The Shallot

The Shallot

The Layered Onion (TLO) proudly publishes The Shallot: Journal of Mental Health, Art, and Literature twice a year in partnership with the Dane County Food Collective (DCFC), supported by Dane Buy Local and a grant from Dane Arts. Available as part of artist membership or supporter tiers!

The Shallot is brought to you by The Layered Onion, Dane County Food Collective, Dane Arts, and Dane Buy Local.

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Submission Information

We are open for submissions. Our next submission period opens June 3, 2024, and runs until July 20, 2024.

How to Submit to The Shallot

  • How
    • On our submission page via Duosuma: here. It will open for submissions on the date listed above (as open calls go live).
    • The Shallot is open to artists with lived mental and emotional health experiences. Artists in all locations/countries are invited to apply.
  • What we publish
    • Submit a piece of work inspired by or related to this edition’s prompt.

Vol. 3, No. 2 – Prompt: “Divergent”

Your work for this issue should relate to the below prompt:


Two paths diverge in a yellow world; I am the one less traveled by, they say.

They’re the type of person who walks upside down on the ceiling, it makes sense to them and always has, never mind that it moves away from pesky traditional expectations. They sort paint chips alphabetically, then by color; they get dressed feet first; they love bearded dragons.

Neurodivergent. To think differently, with the brain trotting well-worn paths exclusive to the individual. More than a buzzword. A state of being; a state of risk; a state of safety.

Standing by the stove, they appear absent-minded, stirring a stockpot, its aroma swirling as it rises. They concoct their recipe backwards, starting with flavor or the sauce and somersaulting it back to an acceptable protein. This will be a fusion, unexpected and delicious, elevating the plate in an unexpected way. To some a gut punch, to some a handshake. They like a plate that does something interesting; unexpected.

Our mental health intersects with the various factors of our identity. Our differences make us strong and can bring us together, if we let them draw us into observation and conversation. We can share lived experience, neurodivergent and not, to render a more beautiful world.

For this edition, send us a work that diverges from the norm or is somehow divergent. It may represent neurodivergence, fusion, exploration, or something important or representative to you. Share your vision through writing, visual art, or creative recipes.

Submission Guidelines

  • Two visual and two written submissions per artist at this time for a maximum of four submissions. You can submit multiple pieces in the same entry.
    • Submissions can include:
      • Nonfiction
      • Fiction
      • Poetry
      • Drama
      • Experimental
      • Creative Recipes
      • Visual Art
        • Please provide high-resolution files for artwork. Images need to be at a minimum of 150 pixels per inch (PPI) at 5”x7” (though 356 PPI or higher is preferred). Lower resolutions WILL NOT be accepted.
        • Artwork should be photographed on a plain background so the focus stays on your piece. Submissions should be cropped to just the piece itself (not including artwork, table, etc., unless an intentional part of the composition). For artists photographing sculptures or other 3-D prints, we prefer simple, neutral, solid-colored backgrounds.
    • Written work should be no longer than 1000 words.
  • NO submission fees.
  • Bio
    • Always include a third-person author/artist/professional bio. The bio should be at least 1-2 sentences and up to 50 words. 450-500 characters maximum. More extended bios will not be accepted.
      • Note: There is a question for a more extended bio in this round of submissions. We may or may not continue this forward.
    • We will publish the bio, your pronouns, and links to your social media that you include.
    • We reserve the right to make grammatical changes while copyediting, but you will get to approve the final version.
  • Questions
    • Answer all required questions in the submission system.
    • You must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

Other Information on The Shallot

  • Rights
    • Writers and artists retain copyright, but The Layered Onion requests that you ask us before republishing your content. If it is republished, please ensure the second publication provides credit and links back to The Layered Onion, indicating that TLO was the first to publish.
  • Payment
    • Accepted artists will choose between an honorarium (currently $15) or an artist’s copy of the journal.
  • Sharing Your Work in The Shallot
    • Your work may be included in promotional material on TLO social media, always giving you credit. The Layered Onion collection may be sold in the TLO shop.

Council of Literary Magazines and Presses Contest Code of Ethics

The Shallot endorses and abides by the Code of Ethics developed by the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP):

The Community of Literary Magazines and Presses believes that ethical contests serve our shared goal: to connect writers and readers by publishing exceptional writing. Intent to act ethically, clarity of guidelines, and transparency of process form the foundation of an ethical contest. To that end, we agree:

  • to conduct our contests as ethically as possible and to address any unethical behavior on the part of our readers, judges, or editors;
  • to provide clear and specific contest guidelines—defining conflict of interest for all parties involved; and
  • to make the mechanics of our selection process available to the public.

Selection Process

Once the submission process has closed, our managing editor takes all of the submissions and organizes them for our volunteer reviewers. We do not use a blind submission process; our reasoning for this is in the below section. Each reviewer (up to 15 per review cycle) will make notes and comments and then vote yes or no for each submission. Some submissions may fall in between these, in those cases a reviewer will choose the closest choice and make note as to their decision for our submission review meeting.

At the submission review meeting, we’ll discuss all pieces that received the majority of yes votes and reconcile them to the amount of pages we have available to publish. We also will argue for any standout pieces that may not have received the votes a reviewer thought a piece deserved. Perhaps other reviewers did not understand the nuances or cultural notes that elevated a piece. This is where our review process stands out – we often discuss nearly every submission (or as many as we can) to ensure all artists and authors get due consideration.

Where we really love pieces, but they are not a fit for our journal for whatever reason (do not quite fit with the flow of the theme for themed issues, etc.), we may offer guest blog posts or other items to elevate author voices where we can.

Why We Do Not Use Blind Submissions + Other Ethical Notes

We do not use a blind submission process for the below reasons. Though blind submissions have traditionally been thought to level the playing field for disadvantaged writers and artists, as Joyce Chen points out in her insightful article on reconsidering blind submissions, it often reinforces the same barriers it strives to knock down and upholds the hierarchies of power that we are familiar with.

To quote Chen, “And how often do we discount work because it feels too “unpolished,” built around a solid core of a story but with a few loose ends that could benefit from the insightful feedback of an editor or even just an encouraging comment or two from a sharp-eyed colleague? Are we thinking about the hurdles that some writers face to even submit their work in the first place? Writers who haven’t had the opportunity to share their work with a supportive community, or to workshop a piece, or to go through several rounds of revisions, likely won’t present as polished an essay or poem as a more privileged writer. What could that essay or poem turn into with a little encouragement, a little editing—if only they get a shot?

In other words, without any context about the writer themselves, how can we fully understand the import or shortcomings of a piece? “

At The Shallot, we’re striving to create a supportive process, starting with curating reviewers from all backgrounds and walks of life. If a piece has potential, but could benefit from feedback, we’ll consider acceptance and offer suggestions as we can. Ultimately, it’s the author’s work and we respect that, and we are proud to publish pieces that are exploring what it means to write, to paint, to make.

As a unique publication geared towards an underserved population, we do allow our submission reviewers to enter. In order to create an ethical and clear process, we require any reviewers who would like to pursue this to speak with the managing editor prior to submitting so the editor can manage the submission through the process with care. The reviewer will need to submit their piece using a pseudonym and they may not vote for their own submission. If selected for publication, the piece will be published under the reviewer’s intended name. In our case, we believe this to be fair to our publication, submission, and readers due to our broad pool of submission reviewers, as we do not use one or several judges alone.

As stated above, we vow to conduct this contest as ethically as possible. If you have any concerns regarding this matter, either before, or after the winners have been announced, please contact us directly.

We can best be reached via email at contact @