Submission Guidelines

To all those who submitted in October for our London issue - if you haven't heard from us already, please expect to hear from us by the middle of February. It has taken longer than expected to get through submissions and we apologise for the delays.

We are accepting submissions during the month of February 2015. 

Submissions received will be considered for our Winter 2015/16 issue, to be published in October 2015. 

Saturday February 28th is the last day to post your submission. We will take any submissions posted by that date and we will accept any standard post that arrives in March that has a February postmark. There is no need to use express or registered postal services. 

Please note that poetry submissions for this round will be read by guest poetry editor, Billy Ramsell. Special guidelines apply - please read on…


We are delighted that Billy Ramsell has agreed to come on board as guest poetry editor for our Winter 2015-16 issue.

We've admired Billy’s poetry ever since he made his first appearance in the magazine in 2002. Since then, and with the publication of his first two collections, he has come to be recognised as one of the leading young poets writing in Ireland today. Upon awarding Billy with the Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary in 2013, Harry Clifton said:

Billy Ramsell is one of the younger poets who has most fruitfully brought into Ireland the best influences of a British generation including Don Paterson, Michael Donaghy and Ian Duhig—formal sophistication allied to natural spoken idiom, an appetite for the minutiae of contemporary life as eclectic as Paul Muldoon, and an unforced, often witty merging of the public with the intimate. In coming years, he should have much to give to an Irish tradition he has already helped to expand.

We asked Billy to write a brief statement about the type of poems he was hoping to discover during his guest editorship.


                  And so each venture

Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate,

With shabby equipment always deteriorating.

—T.S. Eliot


Once, after a reading, T.S. Eliot was questioned about ‘Ash Wednesday’, his great poem of barrenness and conversion: ‘Please, sir, what do you mean by the line, “Lady, three white leopards sat under a juniper tree”?’ His response is the stuff of legend: ‘I mean, “Lady, three white leopards sat under a juniper tree.”’

There are many fine poems, among them some indisputable classics, surprisingly amenable to prose restatement. But there are also those where such restatement is not only unthinkable but also functionally impossible, where the gesture of ‘translation’ into prose strikes us as one of unconscionable violence, where the very act of paraphrase exacts a ruinous drain on the text’s resources of pleasure and of meaning.

Such poems are fine-tuned, dynamic ecosystems of breath and image, fragile configurations that will not bear exposure to paraphrase. Recasting them in prose is like recounting a dream in daylight; all significance and strangeness falls away.

These are the poems I’d like to see in my role as guest editor. For they gesture at least into the fringes of the unsayable, gesturing or hinting toward truths we grasp but cannot articulate. They do what poetry alone can do.

Send me the poems—you know the ones—that are most wedded to their own particular carefully calibrated shape and idiom, that are maximally resistant to paraphrase, where your own craft mastered you, carried you forward, left you ill-equipped and mystified in the inarticulate’s soundless jungle.

—Billy Ramsell


Billy Ramsell has published two collections with Dedalus Press, Complicated Pleasures in 2007 and The Architect’s Dream of Winter in 2013, which was shortlisted for the Irish Times Poetry Now Award. He received the Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary for 2013 and edits the Irish section of the Poetry International website. Over the years he has published poems, articles and translations in The Stinging Fly. He lives in Cork where he co-runs an educational publishing company. 


Please note:

We will accept poetry submissions by e-mail for this round. 

Poets can submit one or two poems (previously unpublished). We welcome poems from Irish and international writers. 

Your poem or poems should be pasted into the body of your e-mail and into one attached document. 

The e-mail address is

Submission period is open from February 1st to February 28th inclusive.

If you are submitting fiction, or you want to be considered for the featured poet slot, please send us your submission by post as per the guidelines outlined below.


What We Publish

We publish new, previously unpublished work by Irish and international writers. We have a particular interest in promoting the short story. Each issue also includes a mix of poetry, book reviews and essays, alongside occasional author interviews and novel extracts. We also welcome submissions of poetry and prose in translation.


How To Submit

Work submitted should ideally not be under consideration elsewhere.

The postal address for submissions is: The Stinging Fly, PO Box 6016, Dublin 1, Ireland. 

Each submission should include an e-mail address for reply. Please ensure that you keep a copy of the work itself as we are unable to return manuscripts.

All submissions should be accompanied by a cover letter, which should include:
    * Author’s Name                         * E-mail address and postal address
    * Date of Submission                   * Name of story/poems submitted
    * Brief biographical note, if you wish.

Anyone submitting fiction and poetry should include a separate cover letter for both. All fiction submissions should be printed using 1.5 or double line spacing. Minimum font size: 11pt. Print on one side of the page only. Every piece of work should have the author’s name printed or signed on it.


The Details

* No more than one story and/or four poems should be submitted during any one submission period.

* Short stories and poems should always be just as long (or as short) as they need to be. (In our Winter 2012-13 issue the longest story is over 5,000 words; the shortest has less than 600.)

* All submissions are read. The editors’ decision may not be correct but it is final. Allow up to three months (from the end of month in which you submit) for a response to your submission - we will try to respond to everyone (yes or no) within that time. (i.e. if you submitted in July 2014, we aim to contact you by the end of October 2014.)

* With a limited budget, we are only in a position to offer contributors a discretionary token payment. They also receive a copy of the issue in which their work is featured and can order further copies at a discounted rate.

* Copyright remains in all cases with the author. Some work published in the magazine may also be included on our website.


Our Featured Poets

In each issue we publish a number of poems by a poet who is working towards a first collection. To be considered, please send us 6-10 previously unpublished poems. If we want to see more, we will get back to you. If submitting for this slot, do not make a separate poetry submission.


Is í ‘Comhchealg’ cuid Ghaeilge The Stinging Fly. Cuirtear fáilte roimh phíosaí Gaeilge ó scríbhneoirí úra. Is nós linn aistriúcháin Bhéarla a chur ar fáil i gcás na ndánta a roghnaítear. Chuige sin, déanaimid filí Béarla a chur ag obair ar shaothar a gcomhúdar. Leantar na treoirlínte iarratais thuas a bhaineann le filíocht Bhéarla.

Contact Details

The Stinging Fly
PO Box 6016
Dublin 1

stingingfly AT gmail dot com

Publisher: Declan Meade
Editor: Thomas Morris
Poetry Editor: Eabhan Ní Shúileabháin
Eagarthóir filíochta Gaeilge: Aifric Mac Aodha
Contributing Editors: Emily Firetog, Dave Lordan, and Sean O'Reilly

To keep up to date with the latest news on publishing opportunities, creative writing workshops, and author readings and events, we recommend you join our mailing list...