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.

General Guidelines:

  • 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  • We only accept unpublished material; we ask for first serial rights and the publication rights revert to you after publication.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.
  • Revise  and Resubmit submissions will be treated as brand new submissions,  without history or expectation of publication. 

Our Process:

  • 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.

For inspiration, 

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.

For inspiration:

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).

For inspiration:

We seek to collect and archive nonfiction syllabi from many disciplines and on many topics. Please see our existing resource here.
Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies