A clerestory is a window which allows light and air into the body of an old building. Clerestory Magazine stories and storytellers are like windows through which the pain and beauty of the human experience shine.

The Clerestory Podcast S1 E24

Family First
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Clerestory Magazine publishes essays, photo stories, interviews, audio stories, and poems on subjects at the intersection of action and contemplation.

Clerestory Magazine provides space for writers, artists, and activists to explore subjects at the intersection of action and contemplation through storytelling. Our contributors, through their deep reflection, evoke the most essential parts of the human experience, while engaging larger questions on social healing, human flourishing, and justice. This work serves the greater good because the stories we tell and hold together shape who we become together. Each season, Clerestory contributors respond to a seasonal theme, intentionally broad to leave room for expression.

Most accepted pieces fall between 1,000 and 3,000 words, but this is simply a guide, not a requirement. We have a strong preference for previously unpublished work. We pay $50 per accepted submission. Since we are a small literary magazine, this is the most we're able to offer, and all writers are paid equally for their work.

We ask our writers to grant Clerestory exclusive rights to their published piece for four months following the date of publication. Should the work eventually be re-published, we expect writers to include a note that the work first appeared in Clerestory and a link to the original piece.

To submit your work, please send your submission or pitch pasted in the body of an email. Due to high volume, we will only respond if your work is a good fit for the series.

Issue No. 5: History

These two questions are linked: Where do we come from? And where are we going? Understanding history is vital to understanding ourselves, our relationships, the texture of our social fabric, and the urgency of justice and to imagining new possibilities for our collective life.

Relevant topics include:

Personal experiences with anything from heartbreak to joy to embodiment which has shaped who you are today

Ancestral or family history 

Relationship history 

Land history or the history of place 

Profiles of dynamic but lesser-known figures in history 

Art history 

Archival history 

History of medicine 

Cultural history of the body 

Social or political history, particularly interested in subjects related to Black history, indigenous history, and women’s history

The intersection of history and religion

The intersection of history and education

Critical essays or photo stories on vital social movements 

Interviews with historians, activists, or authors 

Oral history 

Essays will run from early January through the end of March, released two per week for the duration of the issue. The deadline to submit pitches is December 17th. As space on the editorial calendar is limited, we encourage you to get in touch with our editors as soon as possible.

Again, to submit, please paste your pitch or full draft in the body of an email and send to Due to high volume, we will not have the capacity to respond to everyone. If your idea is a good fit, we will be in touch.


To be the first to learn about future calls for submission, subscribe to our newsletter or join our community of members. Thank you for your interest in Clerestory Magazine.