All submissions published in the Underground Writers zine from issue 17 onward will be paid a flat rate of $50 (that’s Australian dollars), regardless of length, style, or previous publishing experience. As we are a free, un-funded, not-for-profit, volunteer organisation we rely entirely on our fabulous Patreon supporters to pay our writers. The more money we make through Patreon the more writers we can afford to publish; it’s as simple and difficult as that. So if you like what we do and want us to keep doing it please consider supporting us on Patreon. There are a number of rewards, and all of our regular Patreons receive our original content first; that’s all book reviews, TBR lists, interviews, and issues delivered to our supporters before anyone else!

Submissions for issue 20, Nostalgia, are now closed. Any submissions sent to us now will be considered for issue 21 (theme still to be released), due out early February 2018. 

Issue 20, Nostalgia:

My alarm wakes me with Stereo Love by Edward Maya, chosen because it was the ‘wake-up’ song on my European Contiki Tour. You’ve got five minutes, I can almost hear our tour leader over the song, Get up. Get ready. It’s time for a new adventure. I get a whiff of Elizabeth Arden Red Door perfume and I suddenly remember my grandmother. It is mixed with the scent of summer rain on warm bitumen which brings back childhood days dancing outside in a thunderstorm. I wonder again what evolutionary process gave the nose this incredible power. I can’t smell a predator coming but I can be rocketed back in time by a few chemicals on the wind.

My drug of choice is the past; soaking in the technicolour of happy memories provides the greatest high. The low sucks you down a grey vortex of embarrassment, sorrow and what-if games- it can be truly damaging. How can I move on to the
future if I’m addicted to the past? Hundreds of bottles fill my house. I’ve bottled up my memories and labelled them accordingly: time, date and emotion. Each time I close a door the tinkling of the bottles echo throughout. One bottle I keep close, hidden beneath my bed, the label is incomplete for all I could write once the moment was done and bottled was: nostalgia.

I enjoy memory; I feel more clearly there. Things were better back then.

People were less cynical.

“It’s that thinking that won Trump the election,” your voice retorts, “He said: Let’s Make America Great Again, and everyone was so caught up in the nostalgia of Stranger Things and retro gaming and nineties hip-hop that no one stopped to remember our progress.”

Nostalgia is Hindsight’s far more delightful sister. She is what we wake up to, longing for in our past, and hoping for in our future.

Submission guidelines

As much as we’d love to say Let Your Creativity Run Free!, we do have some rules and regulations to follow, but they’re pretty straightforward. If you’re unsure of any of the guidelines, feel free to contact us. 

Please note:

  • We do accept submissions from writers outside of Australia but priority will always be given to Australian writers
  • As the themes are quite loosely interpretive we will not reject your piece on lack of theme alone, but priority will be given to pieces that are at least obliquely to theme, and highest priority is given to pieces that are a creative interpretation of the theme; we want to see original and interesting works that take an idea and turn it into something wonderful
  • Priority will also be given to work that has not been accepted or published elsewhere – see note below about previously published work
  • In the body of your email please tell us where you found out about us – we’re always curious to know!
  • Please also include a brief biography about yourself and your work, e.g. your writing career so far (even if this is your first submission anywhere ever!), where you’re based, what kind of work you usually write, etc. 

Before submitting

  • All work sent to us must be the original work of the author, or the author must own the rights to have the work published
  • Submitting content to us may mean that your work is not available for publishing in other journals or in competitions. It’s best to do some research about this, and let us know if a piece is accepted somewhere else before we publish it
  • We only accept one long piece (short story, review) or two short pieces (poems, flash fiction) per author per issue – you may submit different or substantially edited work for consideration for each new issue


  • Submissions should be in DOC (Microsoft Word) or a compatible format (RTF, TXT, DOCX, etc). Do not submit work in PDF or the form of an image – you will need to re-submit it in a Microsoft Word (or compatible) format, attached to your email. Do not submit your work in the body of the email!
  • We have a limit of  40 lines for poems, 2,000 words for short stories, flash fiction and reviews
  • Submissions must be written in English
  • Please format your text in Calibri, Arial or Times News Roman, size 10-12, with line spacing of 1.5
  • Pieces with substantial spelling or grammatical errors will not be accepted. It is up to you to edit your submissions to a publishable standard – we will not copy edit them for you, we only give substantive feedback


  • We have a team of editors who will each read every submission, all of us with different tastes and in form, style and content. You can peruse our Editor profiles and our To Be Read lists if you need convincing! 
  • As this zine will be presented to the general public, please be aware of the suitability of explicit content. If a piece is deemed unsuitable it will not be included in the zine

After submitting

  • Within a week you will receive confirmation that we have received your submission. If you have not received a confirmation email after a week, please resend your submission to us until you do receive the confirmation as, although we are diligent, sometimes emails go astray and end up in the Junk folder! However, do not expect a reply regarding the state of your submission – included or not – until submissions have closed. This just means that we have not yet decided what works will be included in the ‘zine
  • We will send feedback on all submissions, whether we have accepted them for publication or not. You are free to substantially edit a piece and resubmit at the next issue, but we retain the right to refuse to include a piece until the editors deem it suitable. Please do not submit the same piece twice – all submissions must be significantly different from each other for consideration

Most importantly, just remember that we’re people as well as editors, many of us writers ourselves. If you’re having second thoughts about your submission we’re happy to discuss it with you.

And now that you’ve read through all of that, get submitting!

When your submission is ready email it as a .doc or .docx (Microsoft Word) or compatible format (.rtf, .txt etc.) attached to your email. Do not submit your work in the body of the email!

Send it to us at submissions [at]