Poetry | ”Of Lipstick and Labels’ & 1 more poem by Anureet Watta | LGBTQ+ (Vol 1) – Issue 35

Of Lipstick and Labels

What they do not tell you,
when you finally kiss a girl is,
that it may not feel right the first time,
it may not feel right ever.
sometimes walking out of the closet
is like walking into a new one.
The labels you choose
after years of rummaging,
through leftovers
from past revolutions,
and all the sneers thrown at school,
the labels
might still not fit as perfectly,
as you thought they would,
but you’re allowed to get them wrong again
and again.
When this confusion becomes the most familiar part of my day,
I think
I’ve spent too long in the closet,
for all these ill-fitting sizes,
and too awkward shoulders,
by now,
I should’ve figured what to do with a black eye,
how to stitch torsos to fit like armour,
what do you mean all this lace and satin wasn’t meant for me?
When you kiss a girl,
you will still not know
what to do with your hands,
they’re too wobbly for this business,
the parts of her,
you thought you knew your way around
would still feel alien,
and unfamiliar,
like going back to where you once lived,
where everything is the same, but nothing really is;

but you’ve practised
for this unfamiliarity,
your hands on her stomach,
might make you hate yourself a little less,
for her soft belly, is just soft belly,
not disappointments measured out in tacos,
after all,
you might not crave the sharp edges,
you thought you always needed,
you wouldn’t have to fold yourself so small
to fit in little pockets of love
love is Marine Drive, huge, and salty,
but waiting,
and it doesn’t care what shape you are.

when you kiss a girl,
maybe all the flowers in all the poems will make sense,
maybe you’ll want to melt all the words,
that shuffle through your mind
as her face fits perfectly
between your chin and your shoulder
and melt them with the sweetest of lies,
and pour into the cracked edges of the world,
just so it heals.

what they do not tell you,
about kissing a girl is
even when you like it
is that your eyes will always stay open
on the lookout for fire,
but there might be lipstick
and hers might wear on yours
like a swatch
Make a colour you can’t name,
and when you get home
your mother might say
this shade
this shade makes you glow.


We Swallow the Sun to Keep from Stuttering

coming out

as a person, a gender, an orientation, a heartbeat,

was never a one-time thing,

but we keep longing for it to be,

maybe soon,

it will be our last time around.

You tell me,

what it’s like to dream,

a body for yourself,

heights and hair and hands and parts,

that match your heart,

you want to pick a name,

so much softer than all the things you’ve been through,

maybe one day,

these longings will just be the memoirs and reminder,

which come after new dawns.

You have never longed to be understood,

just acknowledged,

under kinder skies and with undoubtful eyes,

but until then,

I’m here,

and I’m not really a hug person,

but I think we can both use one,

it is hard to carry so much hurt,

in chests that have never quite felt like your own,

in hearts that have learnt to love,

in ways, they weren’t taught,

in hands that still have to prove

their actuality.

friend,

longings are soft,

but it’s the soft things that destroy us in the end,

that turn fights into revolutions,

it always hurts to become,

what you’ve intended to,

no one is looking,

blossoming is still blossoming;

we are, after all,

the truest reporters of ourselves,

no matter how many times we got it wrong before.

the moon does not have to ask,

before it changes,

the moon has never learnt to apologise,

when it shines greater than the sun.


Anureet Watta is a 19 year old poet from Delhi. She writes of queerness, girlhood and the overwhelming anguish of being alive. Performing across open mics in Delhi, she believes spoken word poetry is the perfect amalgamation of poetry and theatre.



Submissions open for

LGBTQ + Vol 2 (January, 2021)

Solicited entries paid.

The Bombay Review

Top 25 LGBTQI+ Magazines and Zines from India/Asia

Authentic and alternate: LGBTQI+ Writing in india and the rest of asia
submit your creative writing, read proud, write proud

The pride movement took off in the 60s and 70s. With it, came forth magazines and publications that would come to archive voices, experiences, and the social change. Words poured here, insights shared, norms questioned — until the written word began a movement of its own. These glossy print editions or stuffed newsletters were building an informed consciousness, driving home one key idea: that LGBTQI+ rights were unequivocally human rights. 

It’s a different century, a different decade. What started as a dribble has emerged into a sea of change. Progress has varied across continents and socio-cultural discourse. Asian society, in particular, has been steeped in political dissent. Ideas about gender identity and sexual orientation continue to be misunderstood; fluidity and freedom to love treated with disdain; and religious/cultural doctrines misinterpreted.

Stray too far from binary gender standards and one would be treated as deviant, an anomaly deserving punishment. Nations like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia have a formidable record of homophobia and transphobia – where many activists have been jailed and worse, killed. 

But the movement towards equity and inclusivity hasn’t lost steam. In the last decade, magazines, zines, newsletters, and independent websites have emerged to shape the LGBTQI+ discourse in their own voices. These publications are cultivating a sense of community and safety, educating and informing the public consciousness, giving a platform to creative expression, and destigmatising a conversation that warrants a place in civil society. ‘Love is love is love’ becomes a rallying cry, a resilient beam, and the ultimate truth these publications swear by.

Here is a list of independent publications — zines, magazines, websites – that are representing the LGBTQI+ voice with luminosity and valiance. The idea of pride has never been more accessible, democratic, and inspired.

By Saumya K


The Bombay Review
Estd. 2014 | New York / Mumbai

Call for submissions! While not a dedicated queer magazine, The Bombay Review also publishes LGBTQ+ themed editions. 

Writers in Vol I (2020): Despy Boutris, J. Mueter, Geri Gale, S. Crystal Bacon, Amelia Brown, Shailee R, Robert Beveridge, among others.

We are now reading for Volume II: Fiction, Poetry, Essays, Art, Reviews. Solicited entries are paid $50 per contribution. Submission details here.


5Kadak Collective

What would the comic scene look like with female representation? How do you create heroines? Thus formed a platform to voice observations from South Asia through graphic storytelling by womxn, LGBTQ+ and queer communities. Its anthology, Bystander, features 50+ artists, illustrators, designers, and writers from 13 countries, and is the first splash as they make waves in graphic storytelling, inspiration, and creativity.

