We accept poetry, prose and art submissions (including photography).
Submissions must not have been previously published – this does not include self-published works, personal blogs etc. If you are unsure about this, please contact us and we can advise you.
Submissions for The Mays 28 (2020) are now closed, submissions for The Mays 29 (2021) will open in January 2021.
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 educational institution of either university.
Typically, those putting their poetry/prose work forward for consideration may submit up to three pieces of work. Unless integral to the work, ‘British English’ spelling should be used. 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 and Photography 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. You also need to bear in mind the physical size of a full page in The Mays is 210mm height x 148mm width (not allowing for ‘white space’ around the edges) so for submissions containing text, such as 1-3 page “graphic novella” style submissions – your text must remain clear and legible within these physical constraints. If you wish to send larger file sizes than our email system allows, you must use exclusively use WeTransfer – a link to the free version can be found here: https://wetransfer.com/. Dropbox or other large file transfer systems are not acceptable and may result in your submission being rejected – WeTransfer best suits the consistent approach needed for the committee processes in place in to best consider your submission(s). Each image must be sent as seperate PNG or JPEG files – not for example as multiple images arranged on a PDF or in Word.
Please make sure you confirm your name, contact email and your College (or the name of your approved/recognised institution) along with your submission(s).
IMPORTANT NOTE: IF YOUR SUBMISSION(S) ARE ACCEPTED YOU MUST BE PREPARED TO SIGN AN EXCLUSIVE LICENCE GRANTING YOUR WORK(S) TO THE MAYS (VARSITY PUBLICATIONS LTD) FOR A PERIOD OF 5 YEARS. IF YOU ARE NOT PREPARED TO DO THIS, THEN PLEASE DO NOT SUBMIT MATERIAL FOR CONSIDERATION.
For general editorial enquiries please send any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For copyright, licencing and publishing/eligibilty related questions please email email@example.com
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.”