Off Assignment

Type Of Organization
Mission Statement / Editorial Focus
Off Assignment is a non-profit literary magazine with a penchant for journeys and a fascination with strangers. Born out of a desire to tell “the story behind the story," we’ve evolved from a journalists’ after-hour parlor to a home for literary essays about journeys, broadly defined. OA began when co-founder Colleen Kinder invited legendary journalist Pico Iyer to her Yale writing class. She expected Pico to analyze the essay she’d assigned to her students: a classic portrait of Reykjavik he had authored two decades earlier. But he digressed into a tale he had never put to the page, about a magnetic local with whom he’d wandered Iceland’s unfading summer streets. This stranger dominated Pico’s memories of his reporting trip. Struck by this, Colleen asked fellow writers: Have you ever had a story you wanted to write, behind an assignment? They answered: Always. Colleen then joined forces with digital media strategist Vince Errico to co-found Off Assignment as a space for the raw, personal stories not found in mainstream publications—tales that honor the digressions inherent to every journey. Our flagship column, “Letter to a Stranger,” launched in 2016. It now spans over 80 countries, features award-winning missives, and is immortalized in a print anthology. We’ve since expanded to include more columns, weaving interviews and illustrations into our story-telling: “No Equivalent” plumbs the depths of words that resist translation into English; “Under the Influence” explores the interplay between art and place; “Witching Hour” features brief, ambient portraits of places at a specific time of day; and “What I Didn’t Say” taps authors to release the untold stories behind their published work. Off Assignment aims to put forth a new kind of travel writing: one that not only transports readers across geographical borders, but plunges them deeper into the human experience.

Social Media Platforms Used
Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Soundcloud
Is Your Group Affiliated With A University, Portal Or Other Agency?
Primary Editor/Contact Person
Colleen Kinder
Contact Title
Co-founder, Executive Director
Contact Email
essays, nonfiction, translation
Submissions Policy
Off Assignment is a literary magazine with a penchant for journeys and a fascination with strangers. We’re looking for writers who travel, poets who wander, essayists with a sense of place, reporters with swollen notebooks, and gourmands with street cart taste. We’re not here to guide vacations. We don’t cover spas or centennials. We have a taste for offbeat places. We care about voice and story. We want the writer on the page—sweating, tripping, and telling a tale. We accept simultaneous submissions, as long as you immediately notify us that your piece has been accepted elsewhere. We are interested only in original essays; your work must not have been published elsewhere prior to submitting. Submit at:
Accepts Unsolicited Submissions
Simultaneous Submissions Accepted
Reading Period
Year round
Reporting Time
na - na months
Author Payments
Number Of Paid Staff
Number Of Unpaid Staff
Year Founded
Number Of Issues Per Year
Average Page Views Per Month
Average Unique Visitors Per Month
Publish Print Anthology?