After weeks of deliberating over the right words and fine-tuning your creative nonfiction piece, you’re ready to begin submitting to literary nonfiction journals. The only problem is finding the right home for your creative nonfiction submission. What journals or literary nonfiction magazines should you prioritize submitting your work to?
Find your answer here: we’ve searched the net for great creative nonfiction journals, and any of the following 24 publications is a wonderful home for creative nonfiction—guaranteed.
24 Creative Nonfiction Magazines to Submit To
Just like our other guides on the best literary journals to submit to, we’ve divided this article into three different categories:
- Great journals to secure your first publications in
- Competitive journals for writers with previous publications
- High-tier creative nonfiction journals at the summit of publishing
Any publication in the following 24 journals is sure to jumpstart your literary career. So, let’s explore the best nonfiction magazines and journals!
Creative Nonfiction Magazines: Great First Publications
The following eight journals sponsor creative nonfiction from both emerging and established writers, making them great opportunities for writers in any stage of their journey.
1. Sundog Lit
Sundog Lit loves the weird and experimental, and it regularly seeks innovative nonfiction for its biannual journal. All submitted works should be well-researched and play with both form and content. Submit your hybrid content to this great creative nonfiction journal!
2. River Teeth Journal
River Teeth Journal specializes in narrative nonfiction. The journal operates with the motto “Good Writing Counts and Facts Matter,” which captures their preference for well-researched and thoughtfully composed CNF. Literary nonfiction submissions are open twice a year, typically between September and May.
3. Atticus Review
Atticus Review posts daily nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. They publish work that is unabashed and resilient, finding hope in even the toughest of situations. All published works after September 19th, 2020 receive a $10 award from this creative nonfiction journal!
4. Barren Magazine
Barren Magazine publishes nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and photography, preferring works with grit and muster. Each publication of this creative nonfiction magazine includes prompts: for their 17th issue, the prompts are “unorthodox, sensational, kinetic, quixotic, & transcendent.”
5. The Offing
The editors at The Offing look for work that’s innovative, genre-bending, and challenges conventions. The Offing is especially keen to support both new and established authors, making them a welcome home for your creative nonfiction submissions.
6. Crazy Horse
Crazy Horse sponsors emerging and diverse voices in its biannual publication. Submissions for this journal remain open between September and May, and they typically range between 2,500 and 5,000 words. This is a great literary journal to submit to for writers of all styles and narratives!
7. Dogwood: a Journal of Poetry and Prose
Dogwood is a journal of poetry and prose based out of Fairfield University. This annual publication only opens for submissions in the Fall, and each edition includes prizes for top pieces. Literary nonfiction from all walks of life are welcome here.
8. Montana Mouthful
Straight out of the Treasure State, Montana Mouthful seeks “just a mouthful” of fiction and nonfiction. Creative nonfiction submissions should not exceed 2,000 words but should still deliver a cogent, memorable story.
Check Out Our Upcoming Creative Nonfiction Writing Courses!
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October 28th, 2020
The premise line is the only reliable tool that can tell you, BEFORE you start writing, whether or not your story will “work.” In this class participants will learn how to master the process of premise line development—the essential first step in any book or screenplay’s development process.
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October 28th, 2020
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The Wandering Heart: Tales of Connection
with Giulietta Nardone
November 4th, 2020
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with Tantra Bensko
November 11th, 2020
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In Your Own Words: Transforming Life Into Memoir and Fiction
with Margo Perin
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Learn how to draw inspiration and material from your life experiences or those of people you know, or want to know, to craft compelling, publishable memoirs, personal essays, autobiographical novels and short stories, and/or narrative poetry.
Starting to Write
with Gloria Kempton
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Creative Nonfiction Magazines: Reputable Literary Journals to Submit To
The following literary magazines and creative nonfiction journals can be tough competition, but with a few previous publications under your belt and a special story ready for print, the following journals could jumpstart your literary career. All of these journals have fantastic literary nonfiction examples!
Conjunctions publishes daring works of poetry and prose, living by its motto to “Read Dangerously!” Submitted works should provoke, excite, and linger with the reader. Conjunctions publishes both a biannual magazine and a weekly online journal, both of which house fantastic literary journalism.
10. Black Warrior Review
Black Warrior Review is a biannual literary journal run by the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. This Whiting Awarded journal nurtures groundbreaking literary nonfiction, fiction, and poetry, with many of its authors going on to win Pushcarts and Best of the Net prizes!
Hippocampus Magazine is one of the best creative nonfiction magazines out there, as it focuses solely on the publication of personal essays and nonfiction stories. Their strictly digital publication is highly literary and has many great creative nonfiction examples and pieces. Despite being a highly competitive journal, both new and emerging writers can find a home at Hippocampus.
12. American Literary Review
The American Literary Review, run out of the University of North Texas, publishes engaging and precise stories and poetry. The journal is currently on hiatus, but read some of its back issues and you’ll understand why it’s a great literary journal to submit to.
13. Fourth Genre
Fourth Genre is a biannual creative nonfiction journal published through Michigan State University. The journal amplifies diverse and powerful voices, seeking stories that are refreshing, earnest, and imaginative. Fourth Genre only publishes nonfiction, so read its back issues for some great creative nonfiction examples!
14. The Cincinnati Review
The Cincinnati Review is interested in literary nonfiction that can “knock your socks off.” Submissions for personal essays are open between September and January; writers can also submit flash nonfiction year-round to its miCRo series.
15. Creative Nonfiction
“True stories, well told” is the motto of Creative Nonfiction, the aptly-named journal of all things CNF. Creative Nonfiction celebrates a diverse range of voices and experiences, championing both new and established essayists. Between its literary publications and its creative nonfiction blog, writers can learn a lot from this journal. Send your creative nonfiction submissions to Creative Nonfiction!
Witness publishes prose and poetry that examines and analyzes the modern day. They seek stories about modern issues and events, often publishing bold and eclectic takes on serious issues. Witness is a more politically-oriented journal, making it a leader in contemporary literary journalism.
Creative Nonfiction Magazines: The Summit of Literary Nonfiction
The following journals are notoriously difficult to publish in, as writers often have to have a name built for themselves in the literary world. Nonetheless, the following publications exist at the summit of CNF, so keep these publications on your radar as top literary journals to submit to.
AGNI, a highly literary publication run at Boston University, publishes fiery, transformative prose and poetry. Creative nonfiction submissions should be polished, inventive, and highly original. Be sure to read their previous publications for an idea of what they look for!
18. The Atlantic
The Atlantic is well-respected for its literary journalism, making it a premier publisher of creative nonfiction. Though many of its published pieces are solicited, The Atlantic is always looking for fresh, bold stories and poetry, so it’s a premier place for nonfiction magazine submissions.
Salon does not present itself as a creative nonfiction journal, but many of its previous magazine issues are highly literary in nature, examining current issues with a sharp, educated lens. If you have nonfiction stories that are both personal and global in nature, Salon accepts queries for articles and editorials, so check them out!
20. The Antioch Review
The Antioch Review is a real page-turner, as their past publications can attest to. This highly literary journal publishes fantastic prose and poetry, and if you have a creative nonfiction piece that’s riveting and influential, The Antioch Review is looking for your creative nonfiction submissions.
21. The Colorado Review
The Colorado Review is a tri-annual publication steeped in history, with original issues featuring poetry and prose from Langston Hughes, E. E. Cummings, Henry Miller, etc. The journal is committed to contemporary literature, seeking voices that are transformative and capture today’s (or tomorrow’s) zeitgeist. The Colorado Review is a fantastic space for literary journalism and will certainly welcome your creative nonfiction.
22. The Virginia Quarterly
The Virginia Quarterly publishes a wide array of literary nonfiction, fiction, and poetry, promising both ample readership and ample pay. VQR seeks inventive and imaginative stories, and it accepts both personal essays and nonfiction pieces on literary and cultural criticism. Submissions are generally open in July, but keep tuned for any special announcements or brief reading periods!
23. New England Review
New England Review is a quarterly publication of all things literary. The journal is dedicated to publishing both emerging and established voices, though it remains a highly competitive journal for creative nonfiction. NER is a great literary journal to submit to for stories that are engaged, critical, and sparkling.
24. North American Review
The North American Review is the oldest literary magazine in the United States. Since its inception in 1815, it remains one of the best nonfiction magazines to submit to, publishing strong literary voices with imaginative story arcs and moving messages. Nonfiction magazine submissions at North American Review are always spectacular—go check them out!
Tips for Publishing Your Creative Nonfiction Submissions
“How do I get my nonfiction published with so many other voices in the room?” This is a question we hear often, and as writers in the modern day, we can’t help but notice how diverse the publishing world is, and how everything “has already been written.” How can you make sure your story gets published in the right creative nonfiction magazines?
Of course, no story is guaranteed publication, but if you’ve written an earnest, sparkling story with grit, character, and truth, then the right literary journals to submit to are in this list. Additionally, you can boost your chances of success with the following publishing tips:
Start With a Powerful Title
Your creative nonfiction submissions should draw the reader in right away, which means starting with an attention-grabbing title. Your title could be a singular and obscure word, or it could be a long description, or anything in-between—the goal is to stand out while representing your story faithfully.
Here are some great titles we saw from a brief glance at the literary nonfiction examples from Hippocampus:
- Bar Bathroom Graffiti in New Orleans: A One Year Catalog by Kirsten Reneau
- Necrokedeia for Children by Mark Hall
- Ford Motor Company Tells Me About Perseverance by Alexis Annunziata
These titles give you an idea about the story itself while also drawing you in with wit, humor, or obscurity. Literary editors have thousands of stories to read each year; give them something to notice so you can stand out among the rest!
Follow the Creative Nonfiction Journal’s Formatting Guidelines
A surefire way to receive rejections on your literary nonfiction is to ignore the formatting guidelines. Each journal has its own requirements, though they often align with MLA formatting requirements, but be sure you follow the journal’s instructions faithfully, or else they may discard your submission without even reading it.
Read the Creative Nonfiction Magazine’s Past Issues
The 24 publications mentioned in this article are some of the best nonfiction magazines in the world, in part because they adhere so strongly to their tastes and preferences. As such, no two journals are alike, and each publication has its own expectations for the nonfiction they read and publish. Before you submit your creative nonfiction, be sure to read some past publications and gauge whether your essay will fit in with the journal’s literary tastes.
Keep Track of Your Submissions
Many creative nonfiction journals allow simultaneous submissions, meaning you can submit the same piece to multiple journals. However, if one journal accepts your work, you need to notify the other journals that it has been accepted and is no longer available for consideration.
Keeping track of your creative nonfiction submissions in a spreadsheet or personal organizer is essential: if multiple journals publish your story, it could harm your chances of getting published in the future.
Aim High—But Not Too High
Your personal essay deserves to be read, but if you’re only submitting to journals like VQR or The Atlantic, it might never see the light of day. Part of the publishing process means building your publication history and portfolio.
Your literary journalism will one day get published in Salon or the New York Times, but until then, focus on getting recognized in smaller and medium sized journals—and don’t let rejections bring you down, because it’s only up from here!
Fine-Tune Your Creative Nonfiction Submissions with Writers.com
Looking for extra help on writing your personal essay, lyric essay, or hybrid nonfiction piece? The instructors at Writers.com are ready to assist you. Gain valuable insight and diverse perspectives on your nonfiction stories before submitting them to the 24 creative nonfiction magazines we’ve listed.
Good luck, and happy writing!
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