The Selkie was founded in May 2018 in Edinburgh and became a community interest company in April 2019. The founders met through the University of Edinburgh while pursuing postgraduate degrees in Creative Writing, and the idea for a literary magazine was born – a magazine with ‘representation’ as its core value that would extend across the boundaries of academia, culture, gender and race, and offer the works of underrepresented writers year-round to its readers.

The Selkie Publications CIC is a non-profit community interest company based in the United Kingdom; it does not profit from its website, anthologies, events or workshops. Any money we make is re-invested into the company to help us continue supporting underrepresented voices. The Selkie is run by volunteers who are passionate about working with underrepresented writers and artists.

The Selkie accepts work by individuals who self-identify as underrepresented in terms of race/ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, sex, socio-economic class, neurodivergence, disability and refugee/immigration status. We are also open to submissions written in Scots, English dialects not recognised by mainstream publishing, and translations into English (if you are the author).

We do not charge contributors for submissions and the material published on the website is free to view by our readers. Though contributors are not currently paid for published work, payment is prioritised where funding is available – these opportunities are clearly highlighted as being paid.

A colour drawing of two selkies sitting on rocks and one peering over from behind a rock
Artwork by Maia Hazel Walcott

Searching for what connects us in purpose, place and time, we were drawn to the image of a wild, untamed being emerging from the unseen depths of the ocean – the selkie, whose myth has been passed down through generations in Scotland – the place where we met and decided to create a literary website together.

Selkies are creatures of ancient lore, who swim in water as seals yet have the ability to transform into humans and walk on land, and thus reveal their dual nature. By shedding their skins, selkies give in to the joy and freedom of expression by singing and dancing on the coarse sand beneath their feet, underneath a full moon.

However, when selkies first emerge from the waves, they make sure to hide their pelts in order to protect them – for without their seal skins, they would never be able to return to their native home.

Their story resonates today, for it is these ‘skins’ that underrepresented individuals wear and shed as our circumstances change – at times a burden, but mostly a gift that unfortunately is not always recognised. And this is how we must live, out in the world, every single day – attempting to express our dual natures and being careful not to lose an essential part of ourselves in the process.

The Selkie aims to support and nurture voices from diverse and often marginalised backgrounds. We remain united in providing a space for stories that reach underneath our skins, where our shared humanity exists.