Borne of the idea that strong, condensed nonfiction can resurrect the dead, salvage the past and, perhaps most importantly, quell the existential unease of nostalgia, Defunct was founded in the dead of an Iowa City winter in 2009 in the back-booth of The Mill. Since then, we’ve published five fantastic issues that feature the work of Joe Wenderoth, Ander Monson, David Shields, Lia Purpura, Roxane Gay, Joe Bonomo, Dinty W. Moore, Elizabeth Kadetsky, Chris Offutt and many more. We’ve also been listed as publishing one of the 100 Best Pieces of Journalism by the Atlantic (for Ander Monson's 2011 essay, “Long Live The Jart”), and we’ve held readings, book fairs and events at the annual AWP Conference in Boston, Washington D.C., and Chicago, as well as the NonfictioNow Conference in both Iowa City and Melbourne, Australia. All issues, including archives, are available exclusively online, and new issues are released every spring and fall.
We seek essays in all of their forms: literary, radio, video, graphic, so on, so on. If you’ve got it, we want it.
We seek strong, highly concise writing and ask that all pieces have a word count of no more than 1,000 words. Please do not send a second submission until you have heard back on the first.
We feature one visual artist per issue, and seek to vary media from issue to issue. We have an affection for archaic, obscure, and historical processes. We appreciate themes of the lost, the bygone, and the no more. Critical reconstructions, recreations, and old source material reinterpreted—all of these are welcome here. Sometimes artists create new work for each essay, and sometimes we curate from an existing body of work.
Submissions are accepted online only at our Submishmash site.