What we’re looking for: The Maine Review seeks outstanding contemporary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, including works in translation and hybrid forms. We are pleased to publish new, emerging, and established writers, and are committed to supporting representation, innovation, and literary artistry.

We encourage submitters to read what we’ve published, and whatever you send our way, please carefully read our guidelines. Submissions that do not adhere to them may be unread.

What we’re NOT looking for:

We will not publish work that normalizes hatred of any marginalized group or individual, though submitted work may thoughtfully consider subjects of discrimination.

We do not publish academic papers or news writing.

General Guidelines:

  • We accept submissions only through Submittable. Submissions must be previously unpublished in print and on the internet.
  • We encourage simultaneous submissions, but please withdraw your submission immediately if it is accepted elsewhere. If part of a submission must be withdrawn, please notify us using Submittable's "message" function.
  • We encourage submissions from writers of all backgrounds, including but not limited to LGBTQIA++ writers, BIPOC writers, female-identifying writers, unpublished writers, writers with disabilities, and economically marginalized writers.
  • No personal information should appear in your submission file, title field, or file name.
  • Please address cover letters to the appropriate genre editor. In prose submissions, please include your word count in your cover letter.
  • We ask that contributors whose work we've published wait at least one year before submitting again.
  • Please send only one submission at a time. We do not accept and cannot refund multiple submissions.

Fiction and Nonfiction Formatting:

  • 12-point Times New Roman font
  • Double-spaced
  • 1” margins
  • Pages numbered
  • Please include the word count in your cover letter
  • Maximum 3,000 words or three flash pieces no more than 1,000 words each

Poetry Formatting:

  • 12-point Times New Roman font
  • Single-spaced (or as you would like the poem to appear online)
  • Pages numbered
  • Maximum three poems, no more than five pages total

Submission Schedule:

We are open for nonfiction, fiction, and poetry submissions from January 1-March 31, April 21-May 31, and September 1-November 30. We frequently open week-long free submission periods, during which the general submission periods will be paused.

*Please allow us six months before querying.*

We publish issues biannually in the spring and fall.

We also nominate for Pushcart, Best of the Net, and other awards.

Submission Fees:

We are a nonprofit organization and ask writers to pay a $3 fee per submission, of which we receive $1.86. This fee directly supports our authors, editors, and programs, and helps cover Submittable costs. If this submission fee is a barrier, please email info@mainereview.com for a link to a fee-waived submission. No explanation is needed. *Please do not email us your submission.*

All donations are tax-deductible and direct donations of any amount are also welcome at mainereview.com/donate. No matter what you give, we are grateful for your contribution and support of our publication!

Writer Payment:

Fiction and Nonfiction writers receive a $25 honorarium per published flash (1,000 words or fewer) and a $50 honorarium for work 1,001 words or more.

Poets receive a $25 honorarium per published poem.


From Nonfiction Editor Emily W. Blacker:

Send us your essays, stand-alone memoir excerpts, and works that defy categorization. We’re looking for art that surprises the heart, stimulates the mind and delights the senses. What does that mean? It means that language and form are primary and that the piece transcends reportage and pursues insight. Some examples of pieces we love? “A Thousand Drops” by Bernard Cooper, “The Pain Scale” by Eula Biss, “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid, “Just One Last Swirl Around the Bowl” by Dan Barry, “Leap” by Brian Doyle, “A Chapter on Red” by Jericho Parms. We seek various approaches and perspectives that make us see the world anew while connecting us to the common human core. We look forward to reading your writing. 

From Fiction Editor Brett Willis:

For tone, we’re looking for work that reflects your unique perspective. Show us what you see. We like our truth with a dash of humor. Empathy is essential. We prefer stories that come in under 3,000 words but will occasionally publish longer works—though as its length increases, so too must the story’s quality. Thank you for trusting us with your work. We look forward to reading it.

From Poetry Editor Rebecca Irene:

The Maine Review’s poetry team seeks work with musicality and fierceness, craft and cunning. We want lines that gut-punch, or caress, but always return to haunt. Authenticity and urgency are valued here. Hateful, phobic language is not. Some of the poets that quicken our blood: Lynda Hull, Claudia Rankine, Robert Lowell, Sharon Olds, Joshua Jennifer Espinoza, Franny Choi, Jericho Brown, Joseph O. Legaspi, Kaveh Akbar, Danez Smith, Anne Sexton, Ilya Kaminsky, Heather McHugh, Joy Harjo, and Valzhyna Mort. We look forward to reading your poems. 

Tell us about the books that stun you, that you can't stop thinking about. What books completely fulfilled or surpassed your expectations? What do you want to recommend to your friends? 

In botany, the radicle is the embryonic root of a seedling, the first part to break through the seed coat in the process of germination. We are particularly interested in elevating the voices of emergent writers, and at this time are focusing on reviews of authors’ first books, including first books in a new genre. If you’re unsure whether a book qualifies, you can reach out to chanel@mainereview.com to confirm.

Radicle Book Reviews will complement and live alongside our Radicle Author Interview Series

What we're looking for:

  • 800 - 1,000 words on fiction, non-fiction, poetry, translated work, graphic and hybrid works, or other books published in 2020, 2021, or forthcoming in 2022.
  • Releases from independent presses (a resource on independent publishers can be found here: https://blog.reedsy.com/independent-publishers/).
  • Reviews of books by BIPOC, LGBTQIA++, female-identifying, and authors with disabilities.
  • We are not publishing reviews of travel and tourism guides.
  • We encourage submissions from reviewers of all backgrounds, including but not limited to LGBTQIA++ writers, writers of color, female-identifying writers, unpublished writers, writers with disabilities, and international writers.

A good book review:

  • Is in-depth, not superficial, and reflects the reviewer’s voice rather than recapitulating other reviews or the dust jacket.
  • Is immediately absorbing.
  • Addresses the book’s significance, especially for the current moment.
  • Sparks the reader’s curiosity about the book and its author.

A good pitch:

  • Is concise.
  • Communicates: why this book, why you're the right person to review it, and why you should review it right now.

A pitch example:

Dear [Name of Editor],

I'm writing to pitch a review of Flesh of My Flesh: Sexual Violence in Modern Hebrew Literature by Ilana Szobel (State University of New York Press, 2021), should you have room in your queue. Szobel's interrogation of the treatment of sexual violence throughout Hebrew literature (from pre-state until the modern era) is a painfully relevant one, as Jewish organizations, communities, and the state of Israel itself struggle to deal with the knowledge that not only does sexual violence happen to us, but we are not exempt from stigmatizing survivors.

As a Jewish feminist who has published widely on the topics of religion and gender, (you can find my work in Lilith, the Forward, and Alma), I'm the right person to take on this book, which examines sexual violence through an intersectional lens, including in its analysis a lens on socio-economics, ethnicity, and sexuality, among others.

In my other book reviews, I've tackled Monologues from the Makom: Intertwined Narratives of Sexuality, Gender, Body Image, and Jewish Identity, Sheila Heiti's Motherhood, Soraya Chemaly's Rage Becomes Her, How to Survive Death and Other Inconveniences by Sue Silverman, and Maids, by Abby Frucht. You can find more of my work at Modern Fertility, Rewire, and New York Magazine.

Thank you for your time and attention.

Chanel Dubofsky

The Maine Review