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.

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 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 with questions.

Please note that while a contest is open, that genre for general submissions is closed. For example, while the James Hearst Poetry Prize is open, general poetry submissions are closed.  If a genre is closed that does not have a contest open, it means that the submission cap has been reached. Please check back periodically. 

Guidelines for the Williams Prize in Nonfiction 2022:

The Terry Tempest Williams Prize is intended to recognize the finest essay writing. We welcome all work painted with creative nonfiction’s broad brush: the lyric essay, the hermit crab essay, the braided essay, the memoir, the personal essay, literary journalism, and everything in between. Food essays, travel writing, nature essays, sports writing, and literary criticism will also be considered but should have a personal component. Williams is known for her environmental writing, but please do not feel limited to this topic. The Williams Prize welcomes previously unpublished nonfiction on any subject so long as it is well executed. The winning entry will appear in the North American Review's fall issue. All finalists will be considered for publication.

2022 Contest Judge: Lacy Johnson

Open for submission: December 1, 2021. 
First Prize: $1,000
Deadline: April 1st, 2022

Length limit: 500 - 8,500 words

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

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 or PDF.

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, Dr. Brooke Wonders, 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 September 15 to December 1.

Frequently asked questions:

  • Results will be announced in May.You may submit as many pieces of creative nonfiction as you wish, but each essay must be accompanied by its own submission fee.
  • The winner will be published in the Fall 2022 Issue. All entry fees include a copy of the Fall Issue in which the winners appear. Should you submit more than one entry, we will also send you the Summer issue.
  • Simultaneous submission to other journals or competitions is allowed, but please withdraw your work immediately if it is accepted elsewhere.
  • You may submit memoir excerpts so long as they stand alone as a complete essay with beginning, middle, and end.
  • We accept flash nonfiction as well as longer works up to 8,500 words. That said, most of our finalists and winners have had word counts in the 2,500 - 4,500 range.
  • We love experimental nonfiction; however, if publishing your piece would require unusual formatting, please include a brief explanation of your layout preferences on the first page of your manuscript. Unusual formatting will not affect your consideration for the prize, but it may necessitate publication online rather than in print.

What are we looking for:

The best way to learn this is to read past issues of the magazine containing contest winners. That said, we like creative fiction that pushes boundaries; just because something like your essay hasn’t won the prize before doesn’t mean we’re not interested. Seeking out the work of our annual guest judge is also a good idea. Our only hard limit is 8,500 words.

Contest namesake:

Terry Tempest Williams is one of the great environmental writers of our time, describing crises of the natural world with compassion and ferocity, bending the arc of history toward justice. North American Review’s online home, Open Space, is named for her essay The Open Space of Democracy, which invites us to reimagine how best to care for our commons. We honor her legacy of conservation activism with a prize recognizing essay writing that is eclectic in style and restorative in practice.

Ends on $3.00
We accept submissions during the academic year. The submission fee helps us defer a small portion of our printing and distribution costs.
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. The submission fee helps us defer a small portion of our printing and distribution costs.

Regular poetry submissions open on November 9, 2021 and will close on May 1, 2022 

For issues from Summer 2019 or later:

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

Please indicate which issue you wish to purchase:

304.3 Summer 2019

304.4 Fall 2019 

305.1 Spring 2020

Note: the 305.2-3 Summer/Fall 2020 double issue is out of print.

306.1 Spring 2021

306.2 Summer 2021

306.3 Fall 2021

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

Back issues are subject to availability. If you would like to check availability prior to placing your order, please send an email to Indicate season and year requested in your notes when placing an order. Please note, Spring 2019 (304.2) is out of print.

We publish three issues per year, in the spring, summer and fall. 

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

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

Please note: 

Your subscription will start with the next issue, unless you request otherwise. 

Please indicate in your notes if this is a subscription renewal.

Painting Angela book cover 

Edited by Grant Tracey and Brian Pals

Cover by Sarah Pauls

Art can change lives – sometimes with deadly consequences.

Jesse Hawkins arrives in New Orleans to make peace with his estranged brother. But Travis, a painter of beautiful nudes, has disappeared along with Angela, his latest lover and model. When Jesse learns she’s the daughter of a notorious crime boss, he fears for his brother’s life. And the cops want to pin two murders on Jesse—while the killer targets him next…

Black Fin cover 

In a dark Pacific sea cave, a young woman awaiting death discovers she  is not alone. Murderers have caused the bodies of a dead woman and a  drugged five-year-old girl to float in on high tide. As the relentless  rising waves trap them in the cave, Olive must draw on her grit, native  knowledge, and ingenuity to save the child's life while evading a  greedy, malevolent pair intent on silencing them in order to possess a  priceless treasure.

