MASKS Literary Magazine

Type Of Organization
Mission Statement / Editorial Focus
MASKS Literary Magazine is a Weisman Award-winning independent literary magazine committed to amplifying the voices of emerging writers and visual artists. We wan to hear new voices and see fresh perspectives. We are course correcting pay inequities in publishing by not charging submission fees, and we pay all our contributors.

Social Media Platforms Used
Twitter and Instagram
Is Your Group Affiliated With A University, Portal Or Other Agency?
If Yes, Please Name
Columbia College Chicago
Primary Editor/Contact Person
L.A. Hawbaker
Contact Title
Editor in Chief
Contact Email
essays, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, art
Recent Awards Received
Albert P. Weisman Award REALM Award
Representative Authors
Kate Wisel, Melissa Meier, Miya Turnbull
Submissions Policy
We accept art, photography, fiction, flash fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Pay is $20 for poetry, $25 for art/photography, and $25 for prose. One Featured Artist receives $100. Our Poetry Award and Story Awards winners receive $100 each. Poetry should be one single-spaced page, or 25 lines. You may submit up to two poems as a single Word document. Prose (fiction, flash, nonfiction, essay) should be a maximum of 3,000 words. (Shorter pieces are more likely to be accepted.) Submit one prose piece as a Word document. Art and photography submissions may include a maximum of six images as JPEGs, and if they're united by a common theme or style, all the better.
Accepts Unsolicited Submissions
Submission Guidelines URL
Simultaneous Submissions Accepted
Reading Period
From 02 / 15 - 03 / 31
Reporting Time
2 - 3 months
Author Payments
cash, copies
MASKS Story Award MASKS Poetry Award Featured Artist
Number Of Paid Staff
Year Founded
ShopColumbia, Quimby's Bookstore, City Lit Books
Average Print Run
Total Circulation
Single Copy Price
Back Issues Available
Unsolicited Manuscripts Accepted
If Yes, What Percent Of All Unsolicited MSS Are Published
6.5 - 9.5
Average Number Of Pages
L.A. Hawbaker
Editor in Chief
How Did You Arrive At Your Current Position?
Founder L.A. Hawbaker launched MASKS while serving as the 2020 artist in residence at the Columbia College Aesthetics of Research. MASKS was initially a small, newsprint zine accompanying a larger exhibit, "Masks," of pandemic-themed artwork.
What Is The Staff Structure At Your Magazine/press?
Our editor in chief and managing editor oversee submissions, staff, and layout. We have 2-3 permanent editors in each category: poetry, nonfiction, and fiction, as well as two rotating editorial assistants. We don't use outside readers.
Do You Have Any Cover Letter Advice?
We suggest you keep cover letters brief, and we appreciate if you address the letter to our editor in chief or an appropriate editor. Bios should be no more than 3 sentences; previous publication credits should be limited to 2-3.
How Are Submissions Processed In Your Magazine/press?
Our submissions are free and sent directly to the appropriate editor via email. We do not use Submittable.
What Do You Look For In A Submission?
Our aesthetic is colorful and collage-like. We love to see what we've never seen before. We want writing that evokes a strong emotional response. Our favorite artwork leans toward color and pop art, and we don't often publish digital art.
What Advice Do You Have For First-time Submitters?
Follow submission guidelines. Cover letters should use correct formatting (salutation, body, signature, etc...) Keep correspondence professional and courteous, or publishers might be less inclined to consider your work in the future.
Do You Have A Favorite Unsolicited Submission Discovery Or Anecdote?
"What happened to the writer is not what matters; what matters is the large sense that the writer is able to make of what happened." — Vivian Gornick