For all submissions, please e-mail the manuscript in the body of the e-mail to email@example.com with “Submission” and the department (i.e. “Fiction” “Essay” “Feature Pitch”) as the subject heading. Please do not send your submission as an attachment.
For features, news items, and debate essays, please query with clips first. Simultaneous submissions are okay–just let us know immediately if the manuscript is accepted elsewhere.
We strongly prefer submissions by email. If you must mail your submission, send it along with a stamped SASE to Brain, Child: Publishing Office, 341 Newtown Turnpike, Wilton, CT 06897.
We try to respond within eight weeks. We believe writers are the lifeblood of this publication; we offer competitive rates. –Marcelle Soviero, Editor-in-Chief
PERSONAL ESSAYS (800 to 4,500 words): These are the signature pieces of the magazine, the heart and soul of our endeavor. We’re looking for essays that share certain qualities–specificity and insight primary among them. These pieces should employ illustrative anecdotes, vivid scenes, a personal voice, and a down-to-earth tone. We will avoid essays that fall back on big concept words–”magic,” “joy,” “wonder”–to get across the transformative nature of motherhood. Poignancy is fine; sentimentality isn’t. Humor is a plus. Important points to remember: We aren’t looking for how-to articles or essays that focus more on the child than on the parent.
FEATURE (3000 to 6000 words): Each issue, we devote space to at least one traditional feature, a piece that relies more heavily on reporting than introspection. Examples of this sort include an in-depth look at the home-schooling movement and an investigation into the frontiers of genetic testing. We’re open to both New Journalism and old, but high-quality research and reporting are a must. Please query with clips and a one-page story outline.
FICTION (1500 to 4500 words): We look for strongly developed characters and, more ephemerally, a sense that we trust the writer. We get a lot of stories that address the daily grind of the characters’ lives; if your story does this, you might ask yourself if this is the moment in the character’s life you want to capture in story. Since much of Brain, Child is made up of personal essays, we have to walk a strict line between the essay and short story forms. We prefer stories that aren’t written from a first-person point of view.
POETRY: We print two to five poems per issue, related to parenting or having been parented. We look for imagery, clarity and expert word choice. Every word counts. Send us your best.
NUTSHELL (200 to 800 words): Nutshell is our news section, offering both stories you won’t find in the mainstream media and unique perspectives on hot topics. Example stories include: a profile of pediatrician whose own children watched three hours of TV a day; a report on a new study of lesbian adoptive mothers; and an interview with a mother whose child left home for college at fourteen. Please query with clips and a pitch.
DEBATE (900 words): Our section of friendly fire, where two writers square off on a topic of controversy. We’re looking for concise, thoughtful words on issues such as sex education, the Barbie question, and whether sleeping with your kids is okay. Brief anecdotes helpful; very strong opinion required. Please query with clips and the issue.
REVIEWS (200 words for mini-reviews; 800-3000 for longer reviews): We review new and not-so-new books of fiction, memoir, autobiography, and nonfiction. Our short reviews focus on books dealing with family or parenting (no how-to or expert advice manuals). The longer review essays tackle several books on a distinct theme; these essays are thesis-driven rather than a serial review of the works at hand.
MOTHERWIT (800 words): This is our back page essay that relishes humor. We’re open to a variety of forms (e.g., narrative, letter, quiz, etc.)–as long as it makes us laugh.