The Bitter Southerner
Who We Are
The Bitter Southerner covers the U.S. South from a modern perspective. Our goal is to tell surprising untold stories about people and places in the Southern United States. The Bitter Southerner is committed to amplifying a multitude of voices that make up the past, present, and future of the South.
What We Publish
Currently, The Bitter Southerner publishes stories online, but we are looking forward to expanding the ways in which we tell stories in 2022. Send us your stories in whatever form of media you are working. We want to see your written story pitches but would also love to hear about your photo essays, audio projects, documentaries, and more.
Our features typically range from 2,500 to 5,000 words. These are our deeply reported stories with a strong narrative arc. Recent features include an in-depth look at how artists in Charleston are responding to Climate Change, the cultural and historical importance of peaches, a Japanese internment camp in Louisiana, and a photo essay documenting the people who carry on old and new Appalachian traditions.
In your cover letter, tell us what you want to write and why you are the one to write it. If you haven’t written for us before, please send either a full draft or an in-depth, 350-word pitch outlining your approach to the story. Please also include links to your previously published writing.
We also consider personal essays, reviews, profiles, or opinion pieces. Recent pieces include a reflection on finding solace after Hurricane Katrina and a personal essay about how an interview with Dolly Parton helped one writer embrace his queerness. These stories range from 1,000 to 3,000 words. Please submit a complete essay for consideration.
Submission Guidelines and Other Frequently Asked Questions
- Every story we publish reflects its author's perspective or experience with the U.S. South — even if that perspective is from afar.
- In your subject line, please communicate what is unique about your story.
- Due to the high volume of pitches we receive, please allow up to 60 days for us to read your pitch. If you don’t hear back within 3 months, that means we won’t be able to publish your work.
- We are a general audience publication, please do not send academic essays.
- Few stories in The Bitter Southerner are "timely" in the way newspaper stories are. But sometimes, we publish pieces in response to current events. If you believe your story is time-sensitive — either as a response to a recent event or if it is linked to an upcoming event or milestone — write "TIME SENSITIVE" in the subject line. Keep in mind that we usually plan several months in advance.
- Payment is $500 for feature writing and feature photography, $250 for personal essays and perspectives pieces.
If you're pitching a written story, we prefer full drafts or pitches in the neighborhood of 350 words. Please ensure your pitch tells the editors:
- What your story is about and why The Bitter Southerner's audience would read it.
- Why do we need this story now?
- What makes you the one to tell this story?
- Please provide links to your website or previously published writing if you have them.