Call for Submissions

Submission Guidelines

Submissions are currently closed for the 2016 edition. We will begin taking submissions for the 2017 edition in the fall of 2016. Dates are TBD.

The general rules for submissions are as follows:

All written work to be considered must be .docx (preferred) or PDF.
You may submit a maximum of 5 poems.
You may submit one or two short stories but do not exceed 5,000 words total.
You may submit a poem and a short story but do not exceed 5,000 words total.
You may submit both fiction and nonfiction.
Visual art submissions are welcome.
Simultaneous submissions are allowed.
Please include a cover letter no more than 100 words in length.
Do not include personal information (name, email, etc.) in the story/poem itself.
Send submissions to
Deadline is January 31st, 2016, by 11:59 p.m.

What are we looking for?

This year, we’re looking to use the miniscule to capture the massive – our small literary journal seeks to embody the character and personality of the UIS writing community. In other words, our theme, and the idea you should keep in mind when submitting to The Alchemist Review, is “microcosm.”

It should be noted that we only publish work by students currently attending the University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS) or UIS alumni. The reason for this is that we hope to foster a more creative community and give students and alumni an opportunity to see their work published, and also to allow students to join in the literary conversation here at UIS and in the wider Springfield community.

What do we mean by “microcosm”?

Merriam-Webster defines microcosm as “something (such as a place or an event) that is seen as a small version of something much larger.” Dictionary definitions, though, aren’t always helpful in illustrating concrete meaning, so allow us to give you some examples of “microcosm.”

It’s the coffee you spilled across the sleek black leather of your car’s passenger seat, capping off a week from hell. It’s that video you have of your friend drunkenly belting out the Canadian national anthem that perfectly sums up what it’s like to spend time with them. A poem with just forty words could outline everything you’ve ever felt about trees.

These are microcosms – and they’re everywhere. It’s up to you, writers, to find the little things that sum up your most valued “big pictures” in the world. Your microcosm can be personal, it can be political, it can be fantastical – so long as it matters to you.

The possibilities are limited only by the breadth and depth of your imagination. That story you’re writing right now might embody some part of yourself you never recognized. In fact, it probably does – you just have to pull that idea out, dust it off, and put words to it.

We look forward to seeing the little pieces that mean the world to you. If you have any questions, please contact us at

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