Iris 1.3: Change

Iris 3: Change is here!

We are excited to announce that the third issue of Iris: New Writing for LGBTQ+ Young Adults is now available for download! Inside our third issue, themed "change," you'll find characters to inspire you and writing that celebrates who you are. The magazine is completely free to download and share, thanks to the generosity of our wonderful contributors. Click the cover to the left to download!

It's absolutely impossible for us to call out favorites from this issue, so instead, we'll focus on the issue's "firsts." This issue contains the inaugural essay in our "first person" series, which features creative nonfiction from a young writer. You'll find Jack O'Brien's piece "I Should I Would I Could" at the start of this issue. This is also the first issue to feature a comic - be on the lookout for Sofia Carbonara's "A Brief History of the American Queer."

Thanks as always to our exceptional team, who so generously give of their time and talent: Marylou Mao, our illustrator and cover artist; Elis Lui, poetry editor; Jay Dresden, fiction editor; and Maria Civitello and Julie Ann Pope, staff readers.

We hope you enjoy the issue! We can't wait to hear what you think.


Amanda, Bex, and team Iris

Inside Iris: Fiction

This month, as the editorial team behind each issue of Iris prepares our latest edition, we thought we’d take you behind the scenes with us to learn a little more about how Iris is produced. Today, we’re going to focus on fiction, and will take a look at poetry and illustration in subsequent weeks.

Iris actually began as Iris: New Fiction, when we initially thought that prose would be our major focus. (That changed pretty quickly!) After all, the lack of novel-length YA lit was what prompted us to found Iris in the first place. I had been asked to review one of the few LGBTQ novels written for the YA market and found it lacking in many ways. With a background in publishing (and education), we thought we could do better by seeking out the exception voices in LGBTQ YA that we knew were out there but just weren’t being heard.

We are so proud of the fiction that has found a home within the pages of Iris. We’ve been honored to feature award-winning writers of prose and to be the place of first publication for several writers. (There’s little that’s as exciting – at least for me! – as receiving an email from an accepted author who’s thrilled to have their first byline.) We’ve published college professors and college students in the same issue, and there’s a reason for that. Iris is committed to telling good stories, first and foremost, and we love that it represents the wonderful diversity in our community.

So, what is team Iris – including our Fiction Editor, college English professor Jay Dresden – looking for in our fiction submissions? We are looking for compelling, robust, engaging stories that are creative in their approach to our theme. We want to publish writing that illuminates what it is to grow up LGBTQ – the triumphs, the challenges, and the joy that we seek to foster in the community. In short, we believe in stories that are not only worth telling, but worth being read by young people who are not just the future of this movement, but a vital component of it today – and because of that, we know you’ll like what’s waiting in the third issue of Iris.

New Submissions Manager!

As our reading period gets underway, we wanted to take the opportunity to explain our new submissions procedures! As always, you can find our  full guidelines for submission here.

Submitting to Iris is easy! Just send an email to with your submission as an attachment. Please do not use this email address for anything other than submitting your work. We will simply not see your email in a timely manner. Because the script is automated, we check in on a weekly basis, but that's it. All questions regarding submissions should still be directed to

It is really important that your submission be sent as an attachment. And because we read submissions blind, we ask that you include only the title in the attachment itself. Please don't include your name or bio in the attachment! That goes in the email text. Please use the this cover letter as the text of your email.

And that's it! We can't wait to read your work!