Call for submissions

“The world is going through a period of crisis, but whether we look at it as a crisis or as an opportunity to reshape our thinking, depends on us. So use this period as a lesson on how to live life with a concern for all of humankind.”

― Abhijit Naskar, author and neuroscientist 

Welcome to Trolley, the online journal of the NYS Writers Institute.

We hope this coronavirus pandemic is our once-in-a-lifetime event. Let’s share our words and art as a time capsule of sorts.  


For the fifth edition of our Trolley journal, we are seeking submissions from writers, poets, photographers, and artists to share creative expressions produced during this time of uncertainty.

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 A web magazine of essay, opinion, literature, culture, and politics, published by the New York State Writers Institute based at the University at Albany.

- Editor: Paul Grondahl

- Executive Editor: William Kennedy

- Managing Editor: Michael Huber

- Contributing Editors: Cassie Andrusz Ho-Ching and Edward Schwarzschild

From the archives

Photo by Florida Times-Union

Trolley began with an idea from Writers Institute founder and author William Kennedy, who envisioned an online literary journal published free of charge, with submissions from the community, in which each issue's words and images related to a single theme.

We are living through an unprecedented and transformative moment, with many lessons to learn, teach and share. The daily course of our life during COVID-19 has been transformed on a micro and macro level. "Stay at home" and "social distancing" became part of our vernacular. Broadway has closed, bookstores have shuttered, and students and teachers left classrooms for "distance learning" via laptop. 

For the next edition of Trolley, we want to hear from you. How have this pandemic dramatic affected your reading and writing? 

What thoughts and experiences might you share? Some ideas:

•    What do you feel, hear, see or say in your day to day life in a time of pandemic?
•    How social distancing changed you?
•    Write a review of a book that you've read during quarantine. 
•    Have your reading habits changed in the past few weeks?
•    Have you discovered a favorite new author?
•    Do you have poems, photographs, or artwork you’d like to share?
•    What do you miss most about bookstores, libraries, and coffeehouses?
•    What do you think people in the future should know about life in the year 2020 under COVID-19?
•    What have you learned, about yourself, others, society, healthcare, the economy, etc.?
•    What does your perspective add to the stories and news reports in public discourse?

Picnic tables and benches are covered with caution tape to deter people from gathering in Powers Park in Troy NY due to the coronavirus on April 14, 2020. (Lori Van Buren/Times Union file)

Submission guidelines:
•    We will accept essays, journalism, poetry, fiction, photography, and artwork. 
•    Please limit your submission to 1,000 words.
•    You do not need to be a published author to submit.  
•    We welcome submissions from the UAlbany community as well as the Capital Region community. 
•    There is no payment nor submission fee. Trolley is published free of charge as a campus/community partnership.
•    Authors, poets, artists, and photographers retain rights.
•    Simultaneous submissions are accepted. 


In your email, please include: 
•    the text of your submission, or an attachment (.jpg or .png) if it’s an illustration/artwork,
•    attach a photo of yourself,
•    and include a 50-word bio.

Deadline is May 22, 2020.

Email your submission or any questions to Michael Huber, NYS Writers Institute, at

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Trolley c/o NYS Writers Institute

Science Library 320

University at Albany

Albany NY 12222 

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NYS Writers Institute