Founder: Aarthi Parthasarathy, Aindri Chakraborty, Akhila Krishnan, Garima Gupta, Janine Shroff, Kaveri Gopalakrishnan, Mira Malhotra and Pavithra Dikshit
Theme: Gender, geography and borders, identity, and inclusion
Social Media: Instagram, Website, Twitter, Kickstarter
Format: Multimedia, zines
Year launched: 2016

“An ever-expanding group of creators, we work on self-authored projects and zines. Kadak means strong, severe, sharp — like our tea.”


20Outrage Magazine

Launched in 2007, Outrage Magazine is the only LGBT webzine in the Philippines. It constructs a safe space for the Filipino queer community and LGBTQI allies to express and assert their voices. The publication also conducts workshops and researches concerning the community’s interests.

Pitch ideas to: editor@outragemag.com
Editor: Michael David C. Tan
Theme: Minority issues, gender and sexuality, identity politics
Genre: Features, profiles, personal essays
Social Media: Website, Twitter, Instagram
Format: Online
Year launched: 2007

“We believe that LGBTQI voices need to be heard, particularly when mainstream media does not treat our issues the right way. And so we bring these issues up.”


16Burnt Roti Magazine

The magazines delves into representations of young womxn, South Asian womxn and queer womxn. Its third issue will look at anti-blackness in South Asian communities and will feature five mixed ethnicity creatives. As an archive of experiences and stories, the magazine hopes to destigmatise conversation around sexuality, mental health, and issues relating to the self. It also curates a directory of South Asian creatives for hire to showcase and encourage talent.

Submission guidelines

Editor: Sharan Dhaliwal
Theme: Gender and sexuality, women’s rights, mental health, identity and representation, colourism, racism
Genre: Interviews, short fiction, essays, reviews
Social Media: Twitter, Website, Patreon, Instagram
Format: Online
Year launched: 2012

“We do not want to offend, we just want to give opportunities to those who are otherwise cast aside in the world of writing.”


7Gaylaxy Magazine

Galylaxy was born out of a need to fill the lacuna of queer voices showcasing their triumphs and stories in India. The e-magazine is an archive of stories that impact the diversity of voices and a platform to campaign for queer visibility.

Send ideas to: editor@gaylaxymag.com 
Editor: Sukhdeep Singh
Theme: Gender, sexuality, identity, civil rights, current affairs
Genre: Personal essays, features, news stories, more
Social Media: Twitter, Website
Format: Online
Year launched: 2010

“…we are still trying to bring out new facets, voice evolving concerns and simultaneously learn about the fascinating diversity of the queer community.”


18Gaysi Family

Gaysi is a portmanteau of ‘gay’ and ‘desi’, two things that are still blending in the broader culture. It regularly publishes stories online for, by, and of the South Asian queer community to nurture social expression. Anything from text, graphic to interactives. What started as an online forum turned into a print magazine, the Gaysi Zine, in 2011 in the hopes to expand the reach of the queer movement as widely as it can. The publication is a movement in itself — a melange of love, art, and resilience.

Submission guidelines

Editor: Sakshi & Jo
Theme: Gay rights, LGBTQ+ voices, queer perception and Indian cultural norms, pop culture, gender and identity
Genre: Opinion, personal essays, fiction, graphic novels and comics, poems, reviews, news stories
Social Media: Twitter, Website, Instagram
Format: Online blog and print
Year launched: 2008

“Our stories will be written for those who still believe that they are the ones who are different.”


17Fifty Shades of Gay

FSOG’s novelty lies in its mission: to destigmatise all that India hides in time-honoured taboos. It encourages conversation on the likes of family planning, safe-sex practices, LGBTQIA+ identity and stories — often treated as conversational pariahs in the social context. The website documents stories, encourages conversation by putting up factsheets and FAQs, and has a helpline for personal support.

Mail: getinvolved@fifityshadesofgay.co.in
Founder: Shubham Mehrotra
Theme: Sexual identity, safe-sex practice, family planning, gender
Genre: Personal essays, reviews, news, interviews
Social Media: Twitter, Website, Facebook
Format: Online blog
Year launched: 2016

“Fifty Shades of Gay believes in a fair and equal India where everyone can achieve their full potential, irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity.”


14Varta 

The Varta webzine is a part of Varta Trust and was launched as a campaign to encourage dialogue around gender and sexuality. As a multilingual publication, it weaves together the diversity in the Indian landscape and helps them access stories of and from the LGBTQ+ community. The Trust conducts training, research, policy and media advocacy under its banner.

Submission guidelines

Board of Trustees: Pawan Dhall, Kaushik Gupta, Madhuja Nandi
Theme: Gender equity, sexual identity, diversity and inclusion, identity and expression, health, human rights, environmental issues
Genre: Personal essays, interviews, critical commentary, reviews, poems, fiction, travelogues
Social Media: Facebook, Website, Twitter
Format: Webzine and online blog
Year launched: 2012


4Queer Chennai Chronicles

QCC is imagining the queer community through a regional lens and distilling it through the world of literature. The literary forum held Chennai’s first queer literary festival, organises an independent film festival, published a book, and launched its bilingual e-zine, paalputhu pakkangkal. It is looking for voices that can help bring out a queer-centric narrative.

Submission guidelines

Founders: Moulee C and Violet LJ  
Theme: Gender, sexuality, social and cultural expression, LGBTQ community, anti-caste values, racism
Genre: Fiction, poems, art, non-fiction, reported features
Social Media: Twitter, Website, Instagram
Format: E-zine
Year launched: 2017


21In Plainspeak

A digital magazine of NGO TARSHI, In Plainspeak is a dialogue between people in the global south about sexual and reproductive rights. It started as a print publication in 2005 and has since evolved into a webzine, with discussion and knowledge creation around socially-vetoed topics. The bilingual zine brings out two issues with a unifying theme each month. Like TARSHI, it is creating a safe, inclusive, and sexually-affirming discourse.

Submission guidelines

Founders: Anisha Dutt, Radhika Chandiramani, Shikha Aleya 
Theme: Sexuality, social stigma, awareness and perspective, reproductive rights, disability, sex work
Genre: Interviews, reviews, personal essays, non-fiction, fiction, poetry, short films, podcasts, artwork and illustrations
Social Media: Twitter, Website, Facebook
Format: E-zine
Year launched: 2005

“…highlighting how sexuality intersects with various aspects of our daily lives.”


