Orca A Literary Journal

Type Of Organization
Mission Statement / Editorial Focus
We are committed to diversity of identities, origins, and perspectives on our pages. Many of our contributors are from other countries and cultures. But the main criterion by which we judge submissions is the quality of the writing. We seek work that is high concept: imaginative, thoughtful, even speculative, and open to possibilities. We look for deep, diverse characters, nuanced and complex plots, and narratives that blend genres or connect seemingly disparate ideas. We currently pay $50 for published short stories over 2000 words and $25 for shorter works.

Social Media Platforms Used
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
Is Your Group Affiliated With A University, Portal Or Other Agency?
Primary Editor/Contact Person
Joseph Ponepinto
Contact Title
Contact Email
essays, fiction, nonfiction
Recent Awards Received
Best Canadian Stories 2020 3 selections in Best Small Fictions 2021 2 selections in Best Small Fictions 2022
Representative Authors
Neil deGrasse Tyson, Stephanie E. Dickinson, Sway Benns
Submissions Policy
Submissions are open year-round. Orca is fee free for up to 100 submissions a month, which is what is covered in the Submittable plan we pay for. After that we charge the standard $3, which helps us pay our published writers. Fiction: Up to 3 flash fictions of less than 1000 words each in one document, or 1 short story up to 8000 words. Times/Times Roman 12 point is preferred. A word count is appreciated. Submit via our Submittable portal only. No email or postal submissions please. Simultaneous submissions are expected and encouraged. Nonfiction: We are interested in nonfiction written in the literary style. Length: 2000 to 8000 words. No flash. We will publish 1 or 2 nonfiction pieces per literary issue. Topics of interest include current social and political events, science, nature, environment, history, mathematics, and true crime.
Accepts Unsolicited Submissions
Submission Guidelines URL
Simultaneous Submissions Accepted
Reading Period
Year round
Reporting Time
2 - 4 weeks
Author Payments
cash, subscription
Number Of Unpaid Staff
Year Founded
Average Print Run
Total Circulation
Paid Subscriptions
Single Copy Price
Number Of Issues Per Year
Total Number Of Issues Published
Back Issues Available
Unsolicited Manuscripts Accepted
If Yes, What Percent Of All Unsolicited MSS Are Published
5.5 - 8.5
Average Number Of Pages
Publish Print Anthology?
Joe Ponepinto
Senior Editor
How Did You Arrive At Your Current Position?
I've been writing since my journalism days back in the 1980s. I have always been involved in one form of writing or publishing since then. Co-founded Orca in 2019.
What Is The Staff Structure At Your Magazine/press?
Two senior editors and one assistant editor, 12 readers, and one high school intern.
Do You Have Any Cover Letter Advice?
Just a brief note and bio. Please do not summarize or explain your story for us.
How Are Submissions Processed In Your Magazine/press?
Two initial readers. If a story receives a plus vote it is recommended to the rest of the staff. Highest rated stories are considered at an all-staff editorial meeting.
What Do You Look For In A Submission?
Thoughtful literary writing. Well developed characters. High stakes. Forward momentum and a minimum of backstory. We appreciate submissions in which the writer is invisible and the characters carry the action.
What Advice Do You Have For First-time Submitters?
The most common criticism we have about first time submissions is that they are unrevised. When you think it's done, put your story away for a few months, and then come back to it with a fresh eye and revise. Writing is patience and perseverance.
Do You Have A Favorite Unsolicited Submission Discovery Or Anecdote?
A story we received in 2019 was almost rejected by a first reader. The editors happened to take a look, and loved it. It went on to be honored in Best Canadian Stories 2020.
Who Is Your Ideal Reader?
Thoughtful, well read, and unencumbered by trends and popular culture. Our readers are open to new ideas and interpretations. They love to be challenged.