Spectrum Literary Journal

There are presently no open calls for submissions.

Call for Submissions 7/1/19-12/31/19:

This year, Spectrum is looking for the Truth.

The unfortunate truth is that we all lie and keep secrets. Some of us lie because we fear the consequences of the truth. Some lie because they fear how others will treat them. Others lie about what they believe in or lie about who they really are. To tell the truth, all the time is an unthinkable burden. To always lie is just as difficult and catastrophic.

For the 63rd volume of Spectrum, we want to examine these lies as well as the truths that we reveal. These truths and lies can be small, like being honest about a friend’s hairstyle that you don’t like. Or they can be large, like coming out as transgender or gay to family. They can be on a societal level, like propaganda and misinformation. Whatever the setting or scale of the story, we want to hear about the lies and/or truths you or your characters encounter and how we all navigate this complicated landscape of fact and fiction.

Who We Are

Spectrum is an annual journal of art and literature published by the University of California Santa Barbara's College of Creative Studies. Founded in 1957, it is the longest-running literary magazine in the UC system. We publish work of established, emerging, and first-time writers.  We are staffed by undergraduate writers and editors and publish nationally and internationally renowned authors from anywhere and everywhere, writing in all genres

What We Want

Spectrum’s mission is to publish a spectrum of voices, perspectives, narratives, and forms. We want stories that woke you in the middle of the night and didn't release you back to your dreams until it was created.​ We are open to all genres and themes as long as they make us think and feel emotions. Spectrum has a legacy of publishing inventive, high-quality, and provocative, work, and we’re striving to uphold that legacy and expand on it.

We accept fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and art, but don't be limited by these genres. If it can be printed in two dimensions, we will consider it for publication. This includes sheet music, photography, collages, poems and stories with untraditional layouts, and anything else that catches your fancy. Surprise us and our readers.

Please submit prose and poetry in .doc or .docx formats. PDFs can cause formatting issues, especially for poetry.

All work must be previously unpublished. We do accept simultaneous submissions, but we ask that you inform us immediately if it is published elsewhere.

Please note that we read all of our submissions blind, so remove your name from all documents submitted to us. Pieces that violate our submission guidelines will not be considered for publication.

We can accept up to 100 submissions per month, and sometimes we hit this limit. If you cannot submit when you try, please return again at the beginning of the next month.

During December, we are accepting email submissions past our submission limit on Submittable. If you wish you wish to submit via email, send your submission to spectrum@ccs.ucsb.edu with the subject "Submission_[genre]_[Title]_[Name}". If your subject is not formatted in this way, your submission will be automatically rejected. Please conform to all the other submission guidelines as well.

Spectrum Literary Journal