and linguistic similarities with those considered "South Asian" countries, and vice versa. For the purposes of The Vertical in particular, however, we do not find identity or the delineations of "South Asia" pertinent to the purpose of the column.
** Remuneration for shorter or longer works by length or works that take significantly more or less labor than average may be adjusted for accordingly in exceptional circumstances.
FICTION & POETRY
We are currently open to submissions for prose fiction for Issue 2.
We want off-beat and experimental, formless and precise, epic and intimate. In short, we want stories that surprise, enthrall and engage us in unexpected ways. We have no limitations on substance, form, and style. We prefer stories within the 750-4,000 word limit, but are open to adjusting if we feel moved.
We want stories that surprise, enthrall and engage us in unexpected ways, that change the way we look at the same old things. We want the off-beat and the experimental, formless structures and precise language, epic and intimate. There are no limitations on substance, subject or style.
Please submit up to one short story within the 4,000 word limit or up to three flash pieces in a single document to email@example.com. We will consider stories that exceed the word limit.
The following are some works of short fiction curated by the Fiction team, including some by our editors or previously published. Please consider them as loose references of stories that deeply moved us:
A Sequence of Small and Big Events by Farah Ali, VQR.
Baba Nowruz Gives His Wife a Flower Only Once a Year by Fatima Taqvi, Fantasy Magazine
Man Mountain by Catherine Lacey, Astra Magazine
Rubberdust by Sarah Thankam Mathews, Kenyon Review
These Bad Things by Danielle Dutton, Guernica
The Devil’s Treasure by Mary Gaitskill, Electric Literature
Two Stories by Nabarun Bhattacharya, trans. by Arunava Sinha, SAAG
Wisteria by Mieko Kawakami, Astra Magazine
We are currently closed for pitches of non-fiction longform work.