23Scripts

As a queer zine, Scripts lives up to empowering the queer female voice and much more. The publication was launched as a campaign by Lesbians and Bisexuals in Action (Labia) Collective, a watershed organisation in LBT activism in India. The publication along with the autonomous, Bombay-based collective has weaved a space for cultural and creative expression. It cultivates multiple conversations around social justice and queer identity.

Submission guidelines

Editor: Unknown
Theme: Gender, sexuality, social justice
Genre: Fiction, poem, personal essays, comic strips, illustrations, social commentary
Social Media: Twitter, Website, Facebook
Format: E-zine
Year launched: 1998


15Orinam 

The website is the digital arm of a grassroots collective started by queer men in Tamil Nadu. Orinam is all about inclusivity, as the ‘o’ rounds in the luminous spectrum of gender and sexual orientations. The website is a one-stop shop for resources, advocacy material, archive of protests, and also houses the blog, Our Voices. It regularly publishes stories about the LGBTQIA+ community, their allies, and social interaction in Tamil Nadu.

Contact 

Theme: Human rights, LGBTQIA+ representation, gender and sexuality, South Indian diaspora 
Genre: Personal essays, poetry, fiction, articles, podcast, interviews
Social Media: Website, Twitter, Facebook
Format: Online
Year launched: 2006

“Hues may vary, but humanity does not: This line stresses the notion of sameness across difference, or unity in diversity, a cornerstone of India’s national aspiration and basis for the LGBTIQA+ struggle for equality.”


13Swakanthey

Sappho for Equality, an activist forum for lesbians, women, and trans rights, is inspired by the Greek lyric poet. It is of little wonder then that its bi-annual publication would be rightly titled Swakanthey, or “In her own voice”. The bilingual six-page newsletter is published in January and June every year, and is an articulation of LBT expression and advocacy of their rights. It is distributed across the hallowed halls of Kolkata International Book Fair each year.

For contribution, mail: sappho1999@gmail.com

Editor: Subhagata Ghosh
Theme: Sexuality, queer narratives, reproductive rights, sexual education, gender identity
Genre: Fiction, poems, academic articles, non-fiction, interviews, illustrations, comic strips
Social Media: Website
Format: Print
Year launched: 2004

“In Our Own Voice is a movement by itself both in the field of sexuality rights in India and little magazine in Kolkata.”


2Roopban

The Bangladeshi social discourse beams with strict gender roles and heteronormative ideals. As LGBTQ+ movements gain momentum at the grassroots, Roopban has cultivated a legacy of courage. It made history with its first-ever print magazine advancing their mission of “freedom to love”. The founders of the autonomous body were assassinated by extremists as they campaigned for gender diversity. Yet, the movement has been relentless in its struggle. The magazine has evolved into an online community blog that explores gender and sexuality in a society in transition. The archive published a queer poetry book in 2015, Roop Gonti, and a collection of letters from the LGBTQI+ community, Iti Roopban, is expected to be released soon. 

Submission guidelines

Theme: Gender and sexuality, violence, social oppression, identity politics, human rights
Genre: Essays, opinions, poems, personal narratives, photos
Social Media: Twitter, Website, Instagram
Format: Print and online
Year launched: 2014

“We believe that we must come together as a community, build strong networks, and create platforms to voice important issues relevant to the advancement of the Bangladeshi LGBT+ community.”


1Equality Magazine

Equality has been described as the first archive of LGBTQI+ lifestyle in Sri Lanka. Launched under the NGO banner of Equal Ground, the quarterly magazine furthers its mission of ensuring socio-cultural rights and political equity in Sri Lanka. 

Mail for contributions: media@equalgroundsrilanka.com

Founder: Rosanna Flamer-Caldera 
Theme: Human rights, LGBTQI+ representation, gender and sexuality, civil society, legal aid
Genre: Personal essays, interviews, reviews, poems, short stories
Social Media: Twitter, Website, Facebook
Format: Online blog
Year launched: 2016

“Our goals are to make the lives of LGBTIQ persons in Sri Lanka meaningful and free from stigma and discrimination.”


19Element Magazine

A bi-monthly in Singapore, Element is dubbed as the one-stop shop for the Asian LGBTQ+ community. It delves deeper into the gender diverse narrative — featuring stories about lifestyle and personhood of queer voices across Asia. It is also Singapore’s leading men’s magazine. 

Pitch ideas to: edit@elementmag.asia

Editor: Noel Ng
Theme: Asian LGBT community, lifestyle, fashion, LGBT rights, personal grooming
Genre: Features, interviews, news stories
Social Media: Website, Twitter
Format: Online
Year launched: 2013

“It brings the Asian gay community together with contents that are closely associated with their lives.”


3Mondro

The queer community in Bangladesh is in the midst of a menacing social movement. As a queer cultural organisation, Mondro describes itself is the first and largest queer archive in Bangladesh. It directs attention towards the spectrum of gender, non-conformity, and fluidity. The archive includes resource creation, online blog, and advocacy tools. In August this year, it launched its first webzine in Bangla titled Thahor, which translates to contemplation. 

Submission guidelines

Theme: Gender, sexuality, queer identity, conflict, social oppression, activism, violence, gender discrimination 
Genre: Personal essays, non-fiction, videos, illustrations, poems, short stories, translations, interviews, reviews
Social Media: Twitter, Website, Instagram
Format: E-zine and online blog
Year launched: 2019

“Recognize and give space to Bangladeshi queer lives that are forgotten and erased from dominant history.”


11South Asian Today

The autonomous organisation has one aim: to pass on the mic to South Asian women and non-binary individuals. And it does that with ingenuity and passion, using multimedia tools like videos and podcasts to create and engage. The inspired storytelling hopes to reflect the diversity of the South Asian subcontinent.

Submission guidelines

Editors: Dilpreet Kaur Taggar and Tanja JV Singh
Theme: Identity and gender, health, and reproductive rights, popular culture, South Asian diaspora, socio-political issues, racism and caste
Genre: Videos, podcast, personal essay, interview, social commentary, poetry, photo essays
Social Media: Twitter, Website, Facebook
Format: Blog and newsletter
Year launched: 2020

“As an inclusive space, our goal is to solidify diversity within our own communities and pass on the mic to those who have not been given enough chances to tell their stories.”


