Anyone wishing to submit a short story to Horla should read the notes  below, particularly with regard to formatting – 

We accept both flash fiction and longer stories.

We consider flash fiction to be up to 1,000 words. Submissions of flash stories should be indicated ‘flash fiction’ at the top of the piece and in your submission email.

Longer stories should be 1,000 to 4,000 words maximum.

Please edit carefully before submitting. A well-presented piece stands a greater chance of publication. 

We are not interested in stories that contain extensive, graphically-depicted violence or  (though we make exceptions from time to time in the case of particular treatments that catch our eye) stories that have (in the main) period settings. Flesh-eating tends not to turn us on, but we’re fairly welcoming to vampires, as long as they are of the non-fluffy kind. Our particular interest is liminality – that borderland where the real and possibly real meet and interact.

Wherever possible, stories that come to us should in some way connect with the contemporary world / life. 

A good story as far as we are concerned is one that follows a captivating course and has fine writing in terms of its language and imagery.

Some writers we like and who we regard in some respects to be relevant to our genre include: Algernon Blackwood, Ray Bradbury,  John Buchan, Susan Hill, J.S. Le Fanu, Walter de la Mare, Guy de Maupassant, Daphne du Maurier, Nikolai Gogol, Henry James, M.R. James, Stephen King, Rudyard Kipling, Glyn Jones, Arthur Machen, Flannery O’Connor, E.A. Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson, Bram Stoker, H.G. Wells.

Some authors we like generally: Martin Amis, Jane Austen, Mikhail Bulgakov, Anthony Burgess, Raymond Carver, Raymond Chandler, Anton Chekhov, Italo Calvino, John Cheever, Charles Dickens, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John  Fowles, Mavis Gallant, William Golding, Stephen Gregory, Graham Greene, Thomas Hardy, L.P. Hartley, Ernest Hemingway, Elmore Leonard, Ross Macdonald, Ian McEwan, Thomas Mann, Katherine Mansfield, Alice Munro, Vladimir Nabokov, George Orwell, Annie Proulx, W.G. Sebald, Tolstoy, William Trevor, Mikhail Zoshchenko.

Neither list is exhaustive.

Important: When submitting a story, please try to use the William Shunn format. If you do not know what that is you can find out about it here:

Always use Times New Roman font, 12 pt.

Please be sure to begin your paragraphs adjacent to the margin i.e. do not indent them.

We advise against long paragraphs since these can sometimes prove a little difficult to read on a screen.

When submitting, it’s worth including a biography of up to 100 words mentioning things like previous publications (if applicable), education, occupation, where you live (a city, county or region is fine), current and future projects, etc. If we decide to publish your story we’re also likely to ask for a photograph. Therefore you may wish to send one with your submission. If you have a blog we may be able to include a link to that. So it’s worth mentioning that to us also.

While we like to have a rapport with readers and writers we aren’t always able to enter into personal correspondence. On occasions our decision to decline a piece will come in a message that is polite but to the point. Don’t be disheartened. That will only be our opinion. The same piece could end up getting published elsewhere. 

We’re a small organisation. So please give us time to consider your piece before querying. At times we may need 10-12 weeks. In general, we’re much quicker and you’re likely to hear from us, one or way the other, within a few weeks.

We don’t mind simultaneous submissions i.e. a piece that you’re also sending to someone else. But we ask that you let us know if someone else decides they want to publish.

We advise against sending us multiple pieces at the same time. Just send us your best piece.

The piece should not have been published previously in print or online. We will make an exception to this in the case of stories that have been published previously in a language other than English.

Spelling – Please note that we prefer spelling to be in British English rather than American English. No offence to our friends in America. It’s simply that we’re a British-edited site.

Horla will reserve the right to publish accepted work subsequently in formats we own or are party to, such as special editions, collections and similar.

By making a submission to us the person doing so implies they have the legal right to do so and that the work is legitimately the creation of the given author. In doing so, the submitting party indemnifies Horla.

IMPORTANT – No submissions of material in PDF format. Only Word documents, please. 

Finally, we make clear that while we ask senders to be realistic in their own minds about the quality of the piece they are contemplating submitting]  we consider submissions from people of all backgrounds, whether published previously or not.

This site is not intended to be the exclusive preserve of people who are in or have been through a university creative writing programme.  In our view, one of the most useful qualifications for being a writer is to have lived a bit (or even a lot).


Please send your submission to

Note that with the exception of ‘news’, material should not have been published previously (either online or in print), meaning publication will be first to Horla. Exceptions may be made in the case of material whose publication in Horla would constitute first publication in English.