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a literary journal

est. 2017



  1. verb: to guard or protect

  2. subdivision of a hospital, prison, or municipality

  3. a person under guard, e.g. a ward of the state

  4. a guard or group of guards

wards is a literary journal based on its versatile title. Each issue invites writers from different, specific demographics to submit fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and research articles.

Our goal is to reflect a range of unique experiences and perspectives with each issue’s theme. Wards are watchers, wards are storied places, and warding is an act of defense or self-preservation. Wards possess a unique point of view, and are often isolated. wards gives you a turn to tell your story.

wards is currently published in digital format. each issue is available as a free .pdf download.

For the current issue theme and submission guidelines, click here.


Publication Schedule

Winter 2017-18 Issue: Foster

  • Sept 1-Dec 30 Open to Submissions from Current and Former Foster Children and Adults in Foster Care
  • Jan 1 Writers Notified of Acceptance or Rejection
  • Jan 15 Publication

Summer 2018 Issue: Fire

  • April 1-July 1 Open to Submissions
  • Aug 1 Writers Notified of Acceptance or Rejection
  • Aug 15 Publication

past issues

Spoiler alert: We don't have any past issues yet. That's why it's so important to submit and share with others who can contribute to the theme!

Since we have no past issues, you can look ahead to our next two themes. It's never too soon to start writing and revising! 


Foster | Winter 2018

Open to current and past foster children; also to foster adults.

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Fire | Summer 2018

Open to firefighters, including municipal firefighters, wilderness managers, and rescue crews; their immediate families; and anyone who has protected people or property from fire.

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Borders | Winter 2019

Open to immigrants and their children; also to border personnel, and residents of border towns.

current issue theme: foster

this issue welcomes submissions from: foster children, adults in foster care, children and adults who were previously in foster care.

if this is you, we want to hear your voice. 

deadline extended to Dec 30, 2017!

submission guidelines


  • Flash fiction and short stories accepted
  • Up to 3 submissions, no more than 5,000 words each


  • Up to 5 poems, no more than 15 pages total


  • Creative nonfiction and personal essays accepted
  • Submit only one piece, no more than 10,000 words

You may submit pieces for multiple categories.

If you are submitting multiple pieces, please submit each individual piece separately using the submission form.

hint: Don't overthink the theme. It should not limit your creativity. You are more than a foster kid. You can write about whatever you'd like. Whether it directly has to do with your personal experiences or not is up to you. You will receive feedback on your writing, whether or not we choose to publish you.