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Dappled Things is a Catholic literary magazine, and this raises the question of what Catholic literature is in the first place. Rather than give you a pat answer, we invite you as a contributor to help us explore that question. You should, however, keep in mind the following:

  • Catholicism has a profoundly rich history; we tend to favor pieces that seriously engage and are informed by those riches. At the same time, we seek work that does not simply put old wine into new wineskins. Rather, we encourage innovation that is in conversation with the riches of Christianity’s tradition in art, thought, and practice;
  • We cherish wit, but have little patience for pretentiousness, cynicism, or sneering. We expect that, at their core, pieces published in the magazine will grow out of a love and understanding of the cardinal virtues of wisdom, justice, temperance, and fortitude; the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love; and the redemptive theme that transpires from the Nicene Creed.
  • At the same time, we value work that is truthful through and through, meaning that it explores reality honestly and unflinchingly, without whitewashing or sugarcoating. To unveil the truth about the beauty and goodness of the world, one must not hide the facts of the Fall;
  • Pieces need not be overtly religious to be eligible for publication. Remember that Catholic means universal;
  • Whatever else your piece succeeds in doing, quality of craftsmanship is a sine qua non.

Dappled Things accepts simultaneous submissions. If you are submitting your work to other journals at the same time, please explicitly state that in your cover letter, and notify us immediately if your work is accepted elsewhere.

Ends on November 30, 2017
“One foot in this world and one in the next”: that’s how J.F. Powers described the Midwestern priests he wrote about in his fiction. Having one foot in another world can be awkward, and Powers’ characters are known not for their graceful mysticism, but for the humiliating and mordantly entertaining stumbles they make while trying to live their faith. We’re looking for carefully crafted short stories with vivid characters who encounter grace in everyday settings—we want to see who, in the age we live in, might have one foot in this world and one in the next. 

What are the prizes?
1st place: $500
2nd place: $250
Up to 8 honorable mentions: publication in the journal and a one-year subscription

When will winners be announced?
Winners of the J.F. Powers Prize for Short Fiction will be announced in February 2018 and published throughout the subsequent issues that year.

Is there a reading fee?

  • Only one submission per author will be accepted.
  • Please do not submit any previously published work.
  • Simultaneous submissions are welcome, but please withdraw your work immediately if it is accepted elsewhere.
  • Please include in your contact information, including e-mail and mailing address, in your cover letter, as well as one or two lines with your biographical information as you would like it to appear if published.
  • The word limit is 8,000 words. Longer submissions will be returned unread.

You may submit one fiction piece at a time. Please wait until you have received a response before sending more work. We recommend that you look through previous editions of the journal to get a sense of the type of work we tend to favor. You may use this category to submit short stories, flash-fiction, and drama.

Please include a byline in your cover letter that we can use in our contributor notes if your piece is selected for publication.


All pieces submitted to our nonfiction section will be considered for our yearly Jacques Maritain Prize for Nonfiction. The three prize winners will be selected by an independent judge from among all the nonfiction pieces published in the magazine during the previous year. The prize winner will be announced in December of 2017, with winners being selected from among the preceding four issues of the journal.

The prize amounts are as follows:

First prize: $500

Second prize: $300

Third prize: $200

All text submissions should use 12-point Times New Roman font. Writers should only use one space after periods and other forms of punctuation.

We are not interested in work that uses an overly academic tone. Avoid jargon and send us work that will be of interest to the well-informed non-specialist. Instead of including a list of works cited, include any citations in journalistic style, as a part of the piece itself. We are open to a wide range of topics and  approaches; take a look through past editions of the journal to see what sort of nonfiction we publish. You may use this category for submitting essays, memoirs, interviews, and other nonfiction articles, but please submit book reviews through the category specifically designated for them. Note that neither interviews nor book reviews are eligible for the Jacques Maritain Prize.

Please send only one non-fiction piece at a time and wait for a response before making a new submission.

Please include a byline in your cover letter that we can use in our contributor notes if your piece is selected for publication.

You may submit up to ten images at a time. Please look through previous editions of the journal to get an idea of the type of work we have published in the past.

Send only reviews of books no older than two years. Feel free to send us a query if you want to know whether we'd be interested in a particular book.