Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Kenyon Review Reading Period Begins September 15

The Kenyon Review will begin accepting submissions through its online submissions site on September 15, 2010 and the submissions period will continue through January 15, 2011. Short fiction, poetry, drama, essays, and translations will be accepted for both the magazine and KROnline from a single pool of submissions.

KR Editor David Lynn writes:

Reading submissions is the most important work that we do. We receive thousands of submissions over the course of our reading period, and we give each of them careful consideration. Our standards are high. We ask, “Does this poem or story or essay offer surprise and delight? Does it seem fresh, necessary, startling? Does the author—young or not so young, someone of established distinction or a talent as yet undiscovered—display a mastery of language, especially as necessary to this particular piece?”

What we publish in print in The Kenyon Review, on the one hand, and electronically in KROnline, on the other, will be different in tone and timeliness, and will probably speak to different audiences as well. Nevertheless, it’s our mission to offer a great variety of literature all held to the highest of standards.

How does this process of evaluation work? KR’s offices are in Gambier, Ohio, a lovely wooded village, but very far from any graduate program in creative writing which would allow us to draw readers from among the advanced students and faculty. Instead, we have a tree of readers, beginning with our Kenyon Review Associates, who are themselves carefully selected from a highly competitive pool of student applicants. Before the Associates even begin to read new work, they spend time with our editors, discussing the skill and the art of evaluating stories and poems and essays that are fresh, sometimes rough, but very different from what they usually find in their textbooks for classes.

As part of this training process, we work together through a number of samples. Once they are assigned a set of manuscripts, Associates work in teams of two, and if one reader feels a manuscript warrants further consideration, it will be passed up to a higher branch of the tree, where one of our consulting editors will evaluate it in turn. All of this sharing, collaboration, and discussion is aided