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. 

Kurt Vonnegut Speculative 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. We love Vonnegut’s dark humor, but please avoid mere imitation. We are enthusiastic about 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 appear in the North American Review's annual summer fiction issue, and all finalists will be considered for publication.

Contest Information

Open for submission: May 1, 2020. 
First Prize: $1,000
Deadline: November 1st, 2020. Results will be announced in December.
Wordcount: 500 - 12,000 words
Judge:  Kij Johnson

  • Current University of Northern Iowa students are not eligible to submit.
  • The winner will be published in the Summer 2021 Issue. All entry fees include copy of the Summer Issue.

Frequently asked questions:

  • You may submit novel excerpts so long as they stand alone as a complete short story with beginning, middle, and end. 
  • We will accept flash fiction as well as longer works up to 12,000 words. That said, most of our finalists and all of our winners have had wordcounts in the 2,500 - 7,500 range. 
  • We are interested in experimental fiction; however, if publishing your piece would require unusual layout or formatting, please query first.

Our judging process:

  • All submissions are read by the contest coordinator, Dr. Brooke Wonders/Dr. Jim O’Loughlin (alternating years), as well as by fifteen or more North American Review editorial assistants, most of whom are undergraduate or graduate students at UNI. They select a slate of semifinalists, then finalists, from the submission pool. All finalists are sent to the prize judge.
  • Our prize judge selects a winner and runner-up from the slate of finalists. All finalists and semifinalists will be listed in the magazine and on Open Space. 
  • The contest coordinator may offer publication--in a future issue of North American Review and/or on Open Space--to notable stories, even if they are not sent to the prize judge.
  • The winner will be published in the Summer 2021 Issue. All entry fees include a copy of the Summer Issue.

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. Your poems will be assigned log numbers so they can be read blind. Simultaneous submission to other journals or competitions is allowed with notice should your poems be accepted elsewhere. All finalist poems will be published, and all entrants will receive the Spring issue of NAR.

Current University of Northern Iowa students are not eligible to submit. 

Final Judge: Maggie Smith

DEADLINE: submit by November 1, 2020.

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.

$40.00 - 78.00
$40.00 - 78.00

One-Year Subscription $37.00 + $3.00 Submittable Fee = $40.00

Two-Year Subscription $70.00 + $8.00 Submittable Fee + $78.00

Cover price for double issues are $26.00 + $4.00 postage and Submittable service fee.


Cover price for a single issue Spring 2019 or earlier

 $12.00 = $9.00 + $3.00 Submittable and postage fee

To purchase issues Summer 2019 or later, please click here

Cover price for single issue $12.95 + $4.00 postage and Submittable fee = $16.95

To purchase the Summer/Fall 2020 double issue, please click here

Please submit a portfolio of recent work for review. Submissions will be considered for use on our website. We pay $150 for rights to publish in our print issues.

We are open to all forms, media, and genres of visual art, including graphic poetry, graphic book review, and graphic narratives.

First Prize: $1,000.  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 allowed with notice. Payment will be required as part of the sign up procedure which will provide you with a copy of the Williams Prize issue.
Our judge is Luis Urrea. 

Regular nonfiction submissions will be closed when our Terry Tempest Williams Prize for Creative Nonfiction is open. The CNF prize will remain open until April 1st, at that time we will reopen regular CNF submissions.  

North American Review