We're working a bit more slowly than usual. To those of you with outstanding submissions, we appreciate your patience! 

The Schooner’s intention is to publish the best and most interesting writing available, both from beginning  and established writers. We publish short stories, poems, 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 particularly welcome work by writers of color and writers who come from disenfranchised or previously disenfranchised backgrounds. 

We do not prefer to 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 4 -5 months for a reply. (We know, we're a little behind, and we appreciate your patience!)

In principle, the 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  the Schooner before you submit. Sample copies are available below for just $9.00. 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 Raz-Shumaker 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 $3,000 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 15th to all types of creative nonfiction essays up to 5,000 words.

The winner will receive $1,000 and publication in our Spring 2024 issue.

This year's guest judge is Safiya Sinclair. 

Safiya Sinclair was born and raised in Montego Bay, Jamaica. She is the author of the memoir How to Say Babylon, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, finalist for the Women’s Prize in Non-Fiction and the Kirkus Prize, and longlisted for the OCM Bocas Prize. How to Say Babylon was one of the New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of the year, a Washington Post Top 10 Book of 2023, a TIME Magazine Top 10 Nonfiction Book of 2023, one of The Atlantic’s 10 Best Books of 2023, a Read with Jenna/TODAY Show Book Club pick, and one of President Barack Obama’s Favorite Books of 2023. 

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 2025 issue of the Schooner, in which the winning essay will appear.

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

This contest is administered anonymously. Editorial Assistants, Assistant Nonfiction Editors, the Guest Judge, and the Editor in Chief of the Schooner are not privy to submitters' identifying information.

If you have a problem with your submission, please write to Managing Editor Siwar Masannat at prairieschooner@unl.edu.

Now in our 95th year of continuous publication, the Schooner seeks to publish the most interesting work 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!

Featuring a "Journeys" themed portfolio edited by Ama Codjoe, Summer 2023 includes work by Allen Stein, Arunie Kashyap, Sarah Jordan, Felicity Sheehy, Yvanna Lien Tica, Heather Tillery, Nancy Miller Gomez, Anika Gupta, Rachel Tandoc Donalson, Rachel Lipscomb, Makayla Gay, Afton Montgomery, Kurt Caswell, Jo-Anne Wallace, Victoria Chang, Brittany Rogers, Jake Skeets, David Naimon, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Yalie Saweda Kamara, Leslie Sainz, Donika Kelly, Emily Lee Luan, Tianna Clark, Sahar Romani, francine j. harris, Charleen McClure, Maya Marshall, Simon Shieh, Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, N'ou Revilla, Wendy S. Walters, Jeff Janssens, Marissa Davis, Haesong Kwon, Ajanae Dawkins, Mohammad Hakima, Xiao Yue Shan, Jos Charles, Traci Brimhall, Anni Liu, and Tariq Luthun. 


Now in our 95th 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. 

If you're looking to buy a specific back issue, please indicate which one you want in the form. Otherwise, we'll just pick out one of our favorite recent issues and send it your way. 

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