We Seek

Essential Voices

While COVID-19 has ravaged our world, certain populations have been impacted more deeply than others. This print anthology strives to give voice to those voices who have been silenced, and it will be included in Borderless, a new book series from West Virginia University Press oriented toward social justice and social transformation. Send us your poems, your stories, your recipes, your art that reflect upon the experience of covid and covid related issues in your life.

We are especially interested in written and visual work that is:

  • Centered on Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian experiences (in the US and worldwide)
  • From those experiencing homelessness, job loss, incarceration
  • Written by essential workers of all kinds–healthcare, food service, delivery, etc
  • From those with underlying health issues and disabilities 
  • Focused on the act of protest during COVID-19
  • From healthcare workers and researchers in medicine and the sciences
  • From individuals who have survived COVID-19 or who have lost loved ones
  • From individuals who have survived pandemics (AIDS, Ebola, SARS)

Submissions will be accepted through midnight on December 31, 2020 February 15th, 2021.


To accommodate those who do not have computer and/or internet access, we accept both electronic and mail-in submissions. However, we only accept visual art electronically. Additionally, we accept both typed and handwritten work. There is no submission fee. Please see the guidelines for each category. PLEASE DO NOT SEND YOUR ONLY COPY as we will not be able to return it to you.

If you know someone whose first language is not English but has a story to tell, feel free to query us. 

Please provide a cover letter including a short biography. Feel free to include some background in your cover letter on how you have been specifically impacted by COVID-19.  Simultaneous Submissions are fine but please notify us as soon as possible should your work be accepted elsewhere. Previously published work will be considered.

Visual art and photography: Submit JPEGs no larger than 5MBs — up to three images; electronic submissions only. Email to

Written work: Please provide your contact information on each page. .Doc, .Docx, .rtf, or .PDF acceptable. 

  • Poetry: Submit 1-3 poems
  • Essay/Non-fiction/Fiction: Submit 1 piece up to 5000 words, double spaced. Please include a word count at beginning of the document
  • Recipes (or other short prose pieces): Submit 1 piece; maximum 2 pages

Email to

Please include your genre in the Subject Line, e.g. Poetry Submission


Submit snail mail to with a SASE to:

Essential Anthology, PO Box #67085, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467


The Press will send each contributor one (1) complimentary copy of the paperback edition of the published volume. Additional contributors copies will be available at a discount.


Contributors retain the right to reprint their work in subsequent collections of their own work, or as a part of a larger original work written by the contributor, with proper acknowledgment of prior publication in the volume cited.


This print anthology will be distributed and available for purchase through West Virginia University Press.