Thank you for your interest in submitting an article to An Unexpected Journal.  We accept essays, fiction, and poetry, please read more about us or browse through past issues for an idea of what we accept.  For more questions, please contact us.

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2022 Issues and Submission Deadlines

Spring 2022: Saints and Sanctuaries  Publication Date:   March 9, 2022.  Submission Deadline: January 20, 2022.

Launch Party: March 19th, 2 pm to 6 pm CST

The Christian life is often described as a journey. In our ventures, we have opportunities to learn from faithful witnesses in our lives, in the past, or even in fiction. Oftentimes, this learning occurs in a place of rest, some haven where we recover and prepare to venture on. This issue will look at both the saints and the sanctuaries which have strengthened believers for the road ahead.


Summer 2022: Dragons  Publication Date:  June 8, 2022.  Submission Deadline:  April 5, 2022.

Launch Party: Saturday, June 25th, 2 pm to 6 pm CST

Greedy, wicked, vengeful, powerful. Dragons occupy a powerful position in the contemporary imagination. This issue is a consideration of literary dragons and other monsters that fulfill the dragon trope. Because this image seems to emerge in a variety of cultures and contexts, it provides fertile ground for cultural apologists to engage with this fantastic beast.


Fall 2022: Joy  Publication Date:  September 7, 2022.  Submission Deadline: July 5, 2022.

Launch Party: Saturday, September 24th, 2 pm to 6 pm CST

Togetherness in both working and feasting is a source of great joy. In this issue, we examine celebrations of a common goal achieved, as well as the provision joy makes for difficult times to come. Like a harvest, ingatherings of joy help sustain us in the face of hardship. In all cases -working, feasting, and sustenance – joy serves as a powerful apologetic, encompassing such values as goodness, presence, togetherness, attentiveness, gratitude, humility, and community.


Advent 2022: Shakespeare  Publication Date:  December 7, 2022  Submission Deadline: July 20, 2022.

Launch Party: Saturday, December 17th, 2 pm to 6 pm CST

William Shakespeare is not generally thought of as an apologist, but his imaginative engagement with the human condition provides ample opportunities for cultural apologists to explore his work. As Hamlet says, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

We are pleased to welcome special guest editors Dr. Joe Ricke and Dr. Sarah Waters for this Advent issue.

Joe Ricke (Ph.D. in English Literature from Rice University) is an independent scholar and director of the Inkling Folk Fellowship, an international group of scholars, seekers, and artists, meeting virtually every Friday. He was previously Professor of English and Director of the Center for the Study of C. S. Lewis & Friends at Taylor University, where he organized and directed the highly-acclaimed  Lewis & Friends Colloquia (“best Inkling conference on the planet,” Devin Brown).  He has presented and published numerous essays and book chapters on Shakespeare and early drama, Lewis/Tolkien/MacDonald, and academic freedom. His forthcoming essay on George MacDonald and the New Shakespeare Society demonstrates the contextual significance of MacDonald’s scholarship. He has co-edited three volumes of Inkling-related papers, and, for a decade, he has organized the Lewis and the Middle Ages panels at the International Congress on Medieval Studies. He has performed in and directed numerous Shakespeare productions, his poems have appeared in various journals and book collections, and as a singer/songwriter, he performs as Joe Martyn Ricke and with The Ricke Brothers.


Sarah Waters works on CS Lewis and Shakespeare, sometimes separately and sometimes together. She is a Lecturer in English Literature and Honorary Junior Research Fellow at the University of Buckingham (England), with a PhD in Shakespeare studies and medical humanities. Her publications reflect her varied research interests with recent articles on Pericles and the Gendering of Affect, and Shakespeare in Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra. With her interest in Shakespeare particularly grounded in connections with the present, with appropriations, reimaginings, and refashionings, and the capacity of Shakespearean drama, in particular, to probe contemporary issues past and present, she is excited to see the creative and critical potential of exploring Shakespeare through a cultural apologetics lens.



