Ink & Letters Issue 5 // Theme: In Black & White


The phrase in black and white calls to mind a bygone age: silent film, colorless TV, the timeworn photographs that surface after an ancestor’s passing. As they relate to light and color, black and white are opposites; placed side by side, then, they create lines of sharp contrast. That’s why we say a moral or legal issue is “black and white” when we mean the boundaries between right and wrong, or legal and illegal, are clearly demarcated. Of course the words black and white also operate as racial markers, terms that classify and divide and inevitably bear the residue of America’s history of racial injustice. 

But all these usages can obscure more than they reveal. We perceive an object as black when it absorbs all colors of the light spectrum, as white when it reflects them all. In the context of TV or film or photography, “black and white” actually refers to a panoply of grays, gradations of shading too subtle and numerous to separate. Our most perplexing moral and legal questions likewise exist in shades of gray. And racial and ethnic identity in America are seldom as simple as “black” or “white”—witness the growing numbers of Americans who check more than one box on the relevant US Census question. The contrast is not as sharp as has been historically represented, our selves a blur of grays as various as any black and white photograph.

For Issue 5 of Ink & Letters, we invite artists and writers to engage with the theme “In Black & White.” The submission deadline for this issue is Friday, February 10; see below for guidelines. We welcome approaches to the theme as broad and varied as possible from a range of contributors as diverse as possible. And as you might have guessed by now, the issue will be printed in black and white. 

—Brent Newsom, Letters Editor

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Guidelines for artists:

Ink & Letters publishes works in a variety of media—photography, drawing, painting, printmaking, mixed media, photographs of sculpture and installations, as well as graphic design pieces. Please submit hi-res graphics files (300 ppi) in the form of JPG or PDF. For full-bleed pages, please submit for a printable area of 8.5w x 11h for a single page and 11h x 17h for a two-page spread (don't forget to include an 1/8th inch bleed). Please include (where applicable) title, medium and dimensions. Though it's not a requirement, artists are encouraged to submit a rationale statement along with the work. Please include a biographical note of 75 words or less in the body of your e-mail.

Guidelines for writers:

Ink & Letters publishes works of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. We encourage unsolicited submissions and give each submission careful consideration. Submissions of writing should be sent as e-mail attachments in .docx or .rtf format to Poets may submit up to five poems in a single document, not to exceed ten pages. Prose writers may submit only one piece at a time, not to exceed 3000 words. We are highly interested in shorter prose forms—flash fiction, micro memoir, lyric essays, hybrid forms, etc.—and up to three of these may be submitted in a single document. We welcome simultaneous submissions but ask that you e-mail us to withdraw a piece if it is accepted elsewhere. Our typical response time is within four weeks but sometimes longer, especially for work that advances to the final stages of our decision-making process; please do not query before three months have passed. Please include a biographical note of 75 words or less in the body of your e-mail.

As a curated journal of art, creativity and Christian faith, each issue of Ink & Letters is informed by the intersection of these concerns. Not all of our contributors identify as Christian, however, and we welcome submissions from writers across the spectrum of Christian traditions and beyond.