The Amistad

Howard University's Literary Arts Journal


The Amistad is Howard University’s premier student-run literary arts journal. Our mission is to elevate the creative voices of the Black diaspora through poetry, fiction, interviews, and visual art. We strive to publish strong up-and-coming talent in conjunction with established writers in order to speak directly to the Black community. Under Howard’s banner, we are continuing the legacy of great alumni, e.g. Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston, Amiri Baraka, Lucille Clifton, and Paul Laurence Dunbar, by publishing unique work that push the boundaries of craft and theme.This means we pride ourselves on being open to all writers and artists that speak directly to our continuing mission. 

You can read recent issues of The Amistad here.


The Amistad is Howard University’s longest running undergraduate journal, publishing work that is distinct and artful. The journal adopted its name as homage to the 53 slaves taken from Sierra Leone to  Puerto Príncipe, Cuba aboard the La Amistad in 1839. The slaves revolted against their captors. 34 of the survivors earned freedom after a successful trial in New York. The Amistad is published to honor the collective effort of the slaves’ fight for liberation.

The journal, originally called Amistad, was created in the mid-1990s by a group of Howard students. It was conceived as a vehicle to publish on-campus voices. In the mid-2000s, Abdul Ali kept the journal running. Due to a constantly graduating staff, the journal ended. 2010 was the last published issue despite a call for submissions the next spring.

In the fall of 2018, faculty member Nick Seifert resurrected the journal. After recruiting a handful of talented volunteers, the work of rebuilding began. The new staff committed to the rebranded the journal permanently as The Amistad to mark the forward transition. That following spring semester, the staff published the first journal in eight years.

Today, the staff is composed entirely of Howard undergraduate students who earn academic credit for their work on The Amistad. The course helps students understand the process of publishing poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, and selected artistic works. The class also workshops their own creative pieces thereby gaining further insight into the work of writers, editors, designers, production/operational managers. It also solidifies The Amistad as an important component for undergraduate creative expression.

The Amistad continues to grow by showcasing budding literary talent alongside established writers. The staff looks forward to soldiering on and forging its future.​

Submit Your Work to The Amistad

The Amistad is seeking previously unpublished work that speaks to our mission statement. We encourage multiple submissions in different genres, and we are taking 12 pt, double-spaced and Times New Roman submissions of:

  • Poetry: 3-5 poems (no more than seven pages)
  • Fiction: 5,000 words, maximum 
  • Flash Fiction: 1000 words
  • Essays: 2000 words
  • Visual Art: All art is welcomed, but it must be submitted as a JPEG, PNG, or PDF, with a title and an intro. Please submit no more than 5 pieces.

In your subject line, please note the genre of your submission and your initials. If your work is accepted elsewhere (congratulations!), please let us know.

Our reading period is Early-November through Mid-January. All writers will be notified of their work by the end of March. 

Email: Nick Seifert with any questions or concerns

May Miller Creative Writing Award


May Miller devoted her life to writing and education and, at every turn, prioritized the value of Black lives and stories. Her life’s work speaks to the very heart of our literary arts journal. We are proud to honor May Miller’s legacy with an award catered to Howard University students.

The May Miller Creative Writing Award is open to current Howard University undergraduate, graduate, transfer, and former students as well as alumni. While there are no thematic criteria surrounding content, we are looking for work that speaks to the journal’s mission statement. Writers can submit two pieces of poetry, fiction, or creative non-fiction. One winner will receive $200 and will be published in the spring edition of The Amistad.

Each year, the contest is blindly judged by a prominent author. We’re thrilled Dr. Tony Medina, poet and professor of creative writing at Howard, will serve as our inaugural judge.

This contest is funded by the Howard University Office of the Dean, College of Arts and Science and sponsored by the Department of English.


- Writers can submit two (2) pieces of either poetry, fiction, or creative non-fiction

- Additional submissions will not be judged

- Each submission must be uploaded separately

- Current undergraduate and graduate students as well as transfer and non-graduates are welcome

- Open to all majors

- Proof of Howard affiliation may be required

- Contest is open from early November through the end of January