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. 

 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. The conference will be launched with a keynote reading by NAR Contributing Editor Terry Tempest Williams, whose influential book The Open Space of Democracy serves as the focus for the Spring 2019 issue of the NAR. 

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


Kurt Vonnegut Fiction Prize

The Vonnegut Prize is an annual fiction competition sponsored by North American Review. This award is intended to recognize the finest speculative fiction, which can include, but is not limited to, work influenced by the postmodern science-fiction of Kurt Vonnegut; however, avoid mere imitation. We love Vonnegut’s dark humor but are also enthusiastic about unreal events that take themselves seriously. We welcome all work painted with speculative fiction’s broad brush: fairytale, magical realism, fabulism, the fantastic, horror, Afro-futurism, science fiction hard and soft, and everything in between. The winning entry will be appear in the North American Review's annual summer fiction issue, and all finalists will considered for publication.

University of Northern Iowa students are not eligible to submit.

Contest Information

Open for submission: May 1, 2018. 
First Prize: $500
Deadline: November 1st, 2018 Results will be announced in December.
Judge:  Karen Joy Fowler 

All winners and finalists will be published in the Summer 2018 Issue. All entry fees include copy of the Vonnegut issue.

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. 

First Prize: $1,000.  You may submit up to five previously unpublished poems in a Word document. All contact information should be entered in your cover letter. No names or addresses should appear on manuscripts, please. Your poems will be assigned log numbers so they 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 the Hearst issue of the North American Review.

 University of Northern Iowa students are not eligible to submit. 

Judge: Dana Levin

DEADLINE: submit by October 31, 2018.

If you are unable to submit or pay via the online submission manager, please email nar@uni.edu for assistance or alternate submission and payment options.

You will receive acknowledgment of receipt via email after your submission has been completed. Winners will also be announced in the writers' trade magazines and on our website.

Tips: We have noticed that long poems rarely do well—too much can go wrong in a large space. Poems that have reached the finalist stage in our competition in the past are typically one to two pages (often much shorter). Winning poems always balance interesting subject matter and consummate poetic craft. We value both free verse and formal poems in rhyme and meter—both open and closed forms.

 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.

North American Review