Write for Garland

Submission policy

Garland welcomes submissions from writers.

Some things to keep in mind:

Reader

Our reader is someone who reflects and enjoys well-made objects. While thoughtful people, our readers are not exclusively academic. They are looking for an authentic voice, based on the writer’s personal knowledge and experience. They are particularly interested in learning something new about the maker, technique, place, culture and tradition.

With this reader in mind, Garland rarely uses footnotes or academic referencing. We want to grant the reader a smooth flow down the screen. We do however encourage you to include a Further Reading section where there are references to follow up.

Format

The length is variable depending on the subject-matter, but consider a range of 800-1200 words.

Images could be crisp and at least 1000px wide. If possible, they should be 300 dpi resolution. Images should be submitted separately from the text and with captions. You can upload images to this Dropbox folder or use file-sharing services like Wetransfer.

Captions should be in the format: Artist, title, year, materials, dimensions (h x w x d), photo:. It is best if you put the caption as EXIF data inside the image. Or more simply, you can put the caption as the file name.

Please do not submit a PDF as the only text file. A Word or Google document is ideal. The texts will be edited in Google document format and authors will be sent a link to their formatted article before it is made public.

The titles of artworks are italicised and in title case.

We use British English spelling and double quotation marks for quotes.

Biographical details

As Garland seeks to locate work in its context, we also need to provide readers with information about the writers. Articles should be accompanied by two or three sentences about yourself, including where you live, what you do and any current or upcoming projects? We’re happy to include a link that helps promote your activity. Please also provide a portrait image, which we will render into a black and white square format. This can be your standard image, but you are also welcome to be a little creative and feature something of your world. You are also invited to submit a brief audio welcome. This is an opportunity to make any personal or cultural acknowledgements and also for the reader to tune their mind to your voice as they read further, which gives them as sense of where you are coming from.

Submission process

Please submit your idea for a contribution as a paragraph to the editor at kris@garlandmag.com

Articles are due on these dates:

  • 1 February
  • 1 May
  • 1 August
  • 1 November

At this stage. Garland is not in a position to pay for writing except our quarterly essay. We do offer a free annual subscription, membership of our Circle and good karma. We are also happy to work with you to provide letters of support if you’d like to apply for funds towards a writing project.

Your article will be formatted initially in Google Docs for editing. Any major changes will be checked with you. If you want to make further changes, please do that directly on the Google Doc, which will retain work already done in formatting it for publication. The week before publication, you will receive a link to your article for final checking. Publication will involve making the link available on the website and featuring the article in one of the newsletters that will follow, accompanied by promotion on social media.

Writing quality: Be specific

If you are looking for stylistic guidance, there are few points that are working considering.

You are encouraged to focus as much as possible on the particular. This involves more “showing” the reader the material, rather than “telling” them an interpretation. Consider an ekphrastic style of writing. Avoid generalisation. It’s better to jump right into the story at the beginning than start with something too airy. Though it sounds like a cliché, think of it as taking the reader on a journey, rather than giving a lecture. It’s good to find one instance when you mention the weather, which implies a specific time and place.

Be confident in your voice. We encourage the use of first person. This is particularly important if you are writing about another culture. You need to identify where you are coming from and avoid the universal voice that seems to come from nowhere. Consider carefully before sentences beginning “I think…” It is better to be direct with the reader.

Avoid superlatives like “incredible” or “amazing”. If you feel this about a subject, it is better to describe what causes this sensation. Show, rather than tell.

Garland aims to be an enduring archive of thoughtful writing. While writing styles will vary greatly, it is useful to have a well-crafted base. This means paragraphs with sentences that work together as an integrated whole, without phrases added in an ad hoc manner. When in doubt, consider breaking sentences up so they retain their integrity. In this way, there is more chance of sustaining the reader’s attention. As we know, attention is a rare commodity these days. Avoid the overuse of the dash  — to connect thoughts. It can make paragraphs feel they have been put together by a glue gun rather than dovetail joints.

Another way of holding the reader’s attention is to be concise. Academic writing has conditioned many of us to make everything explicit, similar to legal discourse. If removing text does not change the meaning of the story, then it’s best not to include it. This also strengthens the writer’s voice by making it more direct.

We have a collection of essays online that can offer inspiration here.

Quarterly essay

The keystone of each issue is a quarterly essay, which is a long-form article of around 5,000 words. This essay focuses on a handmade object that evokes the world of its material origin, its maker and its life in the world. The essays are structured around a question or mystery. This narrative provides a thread that connects the essay together. Diversions into history, biography or philosophy are encouraged. Consistent with other content in the magazine, a grounded writing is encouraged that includes a close view of the object itself. Quarterly essays are available for subscribers and part of the annual print compendium. Previous examples can be found here. Models of related writing elsewhere can be found here.

Content

Garland publishes around 30 articles in each issue. At least half of these relate to a particular place in the Indo-Pacific. There is also a related theme that helps interconnect the articles and engage broader discussion. You can find our latest Garland itinerary here, which outlines the upcoming themes.