The School Magazine publishes short stories, articles, plays, poems and activities that have literary and academic merit. Our readers are primary school children who respond well to texts that delight, intrigue, challenge and inspire them—texts written especially for them. Remember that our readers live in a multicultural, diverse society and that our magazines reflect this. Our readers are exploring their identities and appreciate insights into the world around them. What works best? Energetic and accessible writing that has suspense, wit, fast-paced action, twists, credible characters and, always, the child reader at its heart.

Our magazines are based on topics. Two or more texts in every issue reflect the set topic. Consult the current topics list to help you to plan and write a submission. We do also accept exceptional manuscripts that have general appeal, as each issue contains a rich mix of material. You may submit these at any time.

Remember that we will accept a maximum of twelve submissions in a twelve-month period from you, and that we welcome contributions from all writers.

Please note: at the moment we are looking for very short stories and nonfiction.

Current topics

Each month, our four magazines—Countdown, Blast Off, Orbit and Touchdown—have the same set topic. Please note the deadline for each topic. (General submissions are welcome at any time.)

We are now calling for submission on these topics:

JOURNEYS (deadline: 29 October 2018)

Australia’s history is rich in tales of epic journeys across our land, across vast oceans and from many countries and cultures. These journeys were undertaken by famous navigators and explorers, by families, by individuals. Shine a light on one of these tales, or on the journeys made by others around the globe. And why limit yourself to human journeys? Think of the migrations made by some of the amazing animals on this blue marble that is making its own journey around the Sun.

CONNECTIONS (deadline: 19 November 2018)

A connection might be that lightbulb moment when the penny drops for a character or the connections Australia has with her Asian neighbours. It could also be the forging of new friendships and alliances or the way individuals connect to the world around them. It might be the technology that is enabling us to live in a global village … how will you connect with this topic?

COUNTRY AND PLACE (deadline: 5 December 2018)

NAIDOC Week each July celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. You could base your work on the 2019 theme or more broadly on the experiences of people living in Australia over time. You could write about natural features of our island continent or natural events such as bushfires and floods.

Watch this space! We will regularly update the list of topics.

Submission guidelines

  • The School Magazine only accepts manuscripts via email. The email address to use is: submissions.tsm@det.nsw.edu.au
  • Send your manuscript as a Word document attached to an email
  • Please only send one manuscript per email
  • Write the topic and text type in the subject line of the email. (For example: Diversity poem or Lest We Forget play)
  • Each writer is limited to twelve (12) submissions in any twelve-month period
  • Please ensure that your writing is carefully edited, formatted in Calibri font (12 pt size) and double-spaced.
  • Each manuscript should begin with the following information:
    • your name (and pen name, if this is different)
    • your email address
    • which of our topics the text relates to, if this is applicable
    • word count for stories, articles, plays and activities, line count for poems
    • four or five key words to help us identify the topics, themes, styles, and subjects
    • a statement verifying that the work is original and that you have the right to submit it to us
    • if the work has been previously published, details of when and where it was published.

Fiction

  • Stories can be realistic, fantastical or humorous genres with contemporary or historical settings.
  • Stories should demonstrate clear, intriguing prose, originality of characters and fresh storylines.
  • No longer than 1500 words (shorter stories are encouraged)
  • Occasionally a longer story may be considered for serialisation.

Articles

  • Soundly researched texts across traditional nonfiction, journalistic and creative nonfiction genres such as articles, procedural texts, reports, profiles, interviews, short features and nonfiction narratives.
  • Generally articles are 800-2000 words.

Poetry

  • Poems can be in any contemporary or traditional genre.
  • Generally, a maximum of thirty lines.
  • High-quality poetry that is dynamic, evocative and original is welcomed. If using traditional metre and rhyme, ensure that the metre is consistent and the rhyme unforced.
  • When punctuating, keep in mind the developing skills of the young poetry reading audience.

Plays

  • Plays should be easy-to-stage scripts for large groups of students to perform, although plays for smaller casts are also welcome.
  • Scripts should have literary qualities in characterisation, language and plot.
  • Generally a maximum of 1500 words (fewer for younger readers).

Activities

The majority of activities and puzzles are generated in-house, but texts are also accepted from external writers.

Editorial practice and publication

  • We require non-exclusive, ongoing print and digital rights to this material, and that you agree to give The School Magazine first right to publish. Please note that you retain copyright. Your submission of a manuscript means that you accept these terms.
  • The School Magazine reserves the right to edit manuscripts according to house style and the needs of the magazine.
  • The School Magazine pays on publication. Writers retain copyright of their work.
  • We send two complimentary copies of the magazine to the authors of work in that magazine.
School Magazines of different levels arranged on a table

Tips for writers

Familiarise yourself with our magazines—make sure your work belongs in our magazines.

Write for our readers: most are Australian children between the ages of 8 and 12. Remember that The School Magazine aims to reflect the diversity and inclusivity of Australian society.

Explore a fresh voice or angle, avoid being didactic, and take the time to polish and edit your manuscript.

Carefully consider how you portray teachers, schools and controversial topics—our magazines are often read in classrooms.