2023 Issues and Submission Deadlines

Spring 2023: Mystery / Detective: Detecting Truth in the Darkness  Publication Date: March 8, 2023 Submission Deadline: October 9, 2022

Was it Professor Plum in the study with the candlestick, or Miss Scarlet in the dining room with the lead pipe? Our hearts race as we fly through pages, silently cheering on our heroes as they try their best to thwart villainous foes. Our love of the unknown and our desire to find answers provide the perfect opportunity for apologists to crack the
code of our cultural case.

Launch Party: Saturday, March 25th, 2 pm to 6 pm CST


Summer 2023: King Arthur: A Pendragon, A Prayer, and A Promise  Publication Date: June 7, 2023  Submission Deadline: January 8, 2023

Although sleeping until the hour of Britain’s greatest need, King Arthur still captures our popular imagination. The motif of the returning King, the virtues and vices of his Knights of the Round Table, and the epic quests they undertake all provide fertile ground for cultural apologists to consider what our love of Arthur says about our humanity.

Launch Party: Saturday, June 24th, 2 pm to 6 pm CST


Fall 2023: Play and Prayer: Sports and Leisure as Spiritual Formation   Publication Date: September 6th, 2023   Submission Deadline: April 9th, 2023

We were created for so much more than punching the time clock and going to work. So many things in the world are worth enjoying for their own sake, and this issue seeks to celebrate the pastimes that we love. Considering why our recreation brings us joy also helps us understand more about the human condition.

Launch Party: Saturday, September 23rd, 2 pm to 6 pm CST


Advent 2023: Dostoyevsky: Sober Hope: Finding Faith in the Bleak Midwinter   Publication Date: December 6th, 2023   Submission Deadline: July 9th, 2023

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s explorations of the human condition earned him recognition as one of the greatest novelists
in history. Because his work is saturated with philosophical and religious themes, this Advent issue of An
Unexpected Journal considers his works and wrestles with the questions they raise.

Launch Party: Saturday, December 18th, 2 pm to 6 pm CST


Writer Guidelines

An Unexpected Journal publishes the following types of original content:

  • Longform Essays – 3,000-5,000 words
  • Shortform Essays – 1,000-2,500 words
  • Short Stories – 1,000-2,500 words
  • Poetry
  • Devotional Reflections – 800-1,200 words
  • Book or film reviews – 800-2,000 words
  • Art or Photography – 300 pixels per inch

Please include the following elements in your submission:

  • The first page should contain your name and contact information (postal and email addresses and phone number).
  • A brief statement of which upcoming issue you are submitting to and why you believe your piece fits that issue’s theme.
  • All citations in footnotes formatted in Turabian style. Please include a bibliography of all works cited at the end of your piece.
  • Please include a brief biographical note of 40 to 50 words that could be published with your article, specifying your vocation or occupation, examples of significant work, your latest book or other identifying mark (office in a national organization, for example), your family (if desired), and your church affiliation (if desired). See the journal for examples.

Submissions should be made through this Google form in which you can attach your article as well as sign our writer agreement which is required prior to publication. Your information will remain private. Your contact information will only be used for the purposes of An Unexpected Journal and will not be made available for any other purpose or to any other party. If you do not have a Google account of some sort and cannot access Google forms, please email us for alternative arrangements.

You may send a query to the editor ( regarding an article if you are not sure if it would be a fit for An Unexpected Journal. A positive response from the editor does not necessarily guarantee an article will be published. Articles will be reviewed on their own merit upon submission.

At this point, we are unable to provide any financial compensation for contributions to An Unexpected Journal. Please know that your contribution is nevertheless highly valuable and serves to stimulate discussion of literary and imaginative apologetics.

Images to accompany each article will be chosen by our team. In the event that you would like to include an image authored by someone other than yourself, we ask that you either secure permission from the author to use the image or justify the fair use of the image. The fair use of an image can be justified if the image is in the public domain, is commented upon directly (such as a book cover or a movie poster) or if the image is under a Creative Commons License. If the image is merely illustrative for your post, this is not sufficient to justify ‘fair use’ of the image. It is your responsibility to accurately attribute copyrighted material to its author or source.

Upon submission, the author understands and agrees that he or she will be expected to work with a team of editors to polish and prepare the article for publication.