Submission Guidelines

General Guidelines

We Do Not Accept Multiple Submissions:

Only one entry is allowed for this competition. Multiple submissions are not acceptable. Multiple entries, in either the same or in a different category, will automatically disqualify you.

We Do Not Accept Simultaneous Submissions:

Please make sure any work you submit to us is not being submitted to other publications.

We Only Accept Original Work:

Submissions cannot be previously published.

We Only Publish African Authors:

We define African not by the physical continent but by its descendants spread all over the Diaspora. As part of your submission, you will be asked to submit a 250-word bio, which should include information about how you self-identify.

Category Definitions

Submitted works do not need to adhere to a specific theme or topic. Just send your best work!

However, please ensure you are submitting your work in the appropriate category.


We’re open to any and all types of stories here! Any genre and style is welcomed from literary, romance, comedy, speculative, satire, children’s, and beyond. You can either submit a short story or you can submit excerpts of a longer work (if part of a longer work, please indicate that on the title page).


Nonfiction must be 100% based on fact, research, and/or interviews you’ve conducted. If there are any fictional elements to your writing, please submit under the fiction category. All types of nonfiction are welcome! We are open to creative non-fiction like personal essays, memoirs, or short biographies and to critical or analytical essays like historical, philosophical or economic writing.


You can submit up to three (3) poems, in whatever style, as long as the total word count is 8,000 or less. The three poems can be related in theme or they can all be completely different from each other. Again, just send us your best work!

File Format Guidelines

DO NOT include your name or contact information in the file name, header, footer, or title page of your submission. Should you include any identifying information, your submission will automatically be disqualified.

Any work that is submitted must be no longer than 8,000 words.

File Type:
The submitted work should be a .doc, .docx, or .rtf file. DO NOT submit PDF files.

File Name:
The file name should be the title of your piece. For poetry, if you’re submitting more than one poem, please title it the name of the first poem (you can add “and other poems” to the file name). DO NOT include your personal name or any identifying information in the file name.


Times New Roman or Calibri, 12pt-sized font.


For fiction and nonfiction: submission should be double-spaced; for poetry: submission should be single-spaced, unless unique spacing is deliberate for the poetic technique/style.

Text color

use only black. *exception would be in poems where the color is part of the technique.


Use standard 1” margin spacing

Page size

Use either Letter or A4 size


You may use American or British spelling.


Manuscripts must be predominantly written in English, however, we welcome the use of African words and language in your submission.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Does my story have to fall under a specific theme?

For the inaugural issue, Akuko will have no theme other than the fundamental theme of Akuko: “amplifying african history and culture on the continent and in the diaspora”. You are welcome to submit stories on any themes and issues, so long as they meet the definitions of what we have defined as an African story: putting African issues or African descendent characters and cultures at the fore.

What does the Akuko team mean when we say we’re looking for “African stories”?

Stories that explore African experiences on the continent or in the Diaspora. The piece would center Black characters, culture and experiences. Expressed differently, we might explain what an African story is by defining it by what it is not. It does not center the white or colonial gaze, white saviorism, or explicit or implicit white supremacy. It does not diminish blackness in its diverse glory, nor explain or make blackness palatable for an audience.

Can I submit a story that has already been published elsewhere?

Only stories that have not been previously published are eligible for prizes and publication in Akuko’s inaugural issue. However, if you have a previously published story you would like to share with us, you can submit it as part of our Featured Writers initiative.

I’ve written a children’s story; is it eligible for submission?

We believe that “a children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest.” Ultimately, we are looking to publish good writing, period. However, we do not accept illustrated stories as submissions. If your story can standalone without illustrations, we invite you to submit it for consideration for whichever category you think it fits best.

Is Akuko Magazine open to submissions from non-Black persons who identify as African? / Are non-white persons who identify as African eligbile to submit?

While the majority of Africans are Black, we recognize because of colonization and imperialism, other races and ethnic groups have also called Africa home for generations. We do not seek to exclude anyone who identifies as African from our publication. We simply ask that you check your story versus the kind of story we are looking for.

I am a person of African descent, but don’t primarily identify as African. Is my story eligible for consideration?

Yes! We feel that as long as you are valorizing a Black culture and people, no matter how closely you feel to your African roots, your story is African and we want to hear it.