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.



Submit one short story up to 10,000 words, or two short-short stories.

General fiction submissions open: November 2-May 1 (6 months)

Fiction contest: Kurt Vonnegut Speculative Fiction Prize open Aug 1-November 1 (3 months)

Closed: May 2-July 31 (3 months)


Submit one essay, up to 10,000 words.

General nonfiction submissions open: April 2-November 30 (8 months)

Nonfiction contest: Terry Tempest Williams Creative Nonfiction Prize open January 1-April 1 (3 months)

Closed: December 1-31 (1 month)


Submit up to five poems in one submission.

General poetry submissions open: November 2-May 1 (6 months)

Poetry contest: James Hearst Poetry Prize open Aug 1-November 1 (3 months)

Closed: May 2-July 31 (3 months)

Visual Art

Accepting visual art submissions year round. 

Please do not submit more than once, and wait to resubmit until your first submission has been responded to. We reserve the right to automatically decline multiple submissions. We allow only one attachment, so to submit several pieces for review in one submission, please put all images into a single PDF file.  

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 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 10,000 words of prose). 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. Current University of Northern Iowa students are not eligible to submit. We do not accept submissions via email. Please contact us first if you need to submit a hard copy by mail. Submission fees still apply.

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 do not allow for edits after submitting, instead, please withdraw and resubmit the piece. If your piece is accepted, you will have the opportunity to submit a revised final version at that time. Multiple submissions for contests are allowed, but please wait for a response on general genre submissions before submitting additional work.

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.


2023 Contest information

  • Open for submission: January 1, 2023.
  • Deadline: April 1, 2023
  • First Prize: $1,000
  • Length limit: 500 - 10,000 words
  • 2023 Contest Judge: Ira Sukrungruang

The judging process

  • To maintain anonymity, your piece will be assigned a log number  in place of identifying information by a student worker who is not  reading for the prize.
  • All submissions are read by the contest coordinator as well as by fifteen or more North American Review contest readers, most of whom are undergraduate or graduate students at  UNI. They select a slate of semifinalists, then finalists, from this  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 essays.
  • Regular nonfiction submissions will be closed while our Terry  Tempest Williams Prize for Creative Nonfiction is open. The CNF prize  will remain open until April 1st. We are open to regular CNF submissions  from April 2 to November 30 and are closed in the month of December.

Manuscript preparation

  • All contact information should be entered in your cover letter.  No names, addresses, or other identifying information should appear on  manuscripts, please.
  • Please include title and word count for the piece on the first page of your manuscript.
  • If possible, please submit your manuscript as a Word document (preferred) or PDF.

For more information about the contest, including FAQs, please see our website's contest page

Ends on $3.00

See detailed submission windows and guidelines above.

Ends on $3.00

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. See detailed submission windows and guidelines above.

Please submit a portfolio of recent work for review. Submissions will be considered for use on our website or in print issues. Please do not submit more than once, and wait to resubmit until your first submission has been responded to. We allow only one attachment, so to submit several pieces for review, please put all images into a single PDF file.

We pay $100 per image for rights to publish in our print issues only.

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

North American Review