Some more web zines and magazines: Upcoming / Recently established

Theme: Perspectives of women, LGBTQ+, non-binary groups
Social Media: Website, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook
Format: Online
Year launched: 2020

Theme: Human rights, free expression, Ambedkarite values, politics…
Social Media: Twitter, Website, Facebook
Format: Online blog
Year launched: 2019

Theme: Perception and narratives of South Asian LGBTQ+ community
Social Media: Website, Instagram, Twitter
Format: E-zine 
Year launched: 2018


Theme: Queer identity, South Asian diaspora, coming-out experiences
Social Media: Instagram, Website
Format: Newsletter
Year launched: 2020

Theme: Womxn and non-binary people, South Asian diaspora, gender & identity
Social Media: Instagram, Website, Twitter
Format: E-zine and online blog
Year launched: 2019

Theme: Gender, sexuality, politics of non-conformity, self-identity, LGBTQ+ rights
Social Media: Instagram, Website
Format: E-zine
Year launched: 2018


Theme: Queer identity, South Asia
Social Media: Website
Format: E-Zine
Year launched: 2019

Theme: Trans, intersex and/or non-binary art and experiences
Social Media: Instagram, Website
Format: E-zine and online blog
Year launched: Unknown

The list is in no particular order. Do you know of more websites, magazines, or zine that could be on the list? Drop the names and link in comments below. 

Top Middle Eastern Literary Magazines to submit your Creative Writing to.

 

Hello!

Here is a new list of magazines to submit your work!

We, at The Bombay Review have a special focus on emerging and established writing from the Middle Eastern region. So if you are from or write about the region, and wish to have your work published with us, submit away! Our themed editions, published or forthcoming are on: Iran, Iraq, Palestine, Israel, and Egypt. While submissions for these open regularly, we sure look for great writing all year round. Details below, along with the list of other literary journals/magazines. We are constantly working to update this list, if you know of a publication that can be here, drop a comment below. The list is in no particular order.

–  Editor, The Bombay Review



The Bombay Review
Year established: 2014
Published from: New York City & Mumbai
Genres: Fiction, Poetry, Essays, Art, Reviews, Interviews, Culture pieces
Submission period: All year
Type: Online + Print
Website | Instagram | Facebook
Submission fee: None
Payment: Ranges from Nil to $50
Editors: Kaartikeya Bajpai | Rochelle Potkar



13 LITERARY MAGAZINES
The Middle East
(English/Bilingual)
Short fiction, poetry, translations, reviews, screenplays, essays, and more.

The Bosphorus Review Of BooksThe Bosphorus Review of Books

Year established: 2017
Published from: Istanbul, Turkey
Genres: Fiction, Non-fiction, Poetry, Book reviews
Submission period: All year
Type: Digital
Website | Instagram | Facebook
Submission fee: Nil
Payment: Nil
Editor: Luke Frostick and Thomas Parker


new-journal

Rowayat

Year established: 2013
Published from: Egypt & Kent, United Kingdom
Genres: Short fiction, Flash fiction, Poetry
Submission period: All year
Type: Digital + Print
Website | Facebook
Submission fee: Nil
Payment: Nil
Editor: Sherine ElBanhawy


Sukoon

Year established: 2013
Published from: Dubai, UAE
Genres: Poetry, Short fiction, Essays
Submission period: All year
Type: Digital
Website | Facebook
Submission fee: Nil
Payment: Nil
Editor: Rewa Zeinati


Sail

Year established: 2010
Published from: Dubai, UAE
Genres: Articles
Submission period: All year
Type: Digital
Website | Instagram | Facebook
Submission fee: Nil
Payment: Nil
Editor: Iman Ben Chaibah 


ArabLit Quartlerly

Year established: 2018
Published from: Unknown
Genres: Poetry, Fiction, Essays
Submission period: Rolling basis
Type: Digital + Print
Website | Instagram | Facebook
Submission fee: Nil
Payment: Nil to $500
Editor: M Lynx Qualey


Pin by IAA Libraries on Books from Around the World | Literature ...Banipal

Year established: 1998
Published from: London, UK
Genres: Translations
Submission period: All year
Type: Digital + Print
Website | Facebook
Submission fee: Nil
Payment: Nil
Editor: Margaret Obank


Jahanamiya

Year established: 2017
Published from: Saudi Arabia, Michigan, USA
Genres: Poetry, Fiction, and Non-fiction writing
Submission period: Rolling basis
Type: Digital
Website | Instagram | Facebook
Submission fee: Nil
Payment: Nil
Editor: Ahd Niazy


Al Jadid Magazine

Year established: 1995
Published from: California, USA
Genres: Essays, Features, Reviews, Interviews, Translations
Submission period: All year
Type: Digital + Print
Website | Facebook
Submission fee: Nil
Payment: Nil
Editor: Elie Chalala


Rusted Radishes

  • Year established: 2011
  • Published from: Beirut, Lebanon
  • Genres: Comics, Artwork, Translations, Fiction, Creative nonfiction, Poetry
  • Submission period: All year
  • Type: Digital
  • Website | Instagram | Facebook
  • Submission fee: Nil
  • Payment: Nil
  • Editor: Rima Rantisi

Untitled design (1)Pars Times

Year established: 2002
Published from: Iran
Genres: Interviews, Articles, Poetry, Short fiction
Submission period: All year
Type: Digital
Website | Facebook
Submission fee: Nil
Payment: Nil
Editor: Unknown


Parsagon

Year established: 2013
Published from: Iran
Genres: Poetry, Fiction, Nonfiction, Drama
Submission period: All year
Type: Digital
Website | Facebook
Submission fee: Nil
Payment: Nil
Editor: Unknown


Al-Madaniya

Year established: 2018
Published from: Yemen
Genres: Essays, Short fiction, Nonfiction
Submission period: All year
Type: Digital
Website | Facebook
Submission fee: Nil
Payment: Nil
Editor: Hamza Shiban


The Istanbul Review

Year established: 2014
Published from: Istanbul, Turkey
Genres: Poetry, Fiction
Submission period: All year
Type: Digital
Website | Facebook
Submission fee: Nil
Payment: Nil
Editor: Hande Zapsu Watt


Poetry | ‘Hope’, ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ by Deekshita Rajesh Athreya | School Student Writing

Hope

A shadow of darkness fills my gaze,
As the nightly air patrols around
The once lovely countryside all in a haze,
So deathly a silence, my heartbeats resound.

