Commonweal welcomes original manuscripts dealing with topical issues of the day on public affairs, religion, literature, and the arts. Articles fall into three categories, and should be submitted for the category they match:

  • Short Takes, running from 1,000 to 2,000 words, are brief and reportorial, giving facts, information, and some interpretation behind the headlines. When considering a topic, please keep in mind that our turnaround time for articles is 6-8 weeks.
  • Features, running from 2,500 to 5,000 words, bring new information or a different point of view to a subject, raising questions, and/or proposing solutions to the dilemmas facing the world, nation, or Church.
  • Last Word columns, running from 750 to 1,500 words, are more personal reflections on some aspect of the human condition: spiritual, individual, political, or social. We do not accept “Last Word” submissions exceeding 1,500 words.

Commonweal does not accept unsolicited book or film reviews.

Articles should be written for a general but well-educated audience. While religious articles are always topical, we are less interested in devotional and “churchy” pieces than in articles which examine the links between “worldly” concerns and religious beliefs.

The best way to get a sense of what we’re looking for is to read what we have already published. Commonweal tends to be opinionated and engaged, but tolerant in tone, emphasizing reasoned discussion over sectarianism. This doesn’t preclude taking strong and controversial positions.

Please submit your article as a word document.


Pitches:

We welcome queries that outline an idea and an approach, though if we accept a pitch that does not guarantee publication. Please email your pitch to editors@commonwealmagazine.org and include some information about your background or previous publications with your query.


Poetry:

Please send poetry submissions to poetryeditor@commonwealmagazine.org. Limit of five poems per submission. Due to the constraints of our pages, we cannot accept poems exceeding one page in length. Please include a short author bio with your submission that could be used to accompany the poem in print. Poetry submissions are not considered within the 6-8 week time-frame of manuscript submissions.


Please note:

  • Please allow 6 to 8 weeks for a response to a manuscript, though occasionally response times may be longer, including over the Christmas/New Year holiday.
  • Payment for articles is made on publication, and Commonweal customarily retains the copyright on all published articles.
  • Due to the high volume of submissions, we will not be able to provide feedback on pieces we do not accept.
  • Please only submit one article at a time
$20.00

To celebrate its centennial in November 2024, Commonweal magazine will award one author the Commonweal Prize for Short Fiction. The winner will receive a prize of $1,000 and publication in the July/August 2024 fiction issue and on the Commonweal website.

Submissions will be accepted from February 1, 2024 to March 31, 2024. This contest is open to emerging writers who have not yet published a novel or short story collection. 

Submission guidelines:

  • Submit one original short story that has not been published elsewhere of 2,500-4,000 words. Please, no flash fiction or genre fiction. Submissions need not focus on religious themes.
  • The final round of the contest will be judged anonymously.
  • Include a resume as a separate attachment with your submission.
  • Only one submission per author will be considered.
  • Simultaneous submissions are welcome. Please withdraw your submission if it has been accepted elsewhere.
  • All submissions must be submitted through the Submittable portal. Emailed or mailed submissions will not be considered.
  • Present or past employees of Commonweal as well as friends, family, or associates of the guest judge are not eligible for this contest.
  • We may consider submissions that do not receive the prize for publication in Commonweal, paid at our usual rate. 
  • Send any questions to Regina Munch at rmunch@commonwealmagazine.org.

Short Takes, running from 1,000 to 2,000 words, are brief and  reportorial, giving facts, information, and some interpretation behind  the headlines. When considering a topic, please keep in mind that our  turnaround time for articles is 6-8 weeks.

Last Word columns, running from 750 to 1,500 words, are more  personal reflections on some aspect of the human condition: spiritual,  individual, political, or social. We do not accept “Last Word” submissions exceeding 1,500 words.

Features, running from 2,500 to 5,000 words, bring new information or a different point of view to a subject, raising  questions, and/or proposing solutions to the dilemmas facing the world, nation, or Church.