Submission Guidelines

L’Esprit Literary Review accepts short fiction, creative non-fiction, novel extracts, literary criticism, and book reviews. General submissions are currently open. During open reading periods (announced here, on social media, and in our newsletter), kindly send your work via email attachment (Pages, PDF, or Docx) to

There is no fee for submitting. Please include the following:

  • An email subject line with your name, and the title and genre (fiction, CNF, criticism, review) 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).

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 has been accepted elsewhere. We welcome 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 two months. All entries are judged by the editorial staff. L’Esprit reserves all publication rights for each issue’s design and content, as well as for first North American publishing rights. 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.

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 Twitter and Instagram. We currently offer a modest honorarium as payment. Issues will be published online in April and October. 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 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. 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 personal essays and creative 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. Word count is of negative importance here.

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. 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). Please see our previously published essays for an idea of the range of work we seek. Word count is again flexible here–approximately 800-1,200 for reviews; essays need what they need.

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 hope to increase the amount in the future.

Tip Jar, Expedited Response, and Editorial Feedback: Funds from these options are used to pay our contributors.

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 so that we may verify this in the journal’s PayPal account.

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. 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 PayPal account. 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.

Please note that L’Esprit is also on Venmo, @LEspritLit. All Editorial and Expedited options are available there. If you use this means of payment, please mention it in your cover letter. We also gratefully accept Tip Jar donations, in any amount, via that method.

Tip Jar

Used to help us pay contributors. Thank you!


Expedited Response

A prioritized reading of and response to your work. Decision made within one week.


Editorial Feedback–Paragraph

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.


Editorial Feeback–Page

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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