Writers and Their Pets

The “Writers and Their Pets” series began with Editor-in-Chief Ladette Randolph’s own celebration of her dog Sally, and since then she has also invited other writers to share with the rest of us the details of their lives with beloved pets. Now, the series is also open to unsolicited submissions.


Entrants must have at least one prior publication in a print or online literary journal. Please submit a picture of you and your pet together, and up to 500 words explaining how you came to have him/her, your relationship with him/her, or a favorite story about him/her. We’re particularly interested in submissions that discuss how your pet affects (or affected) your writing life, and submissions that discuss rare or unusual pets—but these are not strict requirements.

Submissions will be accepted on a rolling basis, and will be considered for publication in the month after they are received (so if you submit June 1-30, you will be considered for publication in July). In some cases, if we receive a great submission that we want to publish, but can’t find room for it, we may publish it in the following month.

We ask that you not resubmit the same essay more than once, and not submit more than one essay a month. However, you are welcome to submit different essays in subsequent months.


The authors of published entries will receive a one-year subscription to Ploughshares literary journal and a surprise in the mail. The perks of being a subscriber include free online submissions.

Entry Info

Please email your previously unpublished essay of no more than 500 words to blog@pshares.org with the subject line: “Writers and Their Pets.” Include in the email your name, your mailing address, a professional-looking color headshot, at least 600×600 pixels, your Twitter handle (if you have one), and details of your prior publication(s).

Essays selected for publication will be published on Wednesdays. Submitters will not be notified if their essay is published, so check back every week to see if yours is next! By submitting your piece to the series you are giving Ploughshares permission to post it on the Ploughshares blog indefinitely, and to edit it for length or content. Copyright remains the property of the author. We ask that you not re-publish the piece within 6 months of publication on our blog.

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