Soundings East, the literary journal of Salem State University, is published annually with support from the Center  for Creative and Performing Arts. Founded in 1973, the journal is among the oldest in the country to publish quality poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. The magazine is edited  by upper-level creative writing students under the aegis of an Advisory Editor  from the writing faculty. 

We accept simultaneous submissions but ask that authors label them as such, and contact us immediately if they are accepted elsewhere. Our reading period is September 1 to February 15; we'll do our best to respond within three months. Contributors will receive two copies of Soundings East Vol. 41. Upon publication, all rights revert to authors.



Check out the Veterans' 10 Minute Playwrighting Contest, co-sponsered by the Salem State University Theater and Speech Communications Department, Center for Creative and Performing Arts and Veterans Affairs


Designated a Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs, a Top College and University by Military Advanced Education, and a Best for Vets College by Military Times, Salem State values our military connected students and their families and the sacrifices they have made for our country. Salem State is committed to supporting veterans’ voices on and off campus.  The arts create unique and powerful opportunities for individuals and groups to share experiences and constructive dialogue. As such, Salem State is proud to announce its first Veterans Playwriting contest which will culminate in staged readings of selected plays in March 2019.  

The theme of the play should directly touch on military service and/or how military service affects a community. All playwrights, regardless of military affiliation, are invited to enter Salem State University’s inaugural 10-Minute Playwriting Contest. However, preference will be given to those with a direct military connection. This includes: active-duty military, reservists, National Guard, veterans, and direct family of any of these. The theme of the play should directly touch on military service and/or how military service affects a community.

Judges will select eight to twelve finalists from entries received by the October 1, 2018 deadline. A staged reading by experienced actors of the selected finalists’ plays will take place March 1 – 3, 2019 at Salem State’s Callan Studio Theatre. 

Important Dates

October 1, 2018 - Entry deadline

November 1, 2018 - Notification of finalists.  8 to 12 playwrights will be selected as finalists for staged readings of their plays to be produced  by Salem State University.

March 1, 2, and 3, 2019 - Staged readings with post-performance discussions (Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sunday at 2 pm), Callan Studio Theatre, Salem State University


Plays showing distinction in the following categories will be recognized and honored among overall finalists: Style/Tone, Dialogue, and Theme.  

Contest Rules

  • Only submissions through Submittable will be considered.
  • One submission per playwright.
  • Entry fee of $10. If you withdraw your submission this fee will not be refunded. If you withdraw and resubmit another $10 entry fee will be required. 
  • All plays are judged blind. Do not include any personal, identifying information anywhere on your submission. 
  • Only original plays, not-yet produced or published, are eligible.
  • Musicals and adaptations are not eligible. 
  • Simultaneous submissions are allowed. If your play is accepted elsewhere, please let us know immediately. If your play is chosen to be performed in March 2019, you agree to withdraw your play from all other places where it is under consideration. 
  •  By submitting, you agree to allow Salem State University to produce the first staged reading of your play.  
  • Scripts meeting the rules and submitted by the deadline will be reviewed by judges.
  • Judging will be done by SSU theatre faculty and members of the SSU veterans’ community.

Judging Criteria



  • Plot seems fresh, intriguing and original 
  • Something happens; sufficient conflict and tension throughout the play
  • Plot is active, vital and dramatic on stage  
  • Story moves along; pace is engaging


  • Strong, interesting writing style
  • Clear viewpoint that’s well integrated into the play  


  • Interesting and compelling characters
  • Characters seem credible and real       
  • Main character evolves or develops through the course of the play  


  • Dialogue suits the characters
  • Dialogue sounds natural and credible for the plot and location
  • Each character has own unique voice
  • Dialogue seems fresh and compelling  (not dull, boring, or generic)  


  • The play can be staged in a black box theatre with limited set, sound, and design.

Overall effect

  • Play is transformative and memorable      

Submitting Your Work

The script must be in standard playwriting format with 12-point Courier font. Use double spacing when changing from one character to another. Use single spacing everywhere else. If you are unfamiliar with standard playwriting format, please check out this example

Questions: email

Salem State University Soundings East