Submit to Year’s Best Weird Fiction

I am currently closed to submissions to Shadows & Tall Trees.


Thank you for your interest in Shadows & Tall Trees.

Shadows & Tall Trees is an annual trade-paperback and eBook anthology published in May.


Fiction Guidelines

It’s evident potential contributors are not reading the guidelines below, so here are some quick bullet points. Unfortunately, it’ll mostly read like a laundry list of things I don’t want, as most of the submissions I receive are inappropriate. But please read the full guidelines. I’ll know from your cover letter if you haven’t.

– I want literary horror, weird fiction, strange tales, à la Robert Aickman.
– Original, previously unpublished fiction only, please.
– Manuscripts should be no more than 7500-words
– Payment is a princely 1-cent-a-word to a maximum $50, plus 2 copies, for first English-Language rights
– No overly long and effusive cover letters. I don’t read them.
– Please do not summarize your short story.
– No multiple or simultaneous submissions. I shall respond fairly promptly.
– No familiar tropes. i.e. vampires, werewolves, and zombies.
– No science fiction, high fantasy, or poetry please

Full guidelines below.

I publish quiet, literary horror fiction. Fiction that is offbeat and eclectic; dark, bizarre and psychological. Stories both subtle and prosaic. Weird, strange tales. Ghost stories. Shadows & Tall Trees is a literary journal of the dark and fantastic, with mainstream sensibilities. I am seeking low-key, literary horror.

Several stories published in Shadows & Tall Trees have been selected for reprint in various “Best Of” anthologies, and I have published many notable authors, including Robert Shearman, Steve Rasnic Tem, Alison Moore, and Nina Allan, to name but a few. Peter Straub has declared it “A beautiful and courageous journal.”

I am looking for stories that share the same weird and strange sensibility experienced in the works of Robert Aickman, Laird Barron, Shirley Jackson, Vernon Lee, Thomas Ligotti, Daphne du Maurier, and Arthur Machen. Quite simply, if you are unfamiliar with the work of any of the aforementioned authors, especially Aickman, your work is unlikely to find a home here.

I am not interested in any of the familiar tropes of the genre, i.e., vampires, werewolves, and zombies, in any of their forms. Nor am I interested in urban fantasy, occult/paranormal detectives, or magick. I like my urban fiction gritty and real. The journal is not a home for fiction that conforms to the contemporary definitions of fantasy; mythic, mediaevalist, sword & sorcery, high fantasy, etc. No elves, dragons, or faeries.

Shadows & Tall Trees is not a venue for science fiction, or for poetry.

Authors that I enjoy include Robert Aickman, Charles Beaumont, Italo Calvino, Ramsey Campbell, Raymond Carver, Elizabeth Hand, Glen Hirshberg, Shirley Jackson, Kathe Koja, Thomas Ligotti, Haruki Murakami, Joyce Carol Oates, Flannery O’Connor, M. Rickert, Lisa Tuttle, to name a few.

Submissions are assumed to be original and previously unpublished. During reading periods I welcome submissions as an attachment (in Word or RTF format) via e-mail, in standard manuscript format, up to 7500 words. Please send submissions to undertowbooks (at)

Please do not query about reprints.

No simultaneous or multiple submissions, please. I shall endeavour to respond to submissions in a timely fashion. However, response times are likely to increase from the current 1 or 2 day turnaround time. If I like your submission, I may need to hold it for the duration of the reading period. I will, of course, send you a note should I want to hold the piece for further consideration.

Unsolicited manuscripts accepted for publication are paid at 1-cent-per-word to a maximum of $50. Contributors will also receive 2 copies of the journal.

Cover letters: I assume potential contributors have read the guidelines and are sending original submissions. There is no point in writing an overly long and effusive cover letter. Keep it short and simple. And please do not summarize your story!

Please use the contact form below for any queries.


Non-fiction Guidelines

I am actively seeking original essays, criticism, and interviews with notable genre writers, artists, editors, critics, etc. Creative non-fiction should not exceed 2,500 words. Please query if you have something longer that you think might fit.

Unsolicited manuscripts accepted for publication are paid at 1-cent-per-word to a maximum of $50. Contributors will also receive 2 copies of the journal.

Please use the e-mail address or the contact form below to get in touch.


I ask for First English-Language Rights, with a 6-month exclusivity, for as long as the book is in print.

-Michael Kelly, Editor/Publisher