Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies
Assay publishes the best peer-reviewed critical scholarship of creative nonfiction to provide a space for work that elevates the genre in an academic setting. While there is no shortage of craft pieces and craft texts, the focus of nonfiction analysis has been on the art of the genre. Critical scholarship that studies nonfiction as literature, not simply art, is lacking in our genre. Our purpose is to facilitate all facets of that conversation to be a resource for writers, scholars, readers, and teachers of nonfiction.
Our online format makes research materials more accessible to scholars, but it also utilizes the available technology to expand the discussion. In addition to the written expression of nonfiction criticism, Assay provides the space for both written and video interviews with writers, as well as providing for more informal discussions of reading and teaching in the genre.
- We DO NOT accept submissions of creative nonfiction and we DO NOT accept submissions of scholarly articles on fiction or poetry.
- We only accept unpublished material; we ask for first serial rights and the publication rights revert to you after publication.
- We encourage simultaneous submissions, but please let us know if your work is being considered elsewhere--and if it is accepted, please inform us immediately.
- Response time is generally within 6-8 weeks. If you have not heard in this time frame, please feel free to send and email and ask.
- We publish twice a year: October 1 and April 1.
- Submission periods are April 1-June 1 and October 1-December 1.
- Revise and Resubmit submissions will be treated as brand new submissions, without history or expectation of publication.
- It is our policy to respond as quickly as possible while maintaining editorial thoroughness of the peer-review process because we are also writers and we respect the time commitment on the part of the writers. For this reason, we encourage simultaneous submissions (but please let us know if this is the case). If your work is accepted elsewhere, please let us know immediately.
We are looking for formal academic scholarship on nonfiction texts, techniques, and authors. We welcome all critical lenses, from ecocriticism to postcolonialism and beyond, on texts from traditional to experimental. We seek a wide variety of texts and approaches. Articles should follow MLA style and formatting and be in the 15-25 page range, and must include a Works Cited page.
- We tend to dislike articles that include "this article will" types of phrasing.
- Though we also prefer that you not write in first person (particularly first person plural), we have also seen excellent meldings of creative and critical approaches and we are open to all modes of criticism.
- Accepted articles should expect editing to fit our style and content standards.
- Please conform to MLA standards for formatting and citations. More information can be found at the Purdue OWL.
- Kelly Harwood, "Then and Now: A Study of Time Control in Scott Russell Sanders' "Under the Influence"
- Scott Russell Morris, "The Idle Hours of Charles Doss, or The Essay As Freedom and Leisure"
- Creighton Nicholas Brown, "Educational Archipelago: Alternative Knowledges and the Production of Docile Bodies in Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place and Marjane Satrapi’s The Complete Persepolis"
- Harriet Hustis, "The Only Survival, The Only Meaning": The Structural Integrity of Thornton Wilder's Bridge in John Hersey's Hiroshima"
The conversations section includes short, informal discussions of a craft element or reaction to a work of nonfiction (book length or otherwise) or a nonfiction author. Typically, this section is 1000-3000 words, but the length limits are very flexible. One mistake we often see: submissions that are too general and do not reference the original text enough. Make sure yours does both. Don't worry too much about length--make sure you cover your subject.
- Jody Keisner, "“Did I Miss a Key Point?”: A Study of Repetition in Joan Didion’s Blue Nights"
- Barrie Jean Borich, "Deep Portrait: On the Atmosphere of Nonfiction Character"
- Julija Sukys, "In Praise of Slim Volumes: Big Book, Big Evil"
- William Bradley, "On the Pleasure of Hazlitt"
We seek formal and informal pedagogy that addresses all levels of students, from first year composition to beginning and advanced creative writing undergraduates, to graduate students. Pedagogy work does need to be more than "lore," and we do tend to prefer work that is at least informed by pedagogical scholarship (where appropriate).
- Bernice M. Olivas, "Politics of Identity in the Essay Tradition"
- Crystal N. Fodrey, "Teaching CNF Writing to College Students: A Snapshot of CNF Pedagogical Scholarship"
- DeMisty Bellinger-Delfield, "Exhibiting Speculation in Nonfiction: Teaching "What He Took"
- Christian Exoo, "Using CNF to Teach the Realities of Intimate Partner Violence to First Responders: An Annotated Bibliography"
- Stephanie Guedet, "Feeling Human Again: Toward a Pedagogy of Radical Empathy"