Hot Metal Bridge is committed to publishing writers and artists from diverse perspectives and experiences. We don’t discriminate on the basis of race, gender expression, sexual orientation, class, ethnicity, or disability, and in fact encourage writers within marginalized communities to submit their work.

We welcome simultaneous submissions, but please let us know as soon as possible via Submittable if your work has been accepted elsewhere. HMB does not publish previously published material when it is unsolicited.

Anything received by email or snail mail will not be considered.

Finally, though we love University of Pittsburgh writers, we ask that former Hot Metal Bridge staff (readers, editors, etc.) refrain from submitting.

General Submissions

Hot Metal Bridge wants your work. Send us your best fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and visual art. We’re looking for aesthetically beautiful and emotionally challenging works that search for deeper truth in the human experience. We’re looking for strong and compelling narratives. We’re looking for works that will haunt us, keep us up at night, and make us laugh – in short, something real and vital. Take risks. Surprise us.

Please submit only one story or essay (6,000-word limit), up to five poems compiled in one document, or eight images at a time.

Work will be accepted from January 15, 2016 through April 1, 2016 via our online submissions manager, or click the button below.


Spring 2016 Social Justice Writing Contest

Hot Metal Bridge is accepting submissions for our social justice writing contest. Please read the genre-specific calls below for specifics.

Note: We are committed to keeping HMB accessible to everyone, so there is no mandatory fee for this contest. That said, we really do rely on your support for upkeep and prizes. If you can, we encourage you to submit through the tip jar. You can also make a tax-deductible donation of any amount to Hot Metal Bridge here. Please know that donating will not give your submission preference, but we will be very grateful.


We’re putting out a call for your poems that are political acts. See Erica Hunt’s “Notes for an Oppositional Poetics” or, in the wake of the loss of poet C.D. Wright,  One with Others or One Big Self; tell us what’s wrong in these works, or tell us what’s still right. Witness and testify to us; let us know how oppression and structural inequality persist; take up the banner of women, of black lives matter, of all people of color, of universal healthcare, of queer and trans lives. If all poems are political acts, we want your poems that take poem as platform, that believe the poem can change the world—or wish it could.

To paraphrase our President: send us your poems that protest, your poems that prove justice matters.


Hot Metal Bridge wants your submissions for our 2016 writing contest. Send us your best work of fewer than 3,000 words fitting the theme of social justice, broadly defined as issues of justice and fairness between the individual and society. We’re seeking a wide-ranging representation of compelling nonfiction, anything from lyric pieces to cultural criticism to journalism. As always, we’re looking for works that are real and vital. Take risks. Surprise us.


We’re looking for works of fiction (4,000 words or fewer) that push beyond words on a page—we want to read pieces that makes our blood cold, ones that serve a greater experience: whether that be police riots, poverty or a modern-day trail of tears. We’re looking for your dystopian fantasies and utopian terrors. Give us realism, surrealism, and everything in between, but give us something vital. What story has yet to be written? What voices need to be heard?

Entry fee: Suggested $3 tip jar or donate at

Deadline: March 25th, 2016

Prizes: Winner will receive $50 and publication in the contest section of our magazine; runner-up will earn publication.


Nonfiction: Maggie Jones is a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine where she writes about social issues, including race, gender, poverty, youth, immigration, adoption and health. She has been a finalist for a National Magazine Award and was a 2012 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. She was also the 2015 Senior Ochberg Fellow at the Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has reported on stories in the U.S and around the world — from boys who live as shut-ins in Japan to adoptees re-migrating to South Korea; from forensic anthropologists uncovering bones in Guatemala to farm workers in California.


Fiction: Fiona Cheong holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Cornell University. She is an Associate Professor of English and the author of two novels, The Scent of the Gods, which was nominated for a National Book Award, and Shadow Theatre. Her shorter work is featured in Charlie Chan is Dead: An Anthology of Contemporary Asian American Literature and Tilting the Continent: Southeast Asian American Writing. She has received numerous grants for her teaching and writing, and is a co-founder of the Asian American Writers Forum at the University of Pittsburgh (as well as of its current manifestation, The Writers of Color Workshop). She is working on the final segment of her trilogy of novels set in Singapore, and on a book about teaching and writing.


Poetry: Ellen McGrath Smith teaches at the University of Pittsburgh and in the Carlow University Madwomen in the Attic program. Her writing has appeared in The American Poetry Review, Los Angeles Review, Quiddity, Cimarron, and other journals, and in several anthologies, including Beauty Is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability. Smith has been the recipient of an Orlando Prize, an Academy of American Poets award, a Rainmaker Award from Zone 3 magazine, and a 2007 Individual Artist grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Her second chapbook, Scatter, Feed, was published by Seven Kitchens Press in the fall of 2014, and her book, Nobody’s Jackknife, was published by West End Press in fall of 2015.