1. General

  2. Subscriptions, sample copies, etc.

  3. Submission Information

  4. Current Issue

  5. Editorial PRELUDES

  6. Links


THE LONG STORY is the only literary magazine in America devoted strictly to long stories. We have a national and international circulation and publish stories of 8,000 - 20,000 words for serious, educated readers. Founded in 1982 and published once a year, The Long Story is an independent magazine both in its editorial policy and in its freedom from institutional backing. We prefer stories about common folks (as opposed to the rich and powerful) and in general look for a perspective on current society—one that demonstrates awareness that, for example, rock ’n’ roll is not the only music, that capitalism is not the only possible social arrangement, that self-glorification is not the only way to pursue happiness. Such distancing comes (though not exclusively) from knowledge gained through implicit knowledge of the Western humanistic tradition along with interest in the same themes that engaged the great writers of the past.



Subscriptions to The Long Story are $13 for two issues.
Single copies are $7; back issues are $6 each. Copies, like subscriptions, may be purchased directly from us (18 Eaton Street/Lawrence, Massachusetts 01843), or are available in bookstores around the country and in Canada, particularly in or around big cities and university towns. The Long Story is distributed by Ingram Periodicals. Sample copies of back issues in PDF format can also be purchased online for $5.49. This is especially convenient for foreign writers, but is available for anyone who wished to quickly procure a copy of the magazine. Here is the link:


Libraries. Subscriptions can be obtained through subscription agencies and book jobbers like EBSCO and Blackwell, or can be arranged directly with us. Institutional subscriptions are $14 for two issues and $25 for overseas airmail service.

Write to: The Long Story
18 Eaton Street
Lawrence, MA 01843

Queries: rpburnham@mac.com

ISSN 0741 - 4242



Stories of 8,000 to 20,000 words, with the best length 8,000 -12,000 words. Although eclectic and open to many styles and genres, we do have very specific tastes (and therefore recommend familiarity with the magazine), but in general we look for stories with a human and thematic core, i.e. stories that display vision where writers, instead of “writing about what you know” (as the writing programs emphasize) write about what they can imagine. Another quality we look for is elusive but extremely important: it can best be described as a sense of estrangement from the world at the same time involvement with it; it exhibits a certain recognition of the simultaneous smallness and greatness of humanity, demonstrates respect and compassion for all people and recognizes a peasant’s dream of owning a bicycle is as important to him as Napoleon’s dream of conquering Europe. This is a quality that only life can teach one; it cannot be learned in a writing program.


No multiple submissions.

no electronic submissions: please submit on paper.

Always include SASE (no reply without SASE, though we will hold a story for a year before discarding). We always reply within two months so that if you have not heard from us in that time, you have probably forgotten to included a self-addressed and stamped envelope.

No popular forms of fiction like detective, romance, suspense, adventure, etc.

No parts of novels: please note we are a journal devoted to long stories, a literary form with a beginning, middle, and end. Self-contained chapters of a novel that read like a short story are okay.

No unsolicited poetry or nonfiction prose.

Not likely to accept literary experimentation.

Simultaneous submissions: okay, though since we reply within two months it’s not necessary

For international submissions we strongly urge sending a disposable copy and one IRC sufficient to cover first-class postage (or airmail if overseas). The full manuscript and large envelopes generally cause all sorts of problems, most common being insufficient postage, which if that is the case the MS will not be returned.

