Origins of Slush Pile Magazine:


Slush Pile Magazine is, arguably, the love child of Literary and Modern Culture, raised by Harvard Review. I say “love child” because Literary and Modern Culture have never had more than a fleeting affair, to the best of my knowledge, and they certainly never set out to start a family. Also Harvard Review does not usually take in orphans. But bear with me.

It all began when M.R. Branwen washed up on the steps of Harvard Review with her tattoos and bangs and earbuds, blasting The Smiths. M.R. Branwen, a long time fan of the classic English canon of fiction, developed a fast and furious affinity for Harvard Review‘s slushpile of short fiction, and it was not long before she had her hands on just about every manuscript that was posted over. She just couldn’t read enough.

Finally she determined that she should make her own place for the new lit in her life. And it should be called—wait for it—Slush Pile! She mentioned this idea to Matthew Hotham, then managing editor of Harvard Review, who zealously offered to be involved. Poof! A Poetry Editor. She mentioned this idea to her very talented artist friend Sara Petras, and Poof! an Art Editor. With these two important persons in place, she began thinking of what else her journal should contain and decided it should be representative of her varied interests. Literature, Poetry and Art, yes, but also Music, Humor and an element of surprise.

Having established the content, she thought to recruit other contributors, and immediately set after David Thorpe, her favorite former columnist of “The Burn Unit” in Boston’s Weekly Dig, and current columnist of “The Big Hurt” in The Boston Phoenix. Poof! a merciless and hysterical Music Reviewer.

Then she set about finding her brilliant posse a home. Being a child of the web-revolution, the internet seemed a good place. So, she enlisted two very talented Canadians (eh?) at Sip Marketing to build her a beautiful working website for the love of art, and pennies.

And Voila! Slush Pile Magazine.


Evolution of Slush Pile:

After a year of blood, sweat, and tears, most of the good folks who helped launch Slush Pile Magazine were lost to the demands of their real lives.  Matthew Hotham was eaten alive by North Carolina; David Thorpe was coaxed away by the allure of more prestigious (or, at least, paid) writing gigs and the good Canadians at Sip Marketing may have actually died.

M.R. Branwen thought of putting Slush Pile on hiatus, weary as she was of manning the ship with her two small hands.  But, compelled by the ever-increasing influx of good fiction, and encouraged by her last remaining sidekick, Sara Petras, she decided instead to strip Slush Pile down to its essentials:  Short Fiction and Art.

The new third musketeer is Fitzroy Robertson, who helps out with website glitches because he is kind hearted (and because M.R. Branwen periodically cooks him vegetarian dinners).

And there you have it: the Laverigne and Shirley and Fitzroy of online publishing, keeping the dream alive.


Slush Pile Magazine owes a huge debt of gratitude to Christina Thompson, Editor of Harvard Review, for her ceaseless encouragement and wisdom.


Submission Guidelines:

Slush Pile Magazine gladly accepts unsolicited submissions of short fiction and will consider essays & poetry via Submittable:




(If the link is not working, here’s that url: Please include a brief cover letter, citing recent publications, relevant degrees and awards. Please make sure the author’s name and contact information is clearly indicated on the submission itself.

Please limit your submission to no more than 7,000 words. Simultaneous submissions are fine, but please let us know if the work has been accepted elsewhere.

To contact M.R. Branwen, ask questions, or comment about anything Slush Pile related, please direct correspondences to:

slushpilemag [at]


Who we are:

M.R. Branwen, Editor, received her ALB from Harvard University Extension School in 2008 with a focus on Classic English Literature and Latin, and is currently the senior reader (of unsolicited fiction) at Harvard Review. Her interest in reading, which is strongly rooted in the English Canon, is only symptomatic of her larger obsession with the English language, and of languages in general, of which she also speaks French and Italian fluently. Her poems have appeared (somewhat recently) in Metazen and (less recently) elsewhere. By all means look her up on Facebook: FB/onesmartnut & FB/slushpilemag.


Sara Petras, Art Editor, received her MFA from the Massachusetts College of Art, Post-Bacc from Brandeis University and BA from University of New Hampshire with a focus in Painting. Her particular interest in Contemporary Art clarified during her tenure as Gallery Manager at Allston Skirt Gallery, Boston. She is the recipient of a George Nick Foundation award for Painting and an Artist Residency Grant from the Helene Wurlitzer Fountation of Taos, NM. Her work reflects her obsession with color theory and love of formal composition.


Fitzroy Robertson, Glitch Eliminator



Molly Waite, Copy Editor, earned her B.A. in Creative Writing with a minor in English Language and Literature at Grand Valley State University. She doesn’t like the term Grammar Nazi, which brings to mind fenced-in parts of speech, barbed wire punctuation, and a narrow-minded and narrow-mustached man with a red pen. She believes that language is meant to be played with, as Stephen Fry puts it, for the sheer “sound-sex” of it.


Heather Bulliss, Copy Editor, is a recent graduate of Grand Valley State University with her BA in English and Writing. It should be no surprise, then, that the vast majority of her free time is spent between pages–those already filled with words, those waiting to be filled with her own. Heather can also often be found covered in the glue and glitter of various projects or with–Michigan weather permitting–dirt under her fingernails, grass between her toes, and sun specks on her skin from her latest outdoor adventures. She likes wearing her hair long. Like a mermaid. Or Princess Leia. She is also an avid fan of hats.


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