Assay publishes the best peer-reviewed critical scholarship of creative nonfiction to provide a space for work that elevates the genre in an academic setting. While there is no shortage of craft pieces and craft texts, the focus of nonfiction analysis has been on the art of the genre. Critical scholarship that studies nonfiction as literature, not simply art, is lacking in our genre. Our purpose is to facilitate all facets of that conversation to be a resource for writers, scholars, readers, and teachers of nonfiction.
Our online format makes research materials more accessible to scholars, but it also utilizes the available technology to expand the discussion. In addition to the written expression of nonfiction criticism, Assay provides the space for both written and video interviews with writers, as well as providing for more informal discussions of reading and teaching in the genre.
- We DO NOT accept submissions of creative nonfiction and we DO NOT accept submissions of scholarly articles on fiction or poetry.
- We only accept unpublished material; we ask for first serial rights and the publication rights revert to you after publication.
- We encourage simultaneous submissions, but please let us know if your work is being considered elsewhere--and if it is accepted, please inform us immediately.
- We read year round, though our response time may be slower in the summer and during academic breaks (and close to the release date of the next issue). Response time is generally within 6-8 weeks. If you have not heard in this time frame, please feel free to send and email and ask.
- We publish twice a year: September 1st and April 1st. We have no firm deadlines for these issues, though May 1st (for fall issue) and January 15th (for spring issue) are good benchmarks.
- Revise and Resubmit submissions will be treated as brand new submissions, without history or expectation of publication.
- Avoid definitions of memoir, creative nonfiction, or other "general audience" rhetorical moves.
- Avoid textbook or dictionary definitions of terms.
- Avoid introductions that rely on rhetorical questions. Consider that your conclusion might be an excellent introduction.
- We want to get to the argument fairly quickly, so consider how much background and theoretical information you need to give at the beginning. The vast majority of the submissions we see spend too much page time on background.
- All submissions should seek to contribute new ideas and perspectives to the conversations in nonfiction studies.
- Check out previous issues to get a sense of our aesthetic and what we publish.
- It is our policy to respond as quickly as possible while maintaining editorial thoroughness of the peer-review process because we are also writers and we respect the time commitment on the part of the writers. For this reason, we encourage simultaneous submissions (but please let us know if this is the case). If your work is accepted elsewhere, please let us know immediately.
- Our response time is generally within 6-8 weeks.
- Scholarly articles of 15-25 pages, not including Works Cited, and articles must follow MLA Style and Formatting. We will, however, consider work that falls outside these page guidelines, though most of our submissions fall into this range.
- We welcome explorations of all types of nonfiction, from traditional to experimental, from travel writing to memoir.
- We welcome all critical lenses, from craft analysis to ecocriticism to postcolonialism and more.
- We seek a wide variety of authors and texts to represent the range of the genre. We particularly seek articles on women and nonfictionists of color. We also seek submissions that attend to the incredible variety of nonfiction forms.
- We welcome submissions by undergraduate writers, but please query us first.
- We tend to dislike articles that include "this article will" types of phrasing.
- Though we also prefer that you not write in first person (particularly first person plural), we have also seen excellent meldings of creative and critical approaches and we are open to all modes of criticism.
- Accepted articles should expect editing to fit our style and content standards.
- Please conform to MLA standards for formatting and citations. More information can be found at the Purdue OWL.
conversations: riffs, interviews, spotlight
- The subject and approach to the interview is negotiable; we are open to video and podcast interviews as well as traditional print.
- The interview will aim to add something new to the nonfiction conversation; we will not accept interviews simply because of name recognition.
- Please query us with the following information if you wish to do an interview: the writer you're interviewing, the purpose of the interview, and the format you envision using (text, video, podcast, etc.). Our considerations will involve the timeliness of the interview, the subgenre the author is working in, how the writer fits into the scope of the issue as a whole.
- Riffs include short, informal discussions of a craft element or reaction to a work of nonfiction (book length or otherwise), whether that text is new or not.
- We generally do not publish book reviews, as such, but if you would like to query us with a book review idea, please feel free to do so. We are open to the conversation.
- We do, however, seek to build a library of reviews of nonfiction textbooks (please see In the Classroom).
- In the Spring issue, we present a multi-voiced spotlight discussion on a single topic. (See Spring 2015 Roundtable on the New Orleans Writing Marathon.) We are open to any topic that would benefit from many perspectives. Please query us with your ideas.
- We seek to facilitate conversations between teachers of nonfiction. To do this, we seek work that addresses the pedagogy of nonfiction from many perspectives.
- We seek Pedagogy that addresses all levels of students, from first year composition to beginning and advanced creative writing undergraduates, to graduate students.
- This may include a reading list with explanation for a nonfiction course, a Riff addressing how a particular book worked (or failed) in a course you've taught, a lesson plan with writing exercises, or other aspect of practical pedagogy, your credo or philosophy of nonfiction. These are only a few ideas; Pedagogy is a flexible forum and we are open to the conversation.
- We also seek scholarly articles of nonfiction pedagogy, but we will consider them under Articles guidelines.
In the classroom: syllabi, My Favorite Essay to Teach, Writers to Read
We seek submissions of 750 words or less for our ongoing blog series. Submissions should be provocative, in the sense of starting conversations with our readers. Because of the space requirements, language should be tight and luminous, the point sharp and bright.
- "My Favorite Essay to Teach": tell us about a favorite essay to teach, how you approach it, how students respond, etc. Give us a glimpse into your classroom.
- "Nonfiction Writers to Read": tell us about what you're reading. It can be an old favorite, a newly published book, a text you're teaching. If somebody has already posted on the book you're reading, feel free to send in a differing opinion on it. Our goal here is to compile a resource list of texts. You could also write up brief reviews of the nonfiction published in the new issues of literary journals, for this series.
- If you're looking for inspiration, consider reading responses you might have written for a class or past AWP panel papers that are collecting dust. Blog posts need to be more than general discussions of a work.
- Click here to check out the In the Classroom archives.