We're working remotely and a bit more slowly than usual (and we know: the things people praise us for do not include speedy responses, even in the best of times!). We're working to get decisions back to those with outstanding submissions in for our consideration and appreciate your patience. 

Prairie Schooner’s intention is to publish the best writing available, both from beginning  and established writers. We publish short stories, poems, interviews, imaginative essays of  general interest, and reviews of current books of poetry and fiction.  Scholarly articles requiring footnote references should be submitted to  journals of literary scholarship.

We do not read simultaneous submissions, except in the case of contest submissions, and submissions must be received  between September 1 and May 1. We do not consider  work that has been previously published anywhere, including online  publications. We read as quickly as we can, but please allow 3-4 months for a reply. (We know, we're a little behind, and we're grateful for your patience!)

In principle, Prairie Schooner has no objections to the use of pseudonyms, but we require disclosure of their use to the editor before publication.

We encourage you to read Prairie Schooner before you submit. Sample copies are available below for just $6.00. There's never a fee to submit to our general reading period, and we're grateful for the support we receive through donations and orders.

Looking for the Prairie Schooner Book Prize Contest? For the sake of confidentiality, it's totally separate from normal submissions. Open annually from January 15 to March 15, for collections of short fiction and poetry, the fee to submit is $25, and the prize is $3k and publication through the University of Nebraska Press. Read more: https://prairieschoonerbookprizeseries.submittable.com/submit

Looking for the African Poetry Book Fund's Sillerman First Book Prize? It's also entirely separate, and it opens September 15 to submissions of book-length manuscripts by African poets who have not yet published a full-length collection. Read more: https://africanpoetrybookfund.submittable.com/submit

Our annual summer nonfiction contest opens May 15 to all types of creative nonfiction essays up to 5,000 words. The  entry fee is $20 and includes a copy of the Spring 2022 issue of Prairie Schooner, in which the winning essay will appear. 

The winner will receive $500 and publication in our Spring 2022 issue


Our guest judge is Dunya Mikhail whose nonfiction book, The Beekeeper: Rescuing the Stolen Women of Iraq, was a finalist for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award and long-listed for the National Book Award. Mikhail's poetry books include In Her Feminine Sign, selected as the Wild Card Choice (UK) and chosen by The New York Public Library as one of the ten best poetry books of 2019; The Iraqi Nights; Diary of A Wave Outside the Sea, which won the Arab American Book Award; and The War Works Hard, shortlisted for the Griffon Poetry Prize and named one of the New York Public Library’s Twenty-Five Books to Remember from 2005. She also edited a pamphlet of Iraqi poetry titled 15 Iraqi Poets. Her honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, United States Artists Fellowship, a Knights Foundation grant, a Kresge Fellowship, and the United Nations Human Rights Award for Freedom of Writing. 


Entries will consist of three parts: a cover letter, the essay manuscript, and the entry fee

Cover Letter: In the cover letter, include the submission's title and your  contact information, including e-mail address, phone number, and mailing address. Your name and contact info must not appear  anywhere within the manuscript itself (double-check headers and footers!). 

Essay Manuscript: The contest is open to all types of creative nonfiction essays up to 5,000 words. We're interested in reading imaginative essays of general interest. (Scholarly articles requiring footnote references should be submitted to journals of literary scholarship.) Manuscripts should be double-spaced and use a standard font, and, again, the submitter's name and contact info should not appear within the manuscript itself.

Entry Fee: Each submission must be accompanied by the $20.00 fee, which includes a copy of the Spring 2022 issue of Prairie Schooner, in which the winning essay will appear.

Multiple submissions are welcome and encouraged, but a separate entry fee must accompany each submission. 



$28.00 - 80.00
$28.00 - 80.00

Now in our 94th year of continuous publication, Prairie Schooner seeks to publish the best in contemporary poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and reviews. 


A one-year subscription includes 4 issues of the journal and will begin with the next issue. Select a two- or three-year subscription for an even better rate!




We seek engaging reviews that articulate in a clear voice ideas of craft but also of literary context and/or place the work in our socio-political present. We appreciate reviews that begin by establishing a context the work can be understood within, and we appreciate when the reviewer can step out of the way so that the review is dominated by a discussion of the book, and not a discussion of opinions and impressions--though we do, ultimately, want to see some kind of judgement.

We are particularly interested in reviews of books that can fairly be called diverse--we aim to publish a range of reviewers on a range of authors in each issue--and in reviews of authors' first books or recent translations. Books should be no more than eighteen months old by the time of publication (note that with our publication cycle, we are often reading to fill issues for two-three seasons from the time of submission). Reviews may consider a single book or take up two or three books together.

No previously published work, please. 

If you'd like to pitch us before writing the review, you're welcome to do so through this form, but please note that even if the pitch interests us, we can't offer publication until we've seen the full review.

Formatting: 

Reviews should be no longer than 1,000 words, double-spaced, and formatted using a standard font.

Please include the following information at the top of the review:

[Writer's Name]. [Title of book being reviewed]. [Press Name].
Reviewed by [Reviewer's Name]




Winter is here, and in many places it's been a cold one... but the good news is, our Winter Issue is out now, allowing you to experience the creative warmth of our excellent contributors while we await the glorious dawn of Spring. Our Winter Issue is jam-packed with poetry, fiction, essays, and reviews that will make you feel all the feelings. Inspired, devastated, amused, confused, curious, delighted, excited, melancholy, and more. Buy today. You will not regret it.

Now in our 90th year of continuous publication, Prairie Schooner seeks to publish the best in contemporary poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and reviews. 

We've got years of great issues full of excellent writing, and buying a sample copy is a great way to grab a taste of what we're all about. 

We'll just pick out one of our favorite recent issues and send it your way. If you're looking instead to find a specific back issue, go ahead and email us first at prairieschooner@unl.edu to double-check that we've got it, and then we'll send you back here to complete the transaction. 

Our readers' loyal support and enthusiasm for what we do is why we're able to keep producing one of the oldest literary magazines in the country. 

Consider making a donation to support our ongoing mission to bring great work from around the world out into the world. 

Prairie Schooner