Fiction Submission Period:
Jan. 1 through Feb. 15
Doris Betts Fiction Prize competition guidelines
Creative Nonfiction Submission Period:
February 15 through April 1
Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize competition guidelines
Poetry Submission Period:
Mar. 15 through Apr. 30
James Applewhite Poetry Prize competition guidelines
ATTENTION WRITERS: NCLR uses Submittable 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 instructions about using Submittable, click on the SUBMIT ONLINE tab above.
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. 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.
SPECIAL FEATURE SECTION: Much of each issue is thematically focused, but creative writing submissions (considered through our competitions) do not have to focus on an issue's theme.
Direct questions about the special feature section (and suggestions for future topics) to the Editor.
Ideas for future special feature topics are very welcome! Please send the (literary) topic you would like to see us explore to the Editor.
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 (poetry, fiction, and cnf submitted through our competitions) that hearken back to special feature topics of past issues. See below regarding submission periods and deadlines for the creative genres.
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 (poetry, fiction, and cnf submitted through our competitions). We are particularly interested in articles and interviews that introduce new North Carolina writers or re-introduce neglected North Carolina writers. See below regarding submission periods and deadlines for the creative genres.
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. Please consult NCLR’s documentation style sheet to format your source documentation. See above to determine which section of the issue your critical essay or interview would be appropriate for.
NEW: JOHN EHLE PRIZE: One mission of the North Carolina Literary Review is to promote forgotten or neglected writers of the Old North State. To this end, we have recently arranged for a $250 honorarium for the author of the best paper on a neglected or forgotten writer published in our pages. Submit for prize consideration through Submittable by August 31 of each year. Submissions can be to any section of the issue (feature, Flashbacks, or NC Miscellany) and can be literary criticism or an interview. All submissions are blind reviewed by appropriate literary scholars. In the event that more than one paper or interview recommended for publication in a given year are deemed eligible for this prize, a panel of judges will be convened by the editor to select which will receive the prize. The premiere prize will be funded by Press 53 of Winston-Salem.
NEW: PAUL GREEN PRIZE: NCLR is collaborating with the Paul Green Foundation to inspire scholarship on the works of North Carolina’s preeminent playwright, the author of The Lost Colony. The Paul Green Foundation will provide a $250 honorarium to the author of the best Paul Green–related content accepted for publication in the North Carolina Literary Review. Submit for prize consideration through Submittable by August 1 of each year (use the Flashbacks category, unless your submission is relevant to the year's special feature section theme). Submissions will be blind reviewed by appropriate experts on Paul Green. All submissions will also be considered for publication. Scholars interested in this opportunity might consider applying for an Archie K. Davis Fellowship for funds to visit the Southern Historical Collection at UNC Chapel Hill, where the Paul Green Papers are located (note: Davis fellowship applications are due by March 1 each year).
NCLR encourages writers to submit relevant art and photography with articles and interviews. Find image guidelines here.
NCLR also publishes high-quality Creative Writing by North Carolina writers or set in North Carolina (no connection to special feature section topic necessary). Again, 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.
All poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction must be submitted through
the competitions described below.
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 NCLR's Fiction Editor chooses the winning story, which is published in the next year's issue. 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; winner and finalists announced by May 1.
Creative Nonfiction is accepted February 15 trhough April 1 for the Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize competition. The winner receives $1000 and publication in NCLR. Finalists will also be considered for publication in either the print or online issue. See the competition guidelines for more information. The submission deadline is April 1; winner and finalists will be notified within four months. (Please note that this is a new reading period for cnf submissions!)
Poetry submissions are accepted March 15 through April 30 for NCLR’s James Applewhite Poetry Prize competition. The winner receives $250 and publication in NCLR. Finalists will also be considered for publication. See the competition guidelines for more information. The submission deadline is April 30; winner and finalists will be notified within four months.
One-Act Plays are also welcome. If related to the special feature section topic, submit by that deadline (Aug. 31 of the preceding year). Other drama submissions are accepted March 1 through June 1. If your one-act play is not related to the special feature section, submit it to the North Carolina Miscellany section unless it is related to a past special feature section, in which case, submit to the Flashbacks section.
What are your page length requirements?
See the length limits in the Albright (creative nonfiction), 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.
How do I submit my work to NCLR?
NCLR is using Submittable to handle submissions. The submission process is entirely online. If you have not used Submittable before, go to the Submit Online 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 or some other reason that you cannot submit electronically, please contact us via our submissions email address.
What is the current response time for submissions?
See the Albright (creative nonfiction), Betts (fiction), and Applewhite (poetry) competition guidelines regarding notification timeline for these submissions. For other submissions, we try to respond within 1-3 months. We welcome your gentle reminders if we have not responded within these time periods.
Are you a refereed publication?
Yes, although we do solicit some content. Scholarly submissions and uninvited interviews are refereed, and even solicited interviews are not guaranteed publication until members of the editorial staff and board approve them. Most of the creative writing we publish is considered through blind submission to the competitions we manage.
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.