Become a Contributor

Canny Outlaw is always looking for engaging new content, especially from young and aspiring writers, thinkers, artists and researchers. You can pitch us an idea, send us a draft or suggest that we showcase work already published elsewhere. Our editors are friendly and will be happy to discuss, polish or workshop a piece with you.

Read on to get a feel for what we’re after and remember these are only guidelines — anything can be done by negotiation. When you’re ready to get in touch, send us an email.

Original Features

These are the long form pieces that anchor the site and generate the most interest. In general, they have the following qualities:

  • Wholly original pieces being published for the first time.
  • 2,500 – 5,000 words in length.
  • Carefully researched and referenced.
  • Make an argument or a thought-provoking point about public life.
  • Addresses enduring questions or has relevance beyond the topical news agenda.

Encore Features

Not everything has to be new. At Canny Outlaw, we also like to showcase great existing work to an audience that may not have seen it before. Some things that will catch our eye:

  • Material already published elsewhere (credited as such).
  • Can be written work, audio/visual content or visual artwork.
  • 1,000 – 2,000 words in length, 10 – 15 minutes if audio/visual, or 8 – 12 images if visual art.
  • Make an argument or a thought-provoking point about public life.

Amateur writers

By this we mean amateur in the spirit of the Olympics, not content that is amateur-ish. Part of The Canny Outlaw’s aim in rehabilitating the public sphere is featuring, cultivating and nurturing budding writers, thinkers and researchers. If you’re thoughtful, engaged with your subject and have something to say, we want to hear it! Don’t worry if you don’t really regard yourself as a ‘Writer’ or if the prospect of writing a main feature is simply too daunting. This is a great place to get started as you’ll have the opportunity to develop and polish a piece with the support of an editor and then have your work published to an international audience. Be warned, it’s addictive! Some things to bear in mind:

  • Original pieces being published for the first time.
  • 1,000 – 2,000 words in length.
  • Can begin at any stage from a one-paragraph idea to finished draft.
  • Material from non-professional writers and people under 35 years old especially encouraged.
  • Any style or subject.
  • Preferably addresses enduring questions or has relevance beyond the topical news agenda.


These are articles based around interactive content. Although we only run them rarely, these are a popular part of the site and we would like to see more of them in future. Here are some things to consider, when pitching us an idea:

  • Makes a thought-provoking point, even if not explicitly stated.
  • The form of the activity is what makes the point.
  • Simple, well-designed process.
  • Supporting introduction or accompanying text to provide context.
  • Takes 5–10 minutes to complete.


We like to sprinkle some clever, witty or light-hearted moments throughout the site to balance some of the chewier material. These are the kinds of things we’re looking for:

  • Can be original or encore content (attributed where appropriate).
  • Can be written (e.g. short stories, extracts from websites), visual (e.g. comics, animated shorts) or other kinds of media.
  • Relates in some way to broad themes of Canny Outlaw.
  • Short and snappy — no more than 500 words or 5 minutes.

Things to Remember

Some tips

  • Discipline-specific language or jargon should be explained in-text wherever possible.
  • Case studies and examples should be accessible to an international audience wherever possible.
  • Make use of multimedia and the digital format where it enhances your article.
  • Where you can, provide readers with ways to keep engaging with the subject matter and arguments you raise, beyond the article.

House rules

In general, the following rules apply to all contributions:

  • All content is published under a Creative Commons license, which means anyone can re-use your content, provided it is for non-commercial use, attribution is given and it is not modified from the original source material. Contributors are therefore welcome to republish their work on their own website, for example.
  • Editors have final say on each article’s title and accompanying image.
  • Referencing is done using in-text hyperlinks and/or list of offline sources.
  • We may republish content in other formats from time to time (e.g. an annual collection of the most popular feature articles released as an e-book)