When I first announced Nowruz Journal in March 2020, I noted that it wasn’t lost on me that this era of global pandemic, multi-national strife and rampant anxiety might not be the most opportune moment to start any venture, let alone a creative one. Yet I thought then—as I do now—that equally, the act of making art and of communing together in the face of bleak realities is a powerful hedge against despair.

We’ve entered into autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, a time of harvest. Thinking back on the announcement of this journal, on the first day of an unimaginable spring, in an indescribable year—these last seven months have been full of endings: of precious lives, of outdated modes of thought, of structures that do not serve us.

The acclaimed visual artist and director Shirin Neshat once said, “Art is our weapon. Culture is a form of resistance.” Regardless of where we are situated geographically, we have been feeling the crushing weight of a perpetual Shab-e Yalda, an immense external darkness for humankind, and our planet. Yet Persians use that longest night of the year as an opportunity to commune—through symbolic rituals, through recitations of literary treasures—and to affirm that light is coming. I believe more than ever that we can deal with—transform—our current heaviness through the arts, and in so doing maintain hope, experience joy, and savor the gifts of community.

Welcome to Nowruz Journal,
a periodical of Persian arts and letters.

This online journal was conceived with the primary goal of creating a meeting place—a virtual chai-khaneh/golestan—to celebrate the diversity of Persian voices and talents everywhere. The goal—and commitment—is to share the works of Persian-identified writers and artists around the world to English-speaking literary audiences and certainly, to the Persian community itself.

I asked in March: can we take the enduring elements of an empire long-since dispersed, and create a borderless realm of artistic and cultural collage that promotes understanding both within the culture in question and also in the broader world?

I still believe we must. And I hope you do, too.

Mandana Chaffa
Founder and Editor-in-Chief


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For our first call for submissions, we are seeking the full panoply of arts and letters created by all those who identify as Persian around the world, though the final product will be in the English language.

The creation of art is necessarily a political act, but we are less interested in pieces that are specifically about national and transnational politics or primarily scholarly works, as there are many outstanding publications that already serve this ground well.

We’re especially interested in work that focuses on less explored aspects of the Persian experience globally. For the first issue, for those who prefer a theme, we suggest considering the topic of ORIGINS.

We prefer work under 2,500 words.

Please send us up to three poems in one document, with a maximum submission length of 5 pages.

The world of Persian artwork and photography—visual, multimedia and video—is vast and we are interested in all of it. Please query first.

Please query first.

It goes without saying that Nowruz Journal celebrates Persian literature, especially of those authors who may not be widely known in the Anglophone, diasporic world. We are interested in work translated into English in all genres, especially but not limited to poetry and prose. Excerpts from larger pieces are also welcome. Please follow the same guidelines as for works written in English, but also provide an account of the text and its author, a short biography of the translator, and any other relevant information. Please include the work in the source language, and of course, it is the translator’s responsibility to secure necessary permissions for publication.


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Submissions are open from October 15-December 21, 2020, and should be sent to: submissions@nowruzjournal.com.

  • Please indicate both the title the genre of your work—fiction, essay, poetry, interview, translation etc.—in the subject line of your email: [GENRE] Title of the Work — Last Name, First Initial.
  • Please use traditional serif fonts, 12 pt., double-spaced (except for poetry).
  • We prefer .doc, .docx and .pdf formats only (except for art/photography).

The average response time for submissions is approximately 3-4 months depending upon when you submit. If you have not received a response after 4 months, please contact us; it’s been our unfortunate experience that emails sometimes do get caught in the ether.

Additional details

  • A brief cover letter is welcome. Tell us a little bit about yourself, why you’re interested in Nowruz Journal, where your work has appeared before, or anything else you think might be important for us to know.
  • Simultaneous submissions are fine, but do withdraw your submission immediately if your piece has been picked up elsewhere.
  • Please do not submit the same piece to multiple categories at the same time.
  • Please only send one submission to a given section at a time.
  • All work must be previously unpublished. This includes personal blogs and social media.

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