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I am often asked how you go about writing for New Mandala. As our long-time readers know — and some of you have been on the site almost every day since June 2006 — we showcase a wide range of approaches, interests and topics. New Mandala has thrived because of its broad inclusion of competing voices. Sometimes this confuses those who judge that we do, or should, push an ideological barrow.

Today we are announcing an open call for submissions. In the past we haven’t done this. Partly that’s because we’re too busy juggling responsibilities, including the need to keep the site fresh and interesting. Partly it’s also because the self-selection of New Mandala contributors has tended to work so very well.

But I am also aware that as the site has grown, become more well-known, and also been associated with major stories and developments, we perhaps don’t appear as accessible as we once did. I certainly hope that New Mandala isn’t considered intimidating but the rough-and-tumble of the 50,000 plus comments that we host may discourage some people from presenting their work for our consideration.

We are very keen to hear new voices and bring a new generation of anecdote, analysis and new perspectives about Southeast Asia to our large and growing audience. If that opportunity takes your fancy, you should consider what we are looking for.

New Mandala publishes original content in the following broad categories:

  • Opinion pieces.
  • Photo essays.
  • Field notes.
  • Research findings.
  • Reports on conferences, seminars, meetings or rallies.
  • Book reviews and announcements about new publications.
  • Conference announcements.
  • Outstanding, insightful or unusual images.
  • Links to interesting websites or other web resources.
  • Relevant satire/humour.
  • Translations.
  • Insider scoops/tips.

If you have are doing something along those lines, then please send prospective contributions straight to me at: [email protected].

It is also worth bearing in mind that contributions must be made according to the following requirements:

  • Provide the text in a Word document with minimal formatting. Foreign words should be in italics. Avoid superscripts. Long quotes should be indented with no quotation marks. Keep footnotes and citations to an absolute minimum.
  • Place a short byline at the end of the post. For example, “Reginald Smith is a journalist who has worked in Laos for 20 years.”
  • Submissions will be published under your own name unless you provide us with a nom-de-plume and a very good reason why a nom-de-plume should be used.
  • We will determine the post title and the extract that appears below the post on the front page. You are welcome to suggest both title and an extract.
  • Images should not be embedded in the text. They should be included as separate jpg files, with width of 450-500 pixels. (You can use the Windowns “snipping tool” or software such as PhotoRazor to resize your images.) File names should be Image1, Image2, Image3 etc. Place a note in your text to indicate the location of the image: “Place Image1 here”. If you want to have a caption for the image include the caption in the text: “Image 1: An elephant in Luang Phrabang”.
  • Even if your post does not have an image we will need a “feature image” for the front page. Try to provide us with a suitable iconic image that links to the post. Have a look at the feature images used for other posts for ideas.
  • If your post includes tables or graphs you will need to provide them in the form of jpg images. The easiest way to do this is to use the Windows snipping tool to creat an image of the table or graph. Table or graph images can be wider than 450 pixels if necessary.
  • Very carefully edit and proofread your post. We cannot make adjustments after your work is posted.
  • If English is your second language, try to get a native speaker to edit your post.

Within this framework we are very open-minded about the sorts of materials that will be most relevant for New Mandala in the months and years to come. Please do get in touch directly by e-mail if you have any questions about this open call for submissions.