The moon appears to heal my wounded soul,
Emerging as a ray of hope through a gaping hole,
Sending a subtle hint straight into my heart,
If darkness comes, light is not far apart.

The Cuckoo’s Calling

A fruitless day spent idling on the couch,
was made endearing by a cuckoo’s call on the porch.
A single note that rang out, pure and clear,
Enchantingly beckoning its near and dear.

Come on comrades! Let us rejoice,
Sans pollution, nature has regained her poise,
For, the heartless humans are still behind bars,
Just this once, we can truly see the stars.

A single voice with so much hope,
Of expressing it, no music has scope,
All the guilt the humans are stalling,
Has been brought forth by the Cuckoo’s calling.

Deekshita Rajesh Athreya is a 15 year old student at Udgam School For Children, Ahmedabad. She has a passion for the English language and enjoys reading. Her favourite authors are J.K. Rowling and Rick Riordan. She loves Robert Frost’s poetry.

Poetry | ‘Glass Grows’ & Other Poems by U. Sai Sruti | School Student Writing

Glass Grows

we live in a glass world
glass dolls and glass minds
growing out of glass jungles
glass bodies cracking and green
this glass shatters in this glowing stream
of green blood and green hearts
bleeding blackening grease
green governments eyeing the glass green
and piercing glass into these bodies
that spew their spleen of earth-shattering green
glass breaking, burning, brewing
glass minds that grow glass ideas
and pierce shards into these green goats
glass ministers take glass decisions
as the glass pushes through the
cracking earth sprouting out
of these concrete jungles
into the glass tongues of these
glass people silencing these glass voices
you are glass, and I am glass too
living in a world that is growing glass roots

lies my mother told me

mama said she saw the purple flowers decorating my back
she also saw pomegranate blood dripping from my thighs
she says that daddy loves me a lot
but mama why does it hurt so much
when he runs his hands along the whip
and paints my back with flowers
mama is wrong
this cannot be love
mama lied to me
and i only realized that when
i saw mama’s back littered with wild petunias

How to Get a New Heart

the thud of my footsteps
reverberates with the sound 
of my heart leaping 
out of my body
and falling onto the middle of
the road
I watch as it
vibrates with so much intensity
and finally comes to a stop
there is a cavity
in my chest now
where my heart once was
I look at it in desperation
waiting for it to
show me something
give me a sign
I try to pick it up
and put it back
where it’s supposed to be
“you are not supposed to be here,
go back inside”
and suddenly
a car runs over my heart
as I watch in horror
my poor crushed heart
now has blood leaking
from every cut
blood splattered on the streets
how do you feel safe
when the ones protecting you
are the ones inflicting this pain
tell me
teach me
how do I feel alive again
how do I feel alive again
how do I feel alive again
ink marks on my fingertips spread
as I keep writing
painting these pages
with my heartbreak and sorrow
one day I will scream these poems
and you will listen
someday, I will find
a new heart
waiting to beat
full of life
I will feel alive again
or so I tell myself

When the Reality Sets In

when the reality sets in
his buoyant veneer cracks
as the truth 
slowly crawls its way to him through his façade
cracking it little by little
as he clutches his little sister’s lifeless body in his hands
the soulless body (he is not used to saying corpse, please don’t say it)
staring into his being with beguiling chasms (please wake up, I love you so much it hurts)
his mother stands there and screams
as the reality is slowly hammering itself
into his brain (I am so sorry I couldn’t protect you, please forgive me)
screams lacerate his throat
he spills honey words into her ear
waiting for his love to manifest itself
in the form of a miracle
miracle
he wants a miracle to bring long-gone sister back home
as he shakes violently
hugging her close to his chest (can’t you see that I’m hurting? please come back)
the universe gyrated the day Esteban’s sister
put herself to sleep
fifteen years later, eidolons haunt Esteban as he sits on the kitchen stool. “Eat up Julia, we don’t want to be late for school now, do we?” he says, turning his head towards the empty kitchen stool next to him.

An Ode to My Past Self

this is an ode to my younger self
and to my present self
and to my future self
sunshine and candies sound marvellous
but that is not what
it will be like
every
second
every
minute
every
day
tick, tick, tick
you see, time will not stop for you
and there will be days
where your voice will slither
and hide in a hidden curve
of a hidden place
in your intestine
where it will stay there
till what feels like eternity
trapped
and sometimes not
and your tongue will swallow
all the venom coated lies you tell yourself
that sometimes drip of honey
honey
liquorice
sugar
sweet
salty
lies
lies that will break your home
lies that will break you
lies that will forever remain lies
truth will stare you down
it will make you queasy
jittery uncomfortable
your neck will itch and your insides will twist
twist into a knot
the kind that takes patience to undo
and that day your mouth will run dry
your fingers cold
your body will be on fire
fire
fire
you will think of sacrificing yourself
and succumbing to the
honey
liquorice
sugar
sweet
salty
fatal
lies
but that day
stare your fears down
stare the doubt down until
you burn holes in its head and it stumbles
backing away from
the truth looming over you
find that voice
and tell yourself that you will be alright
that you will do this again
and again
and again
and again
till the truth seeps through the crevasses of your mind
and stays there
maybe it will never stay
but tell yourself
that you will fight this fight
every
second
every
minute
every 
day
till you feel alright again

Dark Girl’s Magic

Some days I wake up
Brush my teeth with anxiety
And braid my hair with pain
There are days I chafe at my dark skin
As insults burn holes in my heart as I walk in
The school corridors
A sense of alienation hammering into me
I carry anguish on my shoulders
I feel like my soul is being crushed by boulders
Boulders of my thoughts and your words
Standing in front of the mirror I scratch my skin
As the sin of me being dark-skinned weighs me down
You pointed at me and laughed
As I stood there staring at the ground
Waiting for the earth to split open and swallow me whole