Feed the Lake cover 

Edited by Shelly Criswell and Grant Tracey

Cover by Sarah Pauls​


Foreword • Steven Schwartz

Notes on the Dramatic Image: an Essay in Six Parts • Charles Baxter

On Method Writing: the Arc of Narrative Choices • Grant Tracey

Tell Me a Story: Mavis Gallant & the Expository Opening • Robin Black

Generosity in Fiction • Joan Silber

The Man in the Water • Robert Boswell

Jump Already • Debra Spark

Writing the First Scene • Todd James Pierce

Too Muchness • Steven Schwartz



Manifold Nature cover 

Edited by J. D. Schraffenberger

Cover by Sarah Pauls​

Foreword • Joan Burroughs

Introduction • J. D. Schraffenberger


The Corroboration of Professor Huxley / November 1889

Faith and Credulity / October 1890

The Poet of Democracy / May 1892

The Decadence of Theology / May 1893

Recent Phases of Literary Criticism / January 1899

The Phantoms Behind Us / September 1912

The New Vitalism / December 1912

Science and Literature / March 1914

Life and Mind / October 1914

The Arrival of the Fit / February 1915

Life and Chance / August 1915

Life the Traveler / March 1916

Manifold Nature / August 1916

Is Nature Cruel? / October 1918

Shall We Accept the Universe? / January 1919

Is Nature Without Design? / May 1919

The Faith of a Naturalist / November 1919

Men and Trees / May 1920

A Sheaf of Nature Notes / September 1920


Reviews of Burroughs / July 1879 – November 1922

Letters to the Editor / April 1915 – July 1919

The Modern School of Nature-Study and its Critics
          William J. Long, May 1903

Norman Foerster on John Burroughs
          November 1920 – August 1921

Death of Burroughs / June 1921


The Great Sympathetic cover 

Edited by J. D. Schraffenberger

Cover by Sarah Pauls​​


Foreword • Martín Espada

Introduction • J. D. Schraffenberger . . . xvii


The Poetry of the Future (February 1881)

A Memorandum at a Venture (June 1882)

Slang in America (November 1885)

Robert Burns as Poet and Person (November 1886)

Some War Memoranda—Jotted down at the Time (January 1887)

Old Poets (November 1890)

Have We a National Literature? (March 1891)


Review of Leaves of Grass • Edward Everett Hale (January 1856)

Walt Whitman’s Drum-Taps • Adams Sherman Hill (January 1867)

Walt Whitman • Walker Kennedy (June 1884)

The Poet of Democracy • John Burroughs (May 1892)

From The Poetry and Poets of America III • Churton Collins (March 1904)

Walt Whitman • Louise Collier Willcox (August 1906)

Mr. Bliss Perry’s “Walt Whitman,” • Louise Collier Willcox (May 1907)

Whitman in Whitman’s Land • Herman Scheffauer (February 1915)

From Manifold Nature • John Burroughs (August 1916)

The Adventures of a Poetry-Reader • Edith Franklin Wyatt (March 1919)

The Answerer: Walt Whitman • Edith Franklin Wyatt (May 1919)

Whitman and Anne Gilchrist • Edith Wyatt (September 1919)

Whitman and the Cult of Confusion • Norman Foerster  (June 1921)

Walt Whitman • John Gould Fletcher (March 1924)


From In Mexico—Work in Progress • Robert Sward (May 1967)

Gospel of the Lonely • Willis Barnstone (June 1983)

Walt Whitman in the Car Lot, Repo or Used • Gillian Conoley (June 1989)

Sestina for Stars • Ann Struthers (March-April 2001)

The Good Earth, The Good Stars • Ricardo Pau-Llosa (November-December 2001)

Slices of Life • John N. Miller (May-August 2002)

Walt Whitman Izibongo • David Rowe (March-April 2003)

Walt Whitman and Butterfly • Kelli Russell Agodon (November-December 2003)

Spider-Smear Across My Computer Screen • Ryan G. Van Cleave (September-October 2005)

Hoofer • Philip Dacey (January-February 2008)

On the New Jersey Turnpike, I Stopped to Pee at the Walt Whitman Service Center near Camden •  Harry Waitzman (Spring 2012)

Looking for Whitman • Lauren Schmidt (Winter 2014)

Barbaric Yawp Big Noise Blues • Martín Espada (Summer 2015)

How We Could Have Lived or Died This Way • Martín Espada (Summer 2015)


Thank you for your kind support of the North American Review!

North American Review