Introducing Our 2024 Editorial Themes

By February 27, 2024

Burnaway is excited to announce our 2024 editorial themes. We invite proposals for long-form essays, features, interviews, and artist projects tied to three themes that will organize the magazine’s publishing activities throughout the year.

Knock Knock is about introductions, jokes, and local activism. It is going door to door and meeting face to face. Whether addressing political canvassing in this election year or trick-or-treating, the theme questions: what does it mean to be neighborly in the South? What do we owe one another? Employing matter-of-fact revelations or grappling with complex truths, Knock Knock speaks to proximity and presence. It is relational, even familial, in application. It also includes actual entrances, artistic thresholds, as well as metaphorical doors opening—and sometimes—slamming shut. Knock Knock is art that addresses architecture, “hitting the pavement,” and cul-de-sacs. It is an opportunity offered and (maybe) revoked. Who’s there?

Crush traverses desire in all its overwhelming iterations, from interpersonal romance to enthusiasm for a certain artist/artwork, and as well as other cringe-worthy scenarios in this contemporary age. It also encapsulates the physical act of “crushing” and aesthetics that reflect a reactive quality, or materials and forms that show the artist’s hand. Crush examines the visual intensity found in “maximalist art” i.e. large-scale installations, layered and interdisciplinary compositions, enthusiastic gestures, and piling on of all kinds. It is the accumulative nature of some Southern homes as well as artists that collect and employ found objects, like Thornton Dial. Think also about reverence, retrospectives, what it means to pay homage, pen odes, and perform acts of service. Be too much. Get too close.

Twang considers the spoken and heard vernacular in the American South and ways in which we communicate across the Region. Yes, it is accents and pronunciations, but it is also an auditory marker and a trace of place. Twang is hyperlocal lingo and addresses region-specific, city-specific, even house-specific vocabulary. It is a Southern export, a diasporic carrier. It is also reverb, echo, and slowness, which can be observed through the timbre of a musical instrument like a banjo, or André 3000’s New Blue Sun. The theme troubles cultural assumptions and provides intrigue for writing and art that addresses projected or mistaken identities. Twang signals “you are/aren’t from around here,” but also, “we are not in a hurry to get there.”

Submissions for Knock Knock, Crush, and Twang will be reviewed through April 12, 2024. 


To read more about pitching to Burnaway, please review our pitch page.

To submit, please send a brief proposal by email to [email protected].

Proposals should be for long-form essays, interviews, experimental art criticism, visual projects, or other ambitious forms of writing about art. Proposals should include two samples of previous writing.

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