The Essay Review at the University of Iowa is now open for submissions for the Essay Review Prize. $300 and publication in our Spring 2020 issue will be awarded to the best essay providing critical commentary on the form. All submissions will be considered for publication.  

What we are looking for: 

We are seeking essays that offer forward-thinking commentary on the genre. We interpret the idea of the critical essay liberally. Submissions may exist anywhere along the spectrum of traditional analysis to creative and/or experimental in form. Submissions should contribute to the ongoing conversation on the genre, its current trends, evolving shape, etc.  

How to Submit: 

Send submissions to Deadline for submissions is April 10, 2020The winner for the 2020 Essay Review Prize will be announced in May.  


  1. All manuscripts must be in 12pt, Times New Roman font.
  2. All manuscripts must be double spaced with 1″ margins.
  3. If you choose to include graphics, please attach them separately, and indicate where they belong in your manuscript. Images should always be in high resolution.
  4. We do not have a minimum or maximum page limit, though we favor manuscripts between 2-25 pages.
  5. We allow multiple submissions.
  6. All manuscripts must be saved as Word documents.
  7. If including a works cited, please use MLA format.

About The Essay Review: 

Uniquely suited to today’s voices, the essay has been called the ideal literary form for the 21st century. The form’s current renaissance has opened space for critical work that synthesizes and interprets the essays that converse with our world. Based out of the University of Iowa, The Essay Review is a yearly online journal seeking to publish original critical work that explores, investigates, and illuminates the essay’s limitations and possibilities as they emerge in real time. 

Previous contributors to The Essay Review include Kiese Laymon, Jeff Porter, David Lazar, Ned Stuckey-French, and David Shields, among many others.