We read during the academic year. We close during university breaks. The North American Review is the oldest literary magazine in America (founded in 1815) and one of the most respected. We are interested in high-quality poetry, fiction, and nonfiction on any subject; however, we are especially interested in work that addresses contemporary North American concerns and issues, particularly with the environment, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and class. We read during the academic year. We close during most university breaks. The submission fee helps us defer a small portion of our printing and distribution costs.

We like stories that start quickly and have a strong narrative arc. Poems that are passionate about subject, language, and image are welcome, whether they are traditional or experimental, whether in formal or free verse (closed or open form). We publish all forms of creative nonfiction, from personal narrative to lyric essay to immersive journalism; we appreciate when an essay moves beyond the personal to tell us something new about the world.

Please submit no more than five poems, one short story, two short-short stories, or one essay (no more than 30 pages typically). We do allow simultaneous submissions, but please access your submission and withdraw it if it is accepted elsewhere. We do not consider previously published material or work currently in press elsewhere. Please do not submit entire novels, collections of poems or stories, or nonfiction books.

The status of your submission can be checked by logging back into the submission system. We try to report on submissions within five months, but we have a very small staff to read more than ten thousand pieces each year.

We ask for first North American serial rights only. Copyright reverts to the author upon publication. Acceptance may be in our print or online issues. Contact us at nar@uni.edu with questions.

Please note that while a contest is open, that genre for general submissions is closed. While the James Hearst Poetry Prize is open, general poetry submissions are closed. For example,  regular poetry submissions will close on April 9th in order to open our James Hearst Poetry Prize. The poetry prize will remain open until October 31, at that time we will reopen regular poetry submissions. 

The editors of the North American Review invite visual artists and designers to submit posters responding to the themeThe Open Space of Democracy, inspired by Terry Tempest Williams' book of the same name. Submissions may respond directly or indirectly to the ideas found in Williams's essays ("Commencement," "Engagement," and "Ground Truthing"), or they may diverge and respond more broadly to the phrase itself. 

Any combination of image and text is welcome, but dimensions should be 18" x 24" and files should 300dpi. 

Fifty posters will be selected, printed, and displayed at the North American Review Writing Conference on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa, April 19-21, 2019. The exihibit will juried by members of UNI's chapter of Imagining America, a consortium of publicly engaged artists, designers, scholars, and community activists working toward the democratic transformation of higher education and civic life.

Collaborative submissions are welcome, and all experience levels are encouraged to submit!

Direct questions to the conference co-coordinators Rachel Morgan & Jeremy Schraffenberger. 

Spring 2019 will mark the North American Review’s 50th year at the University of Northern Iowa. To celebrate this milestone, the magazine will host a writing conference April 19-21, 2019 on the UNI campus in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Writers, teachers, and scholars from all around the country will be invited to share their work and participate in generative writing workshops led by one of our prominent featured writers, including Molly Antopol, Taylor Brorby, Martín Espada, Adrianne Finlay, Kij Johnson, Joyelle McSweeney, Sophfronia Scott, and Joseph Scapellato

The conference will be launched with a keynote reading by NAR Contributing Editor Terry Tempest Williams, whose influential The Open Space of Democracy serves as the focus for the Spring 2019 issue of the NAR. (Read Williams's three essays here: "Commencement," "Engagement," and "Ground Truthing.")

The editors invite critical, creative, craft-based, pedagogical or hybrid proposals for presentation. Individual papers, pre-formed panels, or roundtable discussions are welcome. Students are especially encouraged to apply. 

  • Critical proposals may be submitted on any literary or cultural topic, theme, author, artwork, or text that has some connection (broadly conceived) to the North American Review or the work of literary magazines. Group society proposals are welcome. 
  • Creative, craft, and pedagogical proposals may include readings of your own creative work, explorations of the craft and theory of writing, and/or discussions of teaching creative writing, literary publishing, the professionalization of creative writing, or writing as a discipline and activity within or outside the university. 

