Submission guidelines

*The Anthill has closed its gates after a five year run, and is no longer considering new submissions. If you have a China piece or idea that you're sitting on, submit it to our new home at the Los Angeles Review of Books China Channel*


The Anthill is a writers' colony, with over a hundred contributors or ants since we opened the hill in 2011. Email your submission or story idea to colonyemails[at] along with a brief bio and a headshot.

We publish narrative non-fiction, short fiction, poetry, photography and translation. Our founding philosophy is that there's too much regurgitation of the news about China, and not enough writing with a sense of story. We're not interested in the latest trending topic or your commentary on it. Instead we want the vignette or short story that scratches deeper under the surface.

We accept stories of all lengths, both short and long form. Somewhere between 800 and 2000 words is ideal, and anything over 3000 words might get unwieldy. But we believe a piece of writing should be as long as it needs to be, and not a word longer.

The non-fiction, please remember that in any story something happens. It might be something that happens to you (including interior journeys) or it might be the story of someone else you've met. But if it's simply a description of a place you went to, unless it's a volcano that no one knew existed in the middle of Zhengzhou, there's Lonely Planet for that. Non-fiction editor is Alec Ash.

For fiction, our mantra is show don't tell. We're looking for writing that goes beyond the prevailing clichés about China, and that hints at more than what is on the page. Fiction editor is Tom Pellman.

For poetry, try to be evocative but not too pretentious. Poetry editor is Anthony Tao.

For photography, we prefer to run photo essays (like this) but we also accept single images with narrative glosses (like this).

For translation, we mean from Chinese to English, and it can be anything that fits the descriptions above. We want to run more translation so are always happy to receive submissions, but please be sure that you have cleared the rights first.

We accept submissions that have been published elsewhere, but be sure to tell us. We occasionally run excerpts from books, too.

We're very sorry that we don't have any money to pay contributors, but we will buy you a very large drink if you're ever in Beijing.

Submissions can be in any format, but to make our lives easier please don't ident paragraphs, and all double spaces must be terminated with extreme prejudice. We should get back to you promptly, and we edit all accepted submissions. Thanks for reading!