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Feel free to pitch us at But before you do, please read the magazine! You’ll notice a few things. We don’t use section headings or footnotes or parenthetical references. We write out numbers, including really long ones. We don’t allow anarthrous noun modifiers in our pages. In addition to feature essays, articles, and reviews, we have a handful of regular columns or “departments.” The best way to get a sense of what belongs in each department is—we don’t mind repeating ourselves!—to sit down with a copy of The Lamp, but below is a rough guide.

Submission Guidelines


Some of the Church’s finest writing comes from Her converts. We are looking for personal stories of conversion (or reversion, an equally interesting but perhaps less well-defined phenomenon), preferably ordered around some discrete aspect of your life that might have led you, however indirectly, to the Faith. Intellectual matters may enter into your narrative if presented with elegance and interest (please no “It was when I read Aquinas’ famous Five Proofs that. . .”), but your piece should still be a narrative.


Perhaps you’ve found yourself poring through parochial records or reading up on forgotten renovations to an old church façade. For our Brass Rubbings section, we are looking for detailed, shamelessly antiquarian pieces on all manner of local ecclesiastical history. Tell us the story of your parish through the decades or centuries: we want to hear about any significant aspect of its past (architecture, figures of communal legend, devotional practices). Make sure to provide a precise factual foundation to your piece, though it should still read briskly and have a coherent story to tell.


Reportage and politics go here. We take well-observed pieces on national politics, though we are equally interested in local affairs. If you learn something meaningful about your country or your city or your town’s civil life on the street instead of on a screen, we probably want to hear about it. We do not welcome partisan writing in this section or anywhere else in the magazine. (Please note that “partisan” is not the same as “presents a forthright opinion.”)


This is our back-page column, where we end the magazine with a short, light essay. There are no strict guidelines, though readers should not be left scratching their heads and asking what that was all about.

We are not very fussy about formatting, but we do expect pitches and submissions to follow a few house rules. Some of these rules exist for our convenience as editors; others are there on the old Van Halen brown M&Ms principle:

  • We do not use section headings or footnotes or parenthetical references. We write out numbers, including really long ones. We do not allow anarthrous noun modifiers in our pages.
  • Please consider cleaning up your manuscript before passing it along. Times New Roman is a good font. Tabs and indents are a hassle. Quotes should be “smart,” i.e., just like that. Give us a one-sentence bio that we can use. And for heaven’s sake, no PDFs! We accept .docx, .doc, .rtf or links to Google Docs as long as they are editable. We even have a template.
  • Features should be between two and five thousand words; reviews twelve to twenty-five hundred. For reasons of space, Nunc Dimittis submissions should not be longer than seven-hundred fifty words.

While all pitches and submissions are eventually read, our editorial process as a bi-monthly with a full-time staff of two is slow. Almost nothing that we publish in the magazine is time-sensitive. All of which is to say that if you write to us, we will do our best to get back to you, but in the meantime writers should not send follow-up queries about unsolicited work.

This brings us back to the question of what kinds of things we actually publish. Here are some things that do not interest us:

  • “The Catholic Novel,” a.k.a., “The Catholic Literary Revival”: We are not looking for reviews, retrospectives, appraisals, reappraisals, considerations, or anything else touching upon writers such as J.F. Powers, Flannery O’Connor, Fr. Thomas Merton, and that guy who sat on Faulkner’s porch once. One reason we are not keen on these pieces is that we think this genre has been done to death. (Editors at other publications clearly do not feel this way, which is why you can always find “The Catholic Novel Revisited” or a review of the fourth volume of Merton’s Collected Telegrams to Recording Artists Signed to Elektra Records in their pages.) But another, more important one is simply that we are two-tiered Thomists, which is a fancy way of saying that we have a broad and inclusive view of what is “Catholic” in literature. We like what Saint John Henry Newman wrote: “ By ‘Catholic Literature’ is not to be understood a literature which treats exclusively or primarily of Catholic matters, of Catholic doctrine, controversy, history, persons or politics; but it includes all subjects of literature whatever treated as a Catholic would treat them and as only he can treat them.”
  • Anything that could be published in an academic journal of theology—or, indeed, any other subject. Do not submit a piece with footnotes or section headings.
  • “Book reports,” by which we mean tedious reviews of the kind that appear in the books sections of our national newspapers, and even, alas, in our highbrow literary magazines. Read this and do the opposite.

And finally, some things that do interest us:

  • Serious reporting on pretty much anything that would be of interest to Catholic readers from people who know how to write magazine-quality features.
  • Essays that make important abstract concepts—the common good, the theology of Laudato si’, the case for unilateral nuclear disarmament, corporatist political economy—accessible and interesting and, especially, enjoyable without talking down to our readers. We are especially keen on pieces that draw upon unusual or unexpected sources, such as medieval ballads.
  • Amusing, witty, sparkling, delightful light writing and parodies of all sorts.
  • Reviews that are really more like short essays. We suggest looking at the catalogues of both major trade publishers and university presses for ideas. We have almost no interest in reviewing new fiction, but otherwise we are open to more or less anything: e.g., if there is a coffee-table book about roses, we would love for someone to write two thousand words in praise of woody perennials of the genus Rosa and refer to the actual book once in passing near the beginning or the very end of the piece (“The most beautiful book that has come out of our country in my time. One thinks of Homer”). We also welcome takedowns of very silly books, but not too many. If you want a sense of the kind of reviews that we enjoy, read Macaulay or Lytton Strachey or Hugh Trevor-Roper or A.N. Wilson or Sam Leith.
  • Well-written essays on basketball or weightlifting or bass fishing or arithmetic or handwriting or airplane design or pretty much else anything else, so long as you can show us that it is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, or of good report.