Proposals should include 100-250 word summary of presentation, including any technology needs, and a brief biography. 

Visit northamericanreview.submittable.com/submit to upload your submission.

The entire North American Review archives can be accessed digitally via the JSTOR database (www.jstor.org); issues appearing from 1815 to 1899 can be searched or browsed at Cornell University’s Making of America Website (ebooks.library.cornell.edu/m/moa); and an index of authors and subjects in the North American Review from 1815 to 1877 is available through Google Books (bit.ly/1mGlg5A). 

Direct questions to editor Jeremy Schraffenberger at schraffj@uni.edu

Please submit your portfolio for review. Submissions will be considered for use on our blog. Artwork for our print and online issue will be solicited in the amount of $150 per piece to accompany ficiton.

We generally showcase illustration work, but are open to other forms. 

No more than 50 pages in a Word document. Submissions in other genres will be rejected without consideration.

From the editor, "I suspect that there are many writers of literary fiction who read mystery/hardboiled novels and have a work of such savage art in them. We seek to create a venue for that market."

We will read during the spring semester asking for the first two chapters or up to fifty pages of your crime noir. I like shorter novels (60,000–75,000 words). If we like what we read, we’ll ask for the rest of your book. And from all of our finalists we will select one crime novel to publish the following year. Depending on the level of interest, we plan to publish a crime noir every year under the Gas Station Pulp banner."

2017 winner, Black Fin, by Mary Frisbee, can be purchased on our website. Congratulations to James Breeden! His novel, Painting Angela is our 2018 winner.  All submission fees will be used to directly help fund the production, printing, and promotion of the Gas Station Pulp banner.  All entrants will receive a copy of our 2018 winner.


Please submit no more than five poems. Submissions with more than 5 poems will not be considered. Please wait to hear a decision before sending additional work.

Do not send entire collections of poetry.  The submission fee helps us defer a small portion of our printing and distribution costs.

Regular poetry submissions will close on April 1st in order to open our James Hearst Poetry Prize. The poetry prize will remain open until October 31, at that time we will reopen regular poetry submissions.

We accept submissions during the academic year. The submission fee helps us defer a small portion of our printing and distribution costs.

First Prize: $500.  You may submit only one piece of creative nonfiction, no longer than 30 pages in a Word document. Please do not upload a pdf (they cannot be read by our system). All contact information should be entered in your cover letter. No names or addresses should appear on manuscripts, please. Your piece will be assigned a log number so it can be "read blind." Simultaneous submission to other journals or competitions is not allowed. Payment will be required as part of the sign up procedure which will provide you with a copy of the Torch issue.
Our judge is Michael A Martone. Our former nonfiction editor, Kim Groninga developed this prize as something she feels very committed to. 

Rafael Torch died in December, 2011, at the age of 36, after a courageous four-year attempt to overcome sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. A native Chicagoan, Rafael graduated from Antioch College and obtained a Master's Degree in Humanities from the University of Chicago in 2005 where he received numerous acclaims for his writings including the Illinois Arts Council Literary Award. Rafael dedicated his life to impacting lives of high school students. As a teacher at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago, The Latin School of Chicago and The Meadows School in Las Vegas, NV, Rafael influenced hundreds of minds as he challenged his students to rise to their greatest potential. His students had a profound impact on his life and he cared for them deeply. Rafael was also a committed, passionate writer who drew upon personal experiences to find inspiration. Rafael, whose award-winning work and vivid essays have appeared in many journals including Crab Orchard Review, Antioch Review, North American Review,wrote with honesty, insight and wit. At the time of his death, Rafael’s immediate family included his beloved wife, Emily Olson-Torch and 4-month-old son, Rocco James. 

Regular nonfiction submissions are closed in order to open our Torch Prize for Creative Nonfiction. The CNF prize will remain open until April 1st, at that time we will reopen regular CNF submissions.  

North American Review