We read all year round, though prefer no submissions in July and August

Note: no phone queries, please


CURRENT ISSUE (2014)                                published March 2014

In this issue…

“The Care and Feeding of Captive Bears” by Lucy Simpson: From their recent home in Arizona, Zara, the narrator, and her sister Margaret are bringing Broke, an aged, infirm bear and the last survivor of their father’s  private zoo (and also the last link to their past and its tragic end) to an animal sanctuary in Chattanooga. § In William Davey’s “Twelve Horsemen” two thieves in WWII Paris plan to rob a bar until they see the proprietor is a double amputee. Instead they listen to him tell the story of his grandfather’s revenge on Prussian hussars during the Franco-Prussian War, all of which ironically calls into question standards of right and wrong. § Landon Houle, “Orphaned Things,” is the story of Raymond, the son of an atheist snake handler left behind with his grandmother, and Knee, a girl at school who is also fatherless. Raymond has little faith in Jesus but faith his father will return for him. Both long for their lost fathers. § In G.D. McFetridge’s “Little Man” the eponymous character, Little Man, is a deer that first came to the narrator’s mountain cabin as a fawn. A unique story in that except for the narrator there are no other human beings in it, and the antagonist is a mountain lion. § John Wheatcroft, “The Prisoner’s Brother”: Davis Thornton, the Episcopal priest in a Pennsylvania town, reacts angrily when, while having drinks with friends from the church, his wife Nita casually mentions that she’s volunteered to board a visitor to the state prison in town for the night. His reaction to this news is decidedly unchristian and the behavior of the  back country hick proves to be a real test of his Christian duty. § In Bruce Douglas Reeves’ “Maggie in Love” the narrator’s grown daughter Maggie and her son live with him after her husband disappeared, but when she takes up art for a career and becomes involved with a handsome, Ayn Rand spouting egoistical male model,  she completely falls under  his control,  eventually even moving to Mexico and leaving her father to raise her son. § “The “Afterworld of Samuel Rossi” by Khan Ha is narrated  by a stillborn baby, but the story rings with truth and genuineness in every line as the narrator follows his father’s relationship with his Vietnamese language teacher. § Lee Oleson’s “Twenty-First Century City” has a protagonist, Stanley, who has never quite fit in, but when he comes up with the idea of renaming the city he wins a seat on the city council, only to get into trouble for his seeming support of the locked out workers at the local factory. § In Reneé Branum’s “The Lightning Left No Mark” Goose was always told that she was born when her mother was struck by lightning, but a neighboring older boy who has learning disabilities has a secret he’s not supposed to tell. § Poems by Jared Carter and Brian Backstrand round out the issue.



(each issue of the magazine begins with an essay on a literary topic. Here is a sample passage)

