Cover Art Winner for TSLR Issue Two

The Shanghai Literary Review is honored and excited to announce the winner of our Issue Two Cover Art Contest: Olufemi Lawal, for his photograph "Cracks." Lawal's piece will be used as the cover of our next issue, forthcoming in December 2017.

"Cracks," Olufemi Lawal

"Cracks," Olufemi Lawal

On shooting "Cracks," Lawal told TSLR:

"For me, humans are the most interesting subjects to photograph. I mostly take photos of friends and after every photo shoot I feel like I've gotten to see a different aspect to that person. Capturing moments that go by too quickly in real life to really take note of, moments that they don't get to see in selfies and 'perfect photos' to post online. 
Njeri (the model photographed in 'Cracks') is a very warm and kind person who has the most beautiful smile and smiles a lot! But knowing her I could also tell that she has a lot of depth; a side to her that most people don't get to see, and this rarely seen side was what I was hoping to capture. 
While scouting for locations on that chilly July morning in Tianjin, We came across this abandoned building that had been marked for demolition. 
In the building there was a lot of debris all around, there was feces on the ground, and signs of habitation in some rooms. We made our way to one of the top floors which looked completed abandoned. 
There was something about the vibe of the place: the decay, the sunlight breaking in through places where windows used to be, the cracks in the wall, the remnants of what used to be someone's home. That vibe gave the photo shoot some solemnity and it was during one of those moments of solemnity that 'Cracks' was taken. 
For me the photo represents the unique cracks each of us have and the endless quest of trying to improve ourselves."
Olufemi Lawal

Olufemi Lawal

Olufemi Lawal is a Nigerian artist based in China. He spends his time on creative pursuits like photography, poetry, singing, song writing and improv.

Njeri Kamau is a Kenyan model and student. Currently based in Tianjin, China, she spends her free time reading philosophy books, travelling and teaching. 

All shortlisted finalists for the Winter 2017 Cover Art Contest have been accepted as visual pieces within the magazine, as well as additional photographs by Lawal. Thank you to everyone who submitted.

To pre-order a copy of Issue Two (currently being edited and prepared for the printing presses), please visit our online store

Our Issue Two launch parties will be held in Shanghai, on Saturday, December 16 at My Place Ruin Bar & in New York City, on Thursday, January 18 at The Asian American Writers Workshop. Stay tuned for details.

Seeking Editorial Assistants for TSLR

Editorial Assistant Internship

The Shanghai Literary Review is seeking Editorial Assistants.

For this role, the EA will work in all areas of the magazine, from editorial to marketing. Some responsibilities include: reading and voting on submissions, shadow editing 1-2 pieces with an Editor in a category of interest for the upcoming issue, organizing contributor information, joining in team events and meetings, helping to sell TSLR at festivals and open mic nights, proofreading, selling magazines to stockists, gathering information on the indie magazine market and indie culture conferences. 

EAs will be added to the website masthead for the duration of their internship, and for any print issues worked on will be added to the issue’s masthead as Editorial Assistant. 

The time commitment for the internship is 5 hours a week from September 2017 to early January 2018 (the duration of work for Issue Two). Work can be done from home, with weekly check-ins with the Editorial team and video/in-person meetings about 1-2x/month. 

As we are an independent magazine, the internship is unfortunately unpaid at this time. Each intern will receive a free copy of the magazine in which they are listed, and will be able to buy additional copies at discount. 

To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and a list of five of your favorite books, to by September 15, 2017. 

Winter 2017 Cover Art Contest

TSLR is excited to announce our Winter 2017 Cover Art Contest. The winner will be featured on the cover of our Winter 2017 Issue of The Shanghai Literary Review, and those shortlisted will have their work featured throughout the magazine.

Submission Guidelines:

• Submissions are open from now until September 1, 2017. 

• Submissions can be of any medium. Photography, painting, drawing, 3D rendering, even selfies (We dare you.).

• Submissions can embody any subject matter. However, we can't help but notice if you submit work that plays to our magazine's literary themes: identity, language, modernity, family and nostalgia. 

• The shortlist will be announced in early October, and the winner will be announced in early November.

• TSLR may ask winner and those shortlisted for minor adjustments, to be agreed upon between the editor and artist. TSLR will also ask winner and those shortlisted for one-time rights for first publication in print and online (after which the rights will revert back to the artist).

• Each artist may submit up to 10 pieces of art for consideration. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are submitting more than one piece of artwork, please upload all of them into one submission.

• Submit here: Please check the "Cover Art Submission" box when submitting your work.

Now Accepting Submissions for Winter Issue 2017, CONCRETE, & Cover Art Contest

We're back at it again! Our next print issue comes out in winter 2017, and the team at TSLR have been happily reading incoming submissions. 

The deadline to submit for our winter print issue is September 3. Please mosey on over to our Submittable page to send in your work.

We are interested in art and criticism about urbanism, globalism, identity, and transnationalism, though by no means should submissions be limited to those topics. We'll publish a good story about cats in Africa if it floors us. Selected works will be published online and/or in print and be automatically entered into our annual end-of-year contest where cash prizes will be awarded.

We publish: 

  • Fiction - less than 5,000 words
  • Poetry - 2 poems submission limit per person
  • Non-Fiction & Essay - less than 5,000 words
  • Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction - less than 500 words
  • Visual Art - photography, video, photo essay, collage, painting, sketch, etc.
  • Translation - translation into English of any poetry, essay or short fiction from Asia, or vice versa, along with the original text
  • Book Review - pitch book review ideas to us, on fiction or non-fiction from or about Asia 

To submit online, please visit our online submissions manager

We will only publish previously unpublished pieces. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable. Please just let us know promptly if your submission has been accepted elsewhere. All published authors of the print edition will be mailed a hard copy of their magazine at no cost.

Translators, please provide documentation of authorization to translate and publish from the writer whom you are translating.

*Special Edition: Concrete The Shanghai Literary Review is looking for personal essays and narrative nonfiction of 2,000-8,000 words that capture different facets of various Chinese cities (people, buildings, histories, stories). We are also seeking photography that reflects life in China’s cities. The special TSLR edition, to be published early 2018 between regular issues 2 & 3, will feature essays on various cities with accompanying photography. Submissions are due August 31, 2017 at our Submittable page.

*Winter 2017 Cover Art Contest: TSLR will be running a contest for artists to submit work for the cover of our print issue. Simply upload via Submittable in the Visual category and check the option in the form to be considered for the contest. Details forthcoming.


Dear TSLR Readers,
I want you to watch Same/Difference, Yujin Lee and Nicola Maloof’s video essay submission to TSLR Issue One. It’s a powerful video essay that shares the perspectives of those who are born into separate national and ethnic identities. The two-channel video splits the narrative, just as “third culture kids” must reconcile multiple narratives about who they are and how the world identifies them. To focus on two videos at the same time is just a symbolic aperitif of that life.

click above to watch Same/Difference on Vimeo

click above to watch Same/Difference on Vimeo

When the video shows two women, one a Korean-born American adoptee, and the other a Korean, both dressed in the same clothes, can you tell who is who? Whether you can tell or not, what’s it to them? Maybe you can take an educated guess based off their dance moves.

Above all else, it’s important that the world hear more firsthand perspectives on this experience. The world needs more nuanced takes, like what’s presented in Same/Difference, rather than simple, reductive perspectives. Please do give this video essay a watch and a think.
TSLR Issue One Nonfiction & Visual Editor