L’Esprit Literary Review publishes work written in the fearless, risk-adept, and revolutionary spirit of High Modernism. We accept short fiction, creative non-fiction, novel extracts, drama, literary criticism, book reviews, artwork, and photography. General submissions are currently closed. We remain open to reviews, critical work, and essay proposals, as well as artwork and photography. During open reading periods (announced here, on social media, and in our newsletter), find us on Submittable.
There is no fee for submitting. Please include the following:
- Your name, and the title and genre (fiction, CNF, criticism, review, etc.) of your piece.
- A third-person bio, to be used as the contributor’s note should your work be accepted.
- Social media handles (Twitter and Instagram), if you’d like to be promoted online.
- An optional cover letter to introduce the work, yourself, or provide some context to your submission; please note that this in no way impacts the likelihood of publication.
- Finally, we would appreciating knowing how you found the journal (social, ad listing, database search, reference, etc).
We also accept submissions via email should Submittable be infeasible. Kindly send your work via Pages, PDF, or Docx attachment to email@example.com.
L’Esprit does not discriminate based on background, education, or identity of those who send work to us. All work is evaluated solely on merit, without regard for any other consideration whatsoever. We encourage those of all backgrounds and experiences to send in their work, and look for writing exploring the range of the human condition.
Both simultaneous and multiple submissions (across genres or within the same genre; no more than two at a time) are welcome; please do let us know if a piece is under consideration elsewhere, and if it is accepted. We invite work in translation; it is the translator’s responsibility to secure all necessary permissions before submitting. Similarly, we accept previously published work, so long as the author has full rights and informs us of the original publisher so that we may credit them. Please only submit once (up to two pieces) before hearing back. To ensure we remain equally open to all, we must limit contributors to one publication per issue, but are happy to feature further work by past contributors in future issues.
We aim to reply to all submissions within six weeks. All entries are judged by the editorial staff—we accept approximately 3% of submissions, and strive to build issues of outstanding literary merit. L’Esprit reserves all publication rights for each issue’s design and content, as well as for first North American publishing rights. Please note that work accepted for one of our full issues will be published in print, digital, and online formats. The journal also retains rights to use works for promotional and publicity pieces. We nominate for the Pushcart and other literary awards. Authors and artists retain their rights for future publication and use, but we ask that L’Esprit be credited with original publication.
All submissions will be considered for both our full issues, which are published in print, digital, and online formats, and our quarterly editions, which appear online only. Accepted pieces will be placed in either a forthcoming issue or quarterly, with all such decisions made at the sole discretion of the editors.
Edits will be done collaboratively, between the editorial staff and the author. All final decisions are at the discretion of the author. We accept pieces on an intermittently rolling basis. Submissions will open and close at the discretion of the Editor, and these announcements will be made both here and on social media. We currently offer a modest honorarium of $10 per published work as payment. Issues are published in April and October; Quarterlies in Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. We encourage work to be read in the order in which it appears on the table of contents, as each issue is put together with consideration to theme, rhythm, and an overall narrative-stylistic progression.
We look for ambitious, voice-driven literary fiction and criticism that emphasizes consciousness and interiority in the Modernist tradition. Please no genre work. We seek writing that takes risks on the sentence level and is propelled by dynamic, poetic language. We also look for criticism that engages literary work on a critical, technical, mechanical, and/or theoretical level, including book reviews and essays. For an overall indication of what we seek, see previous issues and the essay “100 Years of Modernity”, originally published here and reprinted in Issue Zero, which serves as our aesthetic manifesto.
Formatting: For all submissions, please use Times New Roman or similar, 12 or 11pt., 1.5 or 2x line spacing, maximum two pieces per contributor per reading period. We prefer but do not insist upon footnotes over endnotes and Chicago style of citation. Please see genre-specific guidelines below.
Short Fiction and Prose: Up to 7,000 words; this limit is flexible and not overly important. We do not make a distinction as to flash fiction; we have no minimum word count requirement and will consider flash length work. We will also consider autotheory, personal essays, and narrative-driven non-fiction that explore their subject matter with the fearless, unabashed honesty of Modernism’s revolutionary tradition.
Novel Extracts: Too often excerpt guidelines are thinly disguised demands for long short stories. L’Esprit searches for extracts rather than excerpts in the hopes of finding work that is a distillation of the whole, sliced from the manuscript without regard for the constraints traditionally associated with the medium. L’Esprit extracts absolutely do not need to stand alone; simply send us the best section of your novel–with respect to language, technique, and vision–that you have. Up to 7,000 words; this limit is flexible and not overly important.
Reviews and Criticism: We are open to book reviews and critical essays, be it a pitch or the finished product.
For a pitch, no secret formula is required; simply describe the piece in mind with a fair amount of detail and vision, sent to our email or Submittable. L’Esprit is open to critical work of ambition and scope; we understand that these pieces are hard to place in the current literary landscape, and as such welcome pitches in hopes of being considerate of the writer’s time and energies. We review all proposals carefully, and will work to come to a shared vision before asking for the finished product.
Reviews can be of books new or old, and critical essays should engage with one or multiple works on a theoretical-technical level (scholarly pieces using citations are especially welcome). If you have a piece which in some way engages smartly with literature but may not fit easy definition, email us; we’re likely interested. Please see our previously published essays for an idea of the range of work we seek, but note that we’re always open to something new. Word count is again flexible here–approximately 800-1,200 for reviews; essays need what they need.
Artwork and Photography: L’Esprit is also open to submissions of original works of art and photography, to be used as accompaniments to stories in each issue. They should be high-resolution, 300+ DPI images, in black-and-white. Both landscape and portrait orientation accepted. Please see past issues (beginning with Issue One) for a sense of the type of work we seek.
Payments: We are currently able to pay contributors a small honorarium for their work, generated from the funds we receive from the submission options detailed below. We pay $10 per published piece of writing, and hope to increase this amount in the future. For accepted artwork and photography, we offer a high quality digital copy of the issue in which the work appears. All prose contributors who appear in a full issue will also receive a digital copy.
Tip Jar, Expedited Response, and Editorial Feedback: L’Esprit is entirely non-profit. Funds from these options are used to pay our contributors and maintain the journal. Please note that the payment links below are for email submissions; our paid response options are also available on Submittable.
Expedited Response: For a small fee, you may opt to receive an expedited response to your submission. These submissions will be given reading priority by the L’Esprit staff, and we will have a decision on your work within three days. If you have selected this option, please so indicate in the subject line of your submission email.
Editorial Feedback: The two options for editorial feedback consist of critical analysis and commentary on the submission, including strengths, weaknesses, and areas to consider for revision. This feedback is grounded in literary criticism and questions of craft. It is aimed at providing an editorial viewpoint on how the work is being read and helping the writer unlock their work’s fullest potential. If you have selected one of these options, please so indicate in the subject line of your submission email so that we may verify this in the journal’s accounts. The feedback will then be included in the reply to your work. If you are submitting more than one piece, please indicate for which piece you would like to receive feedback. Note that, should a piece with a request for feedback be accepted for publication at L’Esprit, you may send a different piece to receive feedback in its place.
L’Esprit is on PayPal at @LEspritLit and Venmo @LEspritLit. Below, you will find direct payment links via PayPal account or by credit/debit card. All Editorial and Expedited options are available via any of these methods, as well as on Submittable. If you submit by email, please mention your payment in your cover letter. We also gratefully accept Tip Jar donations, in any amount, via these methods.
Used to help us pay contributors and maintain the journal. Thank you!
A prioritized reading of and response to your work. Decision made within three days.
One to two paragraphs of detailed editorial feedback on your submission. This will highlight strengths and weaknesses of the work, and areas to consider for future revisions.
One page of detailed editorial feedback on your submission. This will highlight strengths and weaknesses of the work, and areas to consider for future revisions.
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