Interview and Critical Essay Submission Deadline:
ATTENTION WRITERS: NCLR uses Submittable (https://nclr.submittable.com/submit) to handle submissions online. Please read through these guidelines before submitting to NCLR. Note the reading periods and deadlines for the various genres of writing that we publish. For help and information about using Submittable, go to SUBMIT ONLINE.
NCLR publishes interviews and literary criticism about North Carolina writers and high-quality poetry, fiction, drama, and creative nonfiction by North Carolina writers or set in North Carolina.
SPECIAL FEATURE SECTION: Much of each issue is thematically focused, so potential contributors should note the forthcoming special feature topics.
Direct questions about the special feature section to the Editor.
NCLR editors are considering special features topics for issues published after 2014. Suggestions are welcome.
The special feature section is just one section of each issue. Content throughout the rest of the issue varies.
In this section of each issue, we publish articles, interviews, and creative writing that hearken back to special feature topics of past issues.
A portion of each issue is open to other NORTH CAROLINA-related writers and writing (not related to the special feature section topic), including interviews with North Carolina writers, literary criticism (without academic jargon) on North Carolina writers, and creative writing by North Carolina writers. We are particularly interested in articles and interviews that introduce new North Carolina writers or re-introduce neglected North Carolina writers. Word count varies. A survey of back issues would better demonstrate our eclectic interests than a phrase or two might manage. We usually do not accept previously published material.
Literary criticism on North Carolina writers and Interviews with North Carolina writers should be submitted as a Word file, double-spaced, with 1-inch margins. Sources should be documented in MLA note style (i.e., with citations inserted into notes rather than keyed to a Works Cited list; see NCLR’s documentation style sheet to format your source documentation).
NCLR also publishes high-quality Creative Writing by North Carolina writers or set in North Carolina (no connection to special feature section topic necessary). Our definition of a North Carolina writer is anyone who currently lives in North Carolina, has lived in North Carolina, or uses North Carolina as subject matter.
Creative Nonfiction and One-Act Plays may be submitted from August 1 through December 1. When submitting, please include an abstract of your Creative Nonfiction or One-Act Play. Creative Nonfiction may be on any subject (as long as the writer has a North Carolina connection). However, should a writer choose to submit a personal essay about these common themes—sense of place, returning home, race relations, and the Civil War—the essay must offer a new perspective or fresh insight.
Fiction submissions are accepted January 1 through February 15 for the Doris Betts Fiction Prize competition, sponsored by the North Carolina Writers Network, which awards the author of other winning story $250. NCLR handles the submissions for the Network and chooses the winning story, which is published in the next year's issue. The Network awards the winner $250. Finalists will also be considered for publication. The competition guidelines can be found on the North Carolina Writers Network website. The submission deadline is February 15; winners announced by May 1.
Poetry (up to and no more than 5 pages) submissions are accepted March 15 through May 1 for NCLR’s James Applewhite Poetry Prize competition, sponsored by a grant from the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation. The winner will receive $250 and be published in NCLR. Finalists will also be considered for publication. See the competition guidelines for more information. The submission deadline is May 1; winners will be announced in September at the Eastern North Carolina Literary Homecoming.
** All poetry and fiction must be submitted through the Doris Betts Fiction Prize and James Applewhite Poetry Prize competitions.
NCLR encourages writers to submit relevant art and photography with articles and interviews.
What are your page length requirements?
See the length limits in the Betts (fiction) and Applewhite (poetry) competitions. We do not have specific length limits for other submissions. We don't like the idea of losing good material because someone was trying to stay under a specific word count. The pattern seems to be that the longer articles/interviews in an issue run about 5000 words. Creative nonfiction and one-act plays are usually around the same length as the fiction we publish from the Betts contest.
How do I submit my work to NCLR?
NCLR is using Submittable to handle submissions. The submission process is entirely online. We do not accept submissions by mail. Go to the online submissions page for additional help to get started.
Do you still take submissions via US Mail?
We prefer not to and will request of those who mail submissions to us to resubmit electronically. If there is some problem with the online submission process, please contact the submissions manager. If there is some other reason that you cannot submit electronically, please contact the submissions manager, and she will advise.
What is the current response time for submissions?
See the Betts and Applewhite competition guidelines regarding notification timeline for fiction and poetry submissions. For other creative writing, we try to respond within 1-3 months, assuming writers have submitted within the reading period noted above. For special feature section submissions, we try to respond in 1 to 3 months after the August 31 deadline.
Do you consider previously published work?
On rare occasions (and usually within the special feature section), NCLR publishes previously published work, but usually only a work that is no longer available. Please check with the editor before submitting work that has been published elsewhere.