Virtually every day we all see in the media or meet in personal life certain types of people: the capitalist who specializes in swallowing up companies and in the name of efficiency firing half the workers, attempting to get rid of any unions and rolling back benefit packages of the remaining workers, all the while threatening them with the specter of foreign workers who toil for a dollar a day; the spurned lover who stalks and murders his former lover because if she cannot belong to him she cannot belong to another; the blustering right-winger who tells a panhandler to get a job and who blames the people in the ghetto for their poverty; the person at work who substitutes power manipulation for relationship, who backstabs and hides his or her self-regard under the guise of duty or the importance of the organization, telling a worker that she cannot attend to her dying mother or sick child until she gets her work done; the athlete who crashes into the sidelines, knocking over spectators and photographers but not bothering to apologize or check to see if anyone is hurt; the pundit on television who blandly discusses the U.S. economic embargo of Iraq in terms of power politics without mentioning that the embargo kills tens of thousands of Iraqi children, old and sick people every year.
What do all these people have in common? They all lack imagination. Being egocentric, solipsistic, self-involved, or whatever term one cares to use, they never think of other people, for other people with their individual needs and desires are not important, not real to them—hence the violation of Kantian ethics (the practical imperative, never to treat another human being as a means to an end but always as a end in him- or herself). They are evil too, for what is evil but this very violation of Kantian ethics? And yet since at its most fundamental level imagination is seeing what isn’t there, they are not totally unimaginative; it is only that they have a warped and perverted imagination that only serves their selfishness and greed. In a brilliant passage in Essay on the Principles of Human Action, the English Romantic writer William Hazlitt makes the connection between self-centeredness and the possibility of wider human sympathy and solidarity when he states that the only way to know the future is by a projection of the imagination. The same mental power, that is to say, that a greedy, selfish man uses to dream up his schemes for getting rich and gaining power is the same faculty of imagination that makes him capable of sympathetic identification with others. I could not love myself, Hazlitt concludes, if I were not capable of loving others.
We do not often see such thinking in modern-day America; instead we see glorified the capitalist who swallows up companies and the athlete who scores the touchdown at any price. The self-involved, unimaginative man, however, is like a black hole. His soul has shriveled into a tiny dense point that gives off no light and which distorts everyone who comes into contact with him. He is not to whom Hamlet was referring when he exclaimed, “What a piece of work is a man!” Capitalistic societies, as always innately hostile to any visions of oneness and solidarity, stimulate the imagination that everyone possesses in selfish ways, trying to make people not see the unity and oneness of humanity by deflecting this most human attribute into dreams of getting rich, having money and power, big cars and stuff, always stuff. It feeds not the spiritual hunger for peace and unity but the selfish, materialistic, grasping desire to have things so that (the ads make us hope) we will be loved and admired. As a result it produces in abundance dreadful, miserable excuses for human beings.
The polar opposite of the human being as black hole is the person with empathic imagination. He or she can see all people on their own terms, as beings imbued with personalities, histories, wants and desires, fears and phobias. Such imagination allows us to participate more fully in humanity, to experience life at a wider and deeper level. Imagination is also the most human attribute we have. Every other human characteristic is shared in some degree with our fellow mammals and other creatures, but the ability to imagine worlds that don’t exist in reality or to see life from another’s eyes is uniquely human. The fullest realization of our human nature, then, is found in those with the most imagination. Exercising it is liberating; it widens one’s view of the world so that one sees unity and similarity instead of atomistic individuals and hierarchies.
The fact that all human beings have imagination and are at least potentially capable of entering into the life of another person is what makes literature innately moral and ethical. One antidote to the sickeningly self-regarding culture that inundates us, then, is literature, or it should be. Literature opens minds, stimulates the empathic/sympathetic imagination by allowing readers to see the world through other eyes than their own. Just as a workout in a gym strengthens muscles, a workout with a poem or story strengthens the imagination. But the dominant literary movements of our day, modernism and postmodernism, perversely parallel capitalistic values in their ethos. Modernism has so distorted the cultural heritage of the west that it has made artistic duty nothing more than to exalt the self, and it does this at the expense of imagination, the one thing that all human beings have (and writers should have in abundance) that leads to human solidarity. The characteristic emphasis of modernism is to see the writer as special, as a being above the ordinary human realm. Even in works where this attitude is not explicit, the reader can still sense the repellent sense of superiority. The writer is regarded as one who is not subject to the same human duties and limitations as mere citizens, and disdain for bourgeois values widens into contempt for working people. Such writers, in short, ally themselves with capitalistic values and carefully observe hierarchies of worth. The only use for a poor bedraggled beggar is that he might make an aesthetically pleasing subject for a painting, but his presence in a poem by Pound or Eliot or in a Bloomsbury novel is only an occasion for superiority and contempt. With its emphasis on form and experimentation, its inspiration not from life but from other literary works, the spirit of modernism is essentially critical, not creative, not imaginative. There are of course exceptions where life wins out over theory (Joyce’s Ulysses being the best example, but even some of the passages in The Waste Land), but essentially modernism smells of the lamp. Instead of being an imaginative and creative response to life, its practitioners show in their works (Pound’s poetry, for example) that they are more interested in playing the role of a writer or a poet than in being a human being responding to the multitudinous wonder of the world and being a writer. Coming up with a new form is never imaginative unless the new form is the only way to express a new way of seeing the world such as Walt Whitman did in Leaves of Grass, but what insight does the long rant of the Cantos offer?

(from issue No. 20)


LINKS (within this site)

Cumulative Index

Long Story Photos

LS covers 1-31




The Wessex Collective

[progressive book publishing, including fiction by Long Story writers (as well as the editor)—

Brian Backstrand, R. P. Burnham, William  Davey, Paul Johnson, and Sandra Shwayder Sanchez]


    [William Davey, writer and poet]


    [Jared Carter, poet]


[Jared Carter blog]

Christopher Conlon website

     [Chris Conlon, fiction writer and poet]


    [Council of Literary Magazines and Presses


    [Reviews of Long Story 31, 27, 24, 23, and 22—some of the earlier reviews may now have been taken down]


    [Grumply Old Bookman blog-discusses the editorial preludes & LS 23]


information and reviews for small and independent presses


Cover is a photo of a work by William FitzPatrick, a Chicago sculptor whose pieces blur the line between sculpture and furniture. He eschews new

materials and mass production in favor of one-offs fabricated from salvaged materials. Created from the detritus of

the past, FitzPatrick’s pieces are new constructs, yet retain the history of the original objects from which they were