We are now accepting digital submissions! Please take a moment to read through some of our editorial guidance and discursive thoughts on literature for what we’re looking to publish this Fall. Then, after reading, send via our Submittable portal here.
What will NORTHWEST REVIEW look to publish?
We want to expand the frontier of American literature. What does that mean, exactly? Insofar that literary boundaries exist, we want you to break them. If, in your mind as a writer, you hear a voice saying, don’t break that rule, that is the rule you should break. We are eager to read works that are formally inventive, experimental in voice or form; we want to read work from writers of marginalized communities and voices. We want to read work from writers who have never been published; we want to read work from Nobel Prize winners still trying to reach that literary nightcap of a decades-long career.
Ken Kesey, Louise Erdrich, Joyce Carol Oates, Raymond Carver, Ursula le Guin, Charles Bukowski, and so many others have published here, in the years past.
We are especially interested in art that defends the Earth, the environment,
This is the most important part of your submission. For serious. It’s your first impression. Tell us about YOU! We want to know: where you’re from, your schooling, job situation, your favorite writers, any publications if you’ve got ’em, your favorite books. This is also the most helpful evidence that you have taken a few moments to read about what we’re looking to publish here. Here’s an example of a Cover Letter that has come into The Paris Review, The Southern Review, The Kenyon Review, and The New Yorker recently. And this is the template that you should follow:
Date of your submission, so, for instance:
Dear Readers (but ideally, the name of the Genre Editor reading your stuff):
I’m reaching out to see if you’d consider my LITERARY CONTRIBUTION [description of translated work, poem(s), fiction, etc].
I am submitting this because my poem/story/interview/book review explores topics of interest in the Frontier of American Letters. My work has previously been published in [name of publications]; or if this is your debut publication, describe what your story would be like if it were published here, as your first.
Some of my favorite authors are X, Y, and Z–So and So is an artist who inspires my work.
Thank you for reading my submission!
The above is the sort of cover letters that help our readers have some context for your work. Many emerging writers submit five, even ten works over the course of a few years, before a story or poem breaks through–but we remember the near-misses and enjoy reading them and watching the development of writers as they work on their craft.
The art of translation provides a critical avenue into new literary forms and psychological landscapes: if you are a translator working on an original work in a non-English language, we want to see it. Here’s the thing: if we’re not able to publish the English side-by-side, it may not showcase your skill as a translator. To that end, if you are able to translate an existing work of English in the Public Domain, such as a poem written by Emily Dickinson, or a scene out of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, into a non-English language, we’d love to see it and publish it side by side. If you would like to study the art of translation, consider our publisher’s interview with the legendary translator Gregory Rabassa, who translated One Hundred Years of Solitude and Hopscotch into English, to get a clear idea on how to pursue life as a translator. The shorter the manuscript, the more likely we’ll be able to publish it. If you need a limit, try to stay within five double-spaced pages or less.
We reject the notion that any guidance can be given about poetry. However, if you desire specifics:
We seek poetry that is singular in both its vision and voice, regardless of form, style, or content. You are invited to submit between 3 to 5 unpublished poems. If you are working on longer or book-length projects, feel free to submit an excerpt up to 5 pages. Before sharing your work with us, please familiarize yourself with recent issues of NWR.
We would encourage writers of fiction to read The Art of Fiction with Ralph Ellison. Ellison provides invaluable guidance on life as a writer. For submissions, there are no restrictions on content or style, but we will read more favorably stories that are submitted in a clean, publishable format. Editors are most familiar reading work in Times, Georgia, Calibri, Arial, or other readable fonts, double-spaced. Please be sure to include page numbers.
We welcome submissions of literary criticism, book reviews of current or forthcoming titles, personal essays, and creative non-fiction. For essays and criticism, try to stay within 5,000 words if possible. Book reviews can usually succeed within 1,000 words or less. And for creative non-fiction, allow your story to dictate the length, while keeping in mind that the shorter the work the more space we’ll have for it.
If you want to interview an artist, writer, musician, sculptor, you-name-it whose work you admire, let us know! If, for instance, you had the good fortune to study with a creative writing professor whose work you admire, consider asking that professor 10 or more questions, transcribing them, and submitting the exchange as an interview. Follow the format of this interview with New York Times best-seller Lauren Groff.
We are looking for formally inventive black-and-white illustrative portraits. Think of this as a hand-drawn, or hand-painted sketch of someone in black and white; label it if you feel like a word or two adds to the beauty of your drawing; we’d like to include as many instances of visual self-expression along with written forms of literature as well. This is not a photographic selfie; think Morisot, Manet, Picasso, Krasner, DeKooning; draw someone who inspires you.
We are open to graphic narratives, comics, or other works that blur the line between illustration and narrative. Think Persepolis, Habibi, Maus. Send it over!
Go ahead and send your work via our Submittable portal here. If you had already sent via email, we’ll reach out via email once we’re able to review. Be patient with us. We will respond to you, in one form or another, within six weeks to ten weeks. Simultaneous submissions are fine as long as you notify us if you’re accepted elsewhere. And please wait until you hear back on your submission before submitting your next submission, i.e. one at a time. We will be paying all contributors whose work is accepted for publication. With no outside funding, we’re in the midst of soliciting donations to ramp up our operations and we’ll update the final payment amount within the weeks ahead.
To stay in touch with the process of our relaunch, please follow Northwest Review on Twitter.