Aunty tells me that I am pretty for a dark-skinned girl
That I have nice hair and that almost compensates for the colour of my skin
No, I don’t want your almost compliments
I suddenly forget how to breathe as it slowly dawns on me
That dark is an atrocity
I am almost convinced that the universe
Is making me pay for all my sins
My world gyrated the day I told myself
I can never be enough, not in this skin

One day I thought I finally found
A solution to my
problem
White semi-liquid substance encapsulated in a bottle
My hopes and dreams died
As I frantically slapped it on my face
And rubbed it in until my skin was sore
I screamed
I screamed in rage
As I looked at the bottled in duplicity

You see melanin is only pretty
When it comes in tiny amounts
That day the oceans collided
and my cries were futile
But thank the Gods it didn’t work
My skin is not a painting open to your criticisms
I am not a doll sitting by the window waiting
to be admired by strangers
you see, I was taught that dark skin didn’t deserve to be loved
that I could never love myself
I blame the unrealistic beauty standards set
For young girls and boys
The perfect hourglass figure
The toned muscles
The plump lips
The doe-eyes
And the fair skin
And of course, just the right amount of curves
Stop this

We are going to claim our identities back
We are going to truly find peace in ourselves
So to all those who scratch their skin
And try to bleach it
I say don’t
Stand up for yourself and don’t you drown in dismay
For dark is magic
Dark is beautiful
Dark is elegant
Dark is powerful
Dark is the pupil which sees the world
Stars etched into the crevasses of your mind
And embedded in your arteries
You are made of stardust
My love, you were born from a magnificent supernova
Your skin is as wonderful as the limitless dark depth of the universe
Gold spills from your mouth
There is so much more to you than just your skin
And don’t you cry, o’ moonchild
You have magic running through your veins
Feeling beautiful is loving your thoughts
your mind and your soul
listen not to those
who tell you that you aren’t enough
for you are a child of the dark cosmos
you are more than enough

U. Sai Sruti is a student in her final year of high school at Tagore International School, New Delhi, India. Her writing has been recognised at several forums, most notably Katha Utsav, a national event where she was awarded the grand prize. Rudy Francisco, Nikita Gill and Porsha Olayiwola are her favourite poets.

Top Indian/Asian Literary Magazines to submit your Creative Writing to.

Literary magazines are a catalyst to good publishing in any country, functioning as a parallel industry to traditional book publishing. A rich literary magazine landscape comments on writing being taken seriously, and also nurtures a reading market for aspiring writers. Stimulating intellectual conversations, niche catering, lending support to Creative Writing programs, and providing a platform to be heard, or well, read; surround the larger role of magazines.

In India, South Asia, Africa and certain parts of the world,  literary magazines may have another role to play. Support writing careers. The magazines are a pillar to graduates of literature, passionate readers, bibliophiles, hobbyists; lending them the shoulder to spring start a probable writing career. 

Here, today, we have curated a list of our favorite literary magazines of Indian/Asian origin, publishing steadily for a couple of years. Persons of words in this part of the world, or anywhere else, go ahead and submit your creative writing.

We, The Bombay Review, are also always open to reading your work, publishing your work, and commending your work. Details below.

By Team TBR

The Bombay Review
Year established: 2014
Published from: New York City & Mumbai
Genres: Fiction, Poetry, Essays, Art, Reviews, Interviews, Culture pieces
Submission period: All year
Type: Online + Print
Website | Instagram | Facebook
Submission fee: None
Payment: upto $50 for solicited entries
Editors: Kaartikeya Bajpai | Rochelle Potkar


30 
LITERARY MAGAZINES
(Established more than 5 years ago, as of 2020)
Short fiction, poetry, translations, reviews, screenplays, essays, and more.

Indian Literature: Sahitya Academy

  • Year established: 1954
  • Published from: New Delhi, India
  • Genres: Poetry, short fiction in English translation and English, critical articles
  • Submission period: All year
  • Type: Digital + print
  • Website
  • Submission fee: None
  • Payment: None
  • Editor: Dr. A. J. Thomas

Asymptote Journal

  • Year established: 2015
  • Published from: Taiwan
  • Genres: Unpublished translated poetry, fiction, nonfiction and drama; original English-language nonfiction; visual art
  • Submission period: All year
  • Type: Digital
  • Website 
  • Submission fee: None
  • Payment: None
  • Editor: Lee Yew Leong

Jaggery Lit

  • Year established: 2013
  • Published from: India
  • Genres: Fiction, poetry, essays, art, reviews
  • Submission period: May 1 to July 1
  • Type: Digital
  • Website 
  • Submission fee: $25/piece
  • Payment: $100 for fiction, $25 for nonfiction/poetry/art/reviews
  • Editor: Anu Mahadev

Cha: An Asian Literary Journal (Could be defunct)

  • Year established: 2007
  • Published from: Hong Kong + London, UK
  • Genres: Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction
  • Submission period: All year
  • Type: Digital
  • Website
  • Submission fee: None
  • Payment: None
  • Editor: Tammy Ho Lai-Ming

Spark Magazine

  • Year established: 2010
  • Published from: India
  • Genres: Short fiction, art
  • Submission period: On a break, currently not accepting submissions
  • Type: Digital
  • Website
  • Submission fee: None
  • Payment: None
  • Editors: Anupama Krishnakumar and Vani Viswanathan

The Indian Quarterly

  • Year established: 2013
  • Published from: Mumbai, India
  • Genres: Essays, features, essay-reviews, photo-essays, travelogue, poetry, fiction
  • Submission period: All year
  • Type: Print + Digital
  • Website 
  • Submission fee: None
  • Payment: None
  • Editor: Unknown

Reading Hour

  • Year established: 2011
  • Published from: Bangalore, India
  • Genres: Short fiction, poetry, book reviews
  • Submission period: All year
  • Type: Print + Digital
  • Website 
  • Submission fee: None
  • Payment: None
  • Editor: Unknown 

eFiction India

  • Year established: 2013
  • Published from: Gurgaon, India
  • Genres: Essays, fiction, poetry, art and criticism, interviews, book reviews
  • Submission period: All year
  • Type: Digital
  • Website
  • Submission fee: None
  • Payment: None
  • Editor: Nikhil Sharda

The Bangalore Review

  • Year established: 2013
  • Published from: Bangalore, India
  • Genres: Fiction, creative non-fiction, translations, essays
  • Submission period: All year
  • Type: Digital
  • Website 
  • Submission fee: $3
  • Payment: None
  • Editor: Suhail Rasheed

Himal South Asian Mag

  • Year established: 1987
  • Published from: Colombo, Sri Lanka
  • Genres: Long-form reportage, political analysis, essays and opinion, interviews, photo essays, reviews, fiction
  • Submission period: All year
  • Type: Digital
  • Website 
  • Submission fee: None
  • Payment: USD 100-150
  • Editors: Kanak Mani Dixit

 Muse India

  • Year established: 2004
  • Published from: Secunderabad, Telangana, India
  • Genres: Poetry, short fiction, essays, conversations with writers, book reviews
  • Submission period: All year
  • Type: Digital
  • Website
  • Submission fee: None
  • Payment: None
  • Editor: Atreya Sarma U

Helter Skelter

  • Year established: 2010
  • Published from: Mumbai
  • Genres: Helter Skelter Anthology of New Writing: Short fiction, poetry
  • Submission period: Varies, usually November to January
  • Type: Digital
  • Website 
  • Submission fee: None
  • Payment: None
  • Editor: Arun Kale

The Alipore Post

  • Year established: 2015
  • Published from: Unknown
  • Genres: Poetry, art, photography, comics, interviews, prose
  • Submission period: Check website
  • Type: Digital
  • Website
  • Submission fee:
  • Payment:
  • Editor: Rohini Kejriwal

Open Road Review: (To be verified)

  • Year established: 2011
  • Published from: New Delhi, India
  • Genres: Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction
  • Submission period: All year
  • Type: Digital
  • Website
  • Submission fee: None
  • Payment: None
  • Editor: Kulpreet Yadav

Cafe Dissensus

  • Year established: 2013
  • Published from: New York City, USA
  • Genres: Audio-visual (interviews, conversations), Political articles/essays, Photo essays
  • Submission period: All year
  • Type: Online
  • Website
  • Submission fee: None
  • Payment: None
  • Editors: Mary Ann Chacko, Mosarrap Hossain Khan

Kitaab

  • Year established: 2013
  • Published from: Singapore
  • Genres: Short Stories, Essays on literary criticism, Poetry, Non-fiction – Travelogues, Memoirs, Personal essays, Book Reviews, Author Interviews
  • Submission period: All year
  • Type: Digital
  • Website
  • Submission fee: None
  • Payment: None
  • Editor: Zafar Anjum

Wasafiri

  • Year established: 1984
  • Published from: London, UK
  • Genres: Articles, essays, journalistic prose, short fiction and poetry 
  • Submission period: October onwards
  • Type: Digital + print
  • Website
  • Submission fee: None
  • Payment: None
  • Editor: Malachi McIntosh

The Bombay Literary Magazine

  • Year established: 2013
  • Published from: Unknown
  • Genres: Fiction, poetry
  • Submission period: Varies, currently closed
  • Type: Digital
  • Website
  • Submission fee: None
  • Payment: Nil
  • Editor – Tanuj Solanki

The Mithila Review

  • Year established: 2016
  • Published from: Delhi, India
  • Genres: Fiction, poetry, non-fiction
  • Submission period: Varies, updates on website. Currently open for poetry, closed for fiction (opens August 2020)
  • Type: Digital + print
  • Website
  • Submission fee: None
  • Payment: Nil to $10 for original poetry, essays, flash stories; $50 for original stories
  • Editor: Salik Shah

Nether (To be verified)

  • Year established: 2009
  • Published from: India
  • Genres: Fiction, poetry, art, photography
  • Submission period: All year
  • Type: Digital (quarterly) + Print (annual)
  • Website 
  • Submission fee: None
  • Payment: None
  • Editor: Avinab Datta-Areng

Vayavya (To be verified)

  • Year established: 2011, first published in 2013
  • Published from: India
  • Genres: Poetry, prose on poetry, interviews
  • Submission period: All year
  • Type: Digital
  • Website
  • Submission fee: None
  • Payment: None
  • Editor: Mihir Vatsa

The Little Magazine (To be verified)

  • Year established: 2001
  • Published from: India
  • Genres: Essays, fiction, poetry, novellas, film and theatre scripts
  • Submission period: All year
  • Type: Digital
  • Website
  • Submission fee: None
  • Payment: None
  • Editor: Antara Dev Sen, Pratik Kanjilal

Setu Billingual

  • Year established: 2016
  • Published from: Pittsburgh, USA
  • Genres: Research articles, book reviews, interviews, poems and short fiction
  • Submission period:
  • Type: Digital
  • Website
  • Submission fee: None
  • Payment: None
  • Editor: Anurag Sharma, Sunil Sharma

The Punch Magazine (formerly Byword)

  • Year established: 2016 (formerly Byword)
  • Published from: India
  • Genres: Articles (Non-fiction, Poetry, Interviews), Reviews, Photos, Videos, Fiction
  • Submission period: All year
  • Type: Online
  • Website 
  • Submission fee: Small donations are welcome
  • Payment: None
  • Editor: Shireen Quadri

The Aleph Review

  • Year established: 2017
  • Published from: Pakistan
  • Genres: Prose, poetry
  • Submission period: January to July
  • Type: Digital + print
  • Website 
  • Submission fee: None
  • Payment: None
  • Editor: Mehvash Amin

The Missing Slate:

  • Year established: 2010
  • Published from: Pakistan
  • Genres: Poetry, fiction, non-fiction, photography, visual arts
  • Submission period: All year
  • Type: Digital + print
  • Website 
  • Submission fee: None
  • Payment: None
  • Editor: Moeed Tariq, Noah Klein

Out of Print

  • Year established: 2010
  • Published from: Mumbai, India
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Submission period: All year
  • Type: Digital
  • Website
  • Submission fee: None
  • Payment: None
  • Editor: Indira Chandrasekhar

Anak Sastra

  • Year established: 2010
  • Published from: Florida, USA
  • Genres: Short fiction, creative nonfiction, comics, poems, book reviews 
  • Submission period: All year
  • Type: Digital
  • Website
  • Submission fee: None
  • Payment: None
  • Editor: Kris Williamson

The Asian American Literary Review (Under construction)

  • Year established: 2009
  • Published from: USA
  • Genres: Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction
  • Submission period: Jun 1 to Aug 31
  • Type: Digital
  • Website Currently under construction
  • Submission fee: None
  • Payment: Contributor copies only
  • Editor: Lawrence-Minh Bὺi Davis and Gerald Maa

If we have missed out any literary magazine, which we surely have, please comment below with details and we will take a look. Do note, that we are not considering literary magazines/journals which are less than 3-5 years old.

The above list in not in any particular order.

Poetry | ‘You Will Never Know’, ‘I Was Not Born This Way’ by Priyanjali Negi (15) | School Student Writing

You Will Never Know

It has been almost a year since you left us alone,
And here I lie on my bed recollecting our last conversation over the phone.
Far away from each other,
But the emotions in our hearts were the same. 
My own little brother, 
And I never knew how well he played this hiding game.
During that silence, I went down memory lane.
It seemed quite pleasant then,
But now it pricks my heart causing a severe pain.
Remember, how once in school you were dressed as a fairy 
Is it okay to say that your absence has now become hard to carry?
These old videotapes of you with dad,
Just makes me more helpless and profoundly sad.
Do you know? I still send you messages on the phone.
I still make coffee and listen to “Here Comes the Sun” until dawn.  
No one knows that I sleep with your photo under my bed,
So that when you go to sleep you come to kiss me on my forehead.
I guess you will never know that I still divide my Maggi into equal halves of two,
And trust me.
There are times; I wish I were dead instead of you.


I Was Not Born This Way

I was not born this way
I know I am not unique,
And my thoughts do not belong here.
That is what makes me unable to speak,
And people think I don’t care.

I like to be alone,
I like to stay quiet,
There is an unseen pain in my tone,
As if each day my survival depends on a fight.

A fight not with the people,
A fight not with the world,
But a fight with the evil,
Which on my behalf is truly undeserved.

I sometimes wonder what I have grown into,
And wish for the child in me back.
The child who was always happy,
The child who was never sad.
The child who would be probably be laughing at me,
Looking at the things that I now lack.

Priyanjali Negi is a 15-year-old student from Delhi. She studies at Carmel Convent School. Her favourite poets is Alfred Tennyson and her favourite writer is Ruskin Bond.

Poetry | ‘Dauntless Dreams’ by Subhanjali Saraswati (18) | Student Writing

Paranoia glared through the windows,
She started melting under the heat
Inch by inch,
She lost pounds, sterlings, dollars.
The counties were long gone,
It was now time for the countries.
Perhaps,
Gone were the days the ice melted.
It was frozen still today,
The roads, the ravages, the restless pace.
Crossed by a bullet would have been easier
Simpler even.
Wrath ran through the veins,
Just as throats stopped croaking,
The stomachs synced to a stop.
Pouring thoughts dried up,
Even the moments demanded to be unfelt.
Grains had at last churned death.

The drains were pouring,
Flesh, bones, blood seemed united.
Borne or Born,
Pinned onto a single thought.
Plagued minds ruled the worlds.
Twists, turns, all were straights.

Perfect lines. Dotted I’s.
Traces of laced life.
Dashed through the vigilance.
Worn nails varnished in the pages of history.
Bane? Liquor drove the healthy.
Myriad magic, the sane.
Trash cans lifted to tables,
Torn paper traced into perfect circles.
Lives un-longed for, deaths de-glorified.
Demands dressed in dreams,
Doused in amnesia,
Arousals arrested in anarchy.

Drought was scarce,
Sanguine floods crashed humanity.
Fierce Fire forested in few farms.
Passive lives ran out of machines.
Mannerisms murdered,
Streaked past Survival.

Uncouth vehemence vandalised
Deep sweet darkness.

No light, no right,
Not a penchant of twilight.
Midnight hues were well past.
Paranoia ruled Paris tonight.
Her dust opened doors.
Damsels had departed distress,
Doom was thus ‘daughter-ed’.
Dimensionless depth swept clean,
Directions diverged into allegiance,
All to the beats of her breath.

Subhanjali Saraswati is an 18-year-old first year undergraduate student at University of Hyderabad. She is studying Political Science. Her favourite poet is John Donne.

Student Writing

A new section showcasing young voices in fiction, poetry and non fiction; featuring writing from students in schools and universities aged 19 or below.


Student Writing | Latest Pieces

Featured



Poetry | ‘Fate of the Forgotten’ by Chandana. D (15) | School Student Writing

There goes the isolated fisherman
In his desolate wooden boat,
Trying his best to be restrained from
All the misery that poverty connotes.

The sun has set,
The incessant time goes.
Lost in the sea of the forgotten,
The abandoned fisherman rows.

Maybe if it was not him,
That hope had parted so badly within,
He would have probably been laughing,
With his beloved kin.

Maybe if it was not his cup of resistance,
That had been fed to the brim,
Then it might not be today that he had to face
The question of his existence.

Is it his mistake that he is a misfit?
And to have no special light to emit,
At least he tries to counterpart,
Always trying to find a fresh start.

His mother did nothing but accuse
That her son’s fit to do nothing, but misuse,
But what sin is it to be born disabled,
It’s just like a leg being separated from a table.

The world had rejected him
And averted his presence,
As if that was not enough,
It said that tending him had no sense.

He had always been the jetsam of the ship,
Nothing but a dead fish, a dead nomad.
No one to lead, but hundred and one to preach the quip
“To gain something, loose something my lad.”

Now the poor fisherman can take no more!
If only he had been allowed to bloom,
Like an eagle, he would soar,
And considered his life beyond a boon.

The word is the only one to be blamed,
For the poor man’s hunger and pain
And finally, it made him close his eyes
Never to be opened again.

Chandana. D is a 15 year old, who aspires to highlight the momentous, but often self-effacing and unnoticed segments of life through poetry. She is currently studying in grade 10 at Viswasanti High School, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh.