slush pile [n]

a pile of manuscripts that have been sent by writers to a publisher and that will probably not be published.



SLUSH PILE MAGAZINE was created in 2009 as a consequence of founding editor M. Rachel Thomas' fascination with the eponymous stacks of unsolicited fiction cluttering the bookshelves, baskets, and desktops of Harvard Review, where she was working (indeed, where she still works) as a senior reader.

Thus, the name of the magazine is both literal and ironic: literal, because most of our authors were found in some slush pile or other. Ironic because, although the term "slush pile" is bandied around the literary world as a synonym for "throw-backs" everything we publish is choice.

Let this magazine be one small testament to the fact that the slush pile is not just a dead end.


Slush Pile Magazine owes a huge debt of gratitude to Christina Thompson, Editor of Harvard Review, for her ceaseless encouragement and wisdom.


Slush Pile Magazine gladly accepts unsolicited submissions of short fiction, essays, and poetry via Submittable:


There is a $3 reading fee per submission (which is how we pay for the submission manager), but in return we will give you feedback if you request it.

Please include a brief cover letter, citing recent publications, relevant degrees, and awards. Please make sure the author’s name and contact information is clearly indicated on the submission itself.

Please limit your submission of prose to no more than 7,000 words, and your submission of poetry to five poems. Simultaneous submissions are fine, but please let us know if the work has been accepted elsewhere.


To contact M. Rachel Thomas, ask questions, or comment about anything Slush Pile Magazine related, please direct correspondences to: editors [at]


M. RACHEL THOMAS, EDITOR, is the former managing editor and current senior reader of fiction at Harvard Review, where she has worked since 2008. Her writing has appeared in Harvard Review, The Missouri Review, The Adirondack Review, RedividerThe Millions, and elsewhere. By all means look her up on Facebook: FB/onesmartnut & FB/slushpilemag   or  Twitter @slushpilemag.

Marion Bright

MARION BRIGHT, POETRY EDITOR, is a poetry admirer and fiction writer. She received her M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and has been awarded writing fellowships from the University of Iowa and the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. She is a native Kentuckian, who lives in Los Angeles. 


SARA PETRAS, VISUAL ARTS EDITOR, received her MFA from the Massachusetts College of Art, Post-Bacc from Brandeis University and BA from University of New Hampshire with a focus in Painting. Her particular interest in Contemporary Art clarified during her tenure as Gallery Manager at Allston Skirt Gallery, Boston. She is the recipient of a George Nick Foundation award for Painting and an Artist Residency Grant from the Helene Wurlitzer Fountation of Taos, NM. Her work reflects her obsession with color and love of formal composition.

Ayesha Attah

AYESHA HARRUNA ATTAH,  CONTRIBUTING  EDITOR, is a Ghanaian writer and  the author of three novels: Harmattan Rain (Per ANKH), nominated for the 2010 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in 2010; Saturday's Shadows (World Editions), shortlisted for the 2013 Kwani? Manuscript Project, and The Hundred Wells of Salaga (Cassava Republic Press). Educated at Mount Holyoke College, Columbia University, and NYU, Attah was a 2014 Africa Centre Artists in Residency Award Laureate and Instituto Sacatar Fellow. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Asymptote Magazine, and the Caine Prize Writers’ 2010 Anthology. She was awarded the 2016 Miles Morland Foundation Scholarship for nonfiction. She currently lives in Senegal.

Photo credit: Nathan J Shaulis/Porter Loves Creative

Photo credit: Nathan J Shaulis/Porter Loves Creative

BRIAN BROOME, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, is a writer and K. Leroy Irvis Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh. He has been published in Creative Nonfiction,The Guardian, and Hippocampus among others. You can read more at

Lelah Simon

LELAH SIMON, SENIOR READER, is a musician and writer living in Los Angeles. She’s interested in the unique ways each medium helps people understand themselves and express what it is to be human. She was a PEN Emerging Voices finalist for 2016, and is currently working on a collection of personal essays about sex, love, and music. By day, she works in music publishing. By night, she plays bass all over Los Angeles, and meets up with other writers to co-work and workshop.


The ideas, opinions, and imaginative output of our contributors are not necessarily shared by Slush Pile Magazine   and its staff. In event that you find something on our website highly offensive, please let us know and we'll see what we can do about it.

Also, we were never able to correctly identify the origins of the lady with the stack of papers, a modified version of which we use as our logo. If the original design is yours, please let us know so that we can give you credit for your work.