Narrow Road Submission Guidelines

Volumes 1 & 2 of Narrow Road
Narrow Road Literary Magazine is a triannual journal published in April, August and December. It focusses on flash fiction, poetry and haibun. The first edition of the journal, was invite only. However, from the second edition we are open to unsolicited submissions and will read your works during the following periods:

  • June 1 - July 15 for the August Issue
  • Oct 1 -  Nov 15 for the December Issue
  • Feb 1 - Mar 15 for the April Issue

All flash fiction pieces, poems and haibun (works) submitted for publication will undergo a review by editors of the individual genres. It will take approximately a month for them to notify you whether your submission has been accepted, accepted subject to revisions, or not accepted. Please be aware that at times, our editors may be unavailable for short periods, so there could be delays in getting back to you. Time constraints and the voluntary nature of editors' roles restrict editors from corresponding in any depth with writers whose work has not been accepted.

We like to keep the communication lines clear and simple. But please do follow the following guidelines. Please remember all submissions are subject to these guidelines.

  1. You may submit up to three pieces in a single submission during any one submission period. 
  2. You may only submit work that is not under consideration by other publications. Works posted on closed Internet discussion forums or on personal web sites that are not publication sites will be considered, and so will previously published works, provided you inform us of the publication venue and date. If accepted, the said work will be noted as previously published.
  3. Once a work is accepted, we reserve the right to publish the work in the next issue of Narrow Road, and in any associated annual print or online journals or anthologies.
  4. Narrow Road retains first rights for all works that appear in this journal for the first time. This means that if your work is subsequently published elsewhere, that publication must cite Narrow Road as the place of original publication.
  5. Please do include your Name and your place of residence in the mail that you send us.

The Submission Procedure is as follows.

Submissions are to be sent to individual editors on . The editor for each genre are listed below:

  • Flash Fiction – Rohini Gupta
  • Poetry –Raamesh Gowri Raghavan
  • Haibun – Paresh Tiwari

Your subject line should contain your name, the title(s) of your works, the genre you are submitting for and the date.

We request you to paste your work directly into the body of the email, unless the concrete structure of your work requires you to put it in a word doc or pdf. In this case please do mention in your mail that you want your work to appear in the form you have sent.

Copy Editing

All work accepted will be copy (not content) edited. As for changes in content, once a piece has been accepted and formatted for the journal, we will not accept content changes except under unusual circumstances.


What are we looking for?

Rohini's criteria for Flash Fiction: Flash fiction is very short fiction which can range anywhere from 6 words to 1000 words. It's called flash because it can be read easily in a few minutes. It is also called quick fiction, short-short, micro fiction, sudden fiction, smoke long fiction or postcard fiction.
The only difference between short stories and flash fiction is the length. In this magazine, we are looking for stories of no more than 1000 words. There is no minimum length. If you can tell a story in very few words, go for it. The shorter your story (if it fulfils the criteria of a story), the better your chance of getting it accepted.

However, the maximum length is fixed. Which means 1000 and below is okay but 1001 and above is not. Edit carefully and check word length before sending it in.

Within the 1000 words we are looking for a complete story with a beginning, a middle and an end, at least one character, some action or movement and preferably, some dialogue.

A story can be defined as - a character facing a problem, acting to resolve it and reaching some kind of completion at the end. There must be movement and progress in the story.

The ending can be of any kind – a happy or unhappy ending. A twist or a surprise or even an ambiguous ending provided it seems natural and not contrived.

Raamesh's criteria for Poetry: There are as many definitions of poetry as there are poets. Wordsworth defined poetry as "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings"; Emily Dickinson said, "If I read a book and it makes my body so cold no fire ever can warm me, I know that is poetry"; and Dylan Thomas defined poetry this way: "Poetry is what makes me laugh or cry or yawn, what makes my toenails twinkle, what makes me want to do this or that or nothing."

Poetry is a lot of things to a lot of people. And we at Narrow Road will not attempt to tell you what that is, since we are not that sure either. But yes, we do not look at unnecessarily rhyming words very kindly.

Paresh's criteria for Haibun: Haibun is a prose poem that uses embedded haiku to enhance the composition’s overall resonance and effect. And that’s all that we will leave you with. English language haibun is an evolving and highly complex form of writing and if we start delving into the various definitions, do’s and don’ts, is and isn’t, we may never be able to enjoy what the form may stand for.

The fourteen haibun contained in the first issue would give you a fair idea of what we are looking for. Surprise us, move us, shock us, just do not maintain the status quo. As for the haiku in the haibun, we believe it to be an integral part of the composition. It should move the story forward, or take the narrative in another direction It may add insight or another dimension to the prose, resolves the conflict in an unpredictable way, or may question the resolution of the prose.

It’s perfectly fine with us if the haiku does not work as a standalone piece of poetry, if it makes sense in the overall narrative and follows the other aesthetics of a haiku, we are open to it. But, yes 5-7-5 is usually not a haiku.


Happy Writing!


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