We accept poetry, prose and art submissions.
Submissions must not have been previously published – this does not include personal blogs etc. If you are unsure about this, please contact us and we can advise you.
Submissions for The Mays 28 (2020) will open late January 2020.
You must be a current student at the University of Cambridge or the University of Oxford or a current student/member of an approved/recognised institution of either university.
Typically, those putting their work forward work for consideration may submit up to three pieces of work. Unless integral to the work, British English spelling should be followed. Writing should be submitted as a Word document, with a file name that reflects the title of the work. Poetry should be no longer than 60 lines. Prose pieces should be no longer than 2,000 words.
Art submissions may be provided as a portfolio of up to five images in the best resolution possible (though do be aware, if accepted for publication you must be able to provide your image(s) at 300dpi resolution or better) and accompanied by up to 100 words (sent in a Word document) about your artistic practice.
Please send any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
ON WRITING FOR THE MAYS
By Eleanor Myerson (published in The Mays 26)
“It can be hard to find time to write as a student, given all the writing you have to do. It can feel difficult to give yourself time to write, just for the sake of it, when there is so much ‘work’ you have to do. It can feel arrogant to ‘write’ instead of ‘working’ on your essay, as if just because you’re in Oxford or Cambridge, you think you have a claim to the over-inflated names of authors which loom over the towns. But I don’t think you have to buy into the idea that authors are special, or that Oxbridge is unique, when you submit to the Mays. In fact, I’d recommend leaving those ideas at the (oak-panelled) door: taking the pressure off can be a way of giving yourself permission to continue to do an activity which, after all, a lot of people do every day. As a student you write plenty of emails and notes already (which don’t always properly get counted as ‘work’ either, compared to ‘serious’ essays). I don’t see why practically-minded writing has to be treated as separate to the writing you want to do alongside your course.
In the kitchen, sometimes you have to cook to live, and sometimes you have the time and space to cook to your taste and leisure. A lot of people find they feel a bit better if they cook from time to time, even if it’s in a microwave or on those plug-in electric hobs which are timed to turn off every ten minutes (like I had as an undergrad). In the bedroom/park/café/library or wherever it is that you like to write, it’s not so different either. Some days you have to write to live (if you’re trying to work through trauma); others your writing is categorized under what we bleakly call ‘life admin’. Keeping a mental health log, clearing out your email inbox, or taking an afternoon to finish off the draft of a story, have a lot in common.
And it can be nice to cook for yourself, private meals for one in front of the TV (realistically, laptop), but every so often it feels necessary to cook for other people. You find you want to make a recipe that’s not so much your taste, but which your friend will enjoy, and she’s had a bad day. Or you decide you want to cook an extravagant three-course meal from a new cookbook, and it’s easier to motivate yourself if you invite guests. I do plenty of writing which I never show to anyone, and a fair amount of writing (both academic and ‘creative’) which, for one reason or another, I decide I want people to read. It doesn’t have to feel difficult, writing or submitting to the Mays. It’s just an ordinary activity which you’re already doing, and which on this occasion, you’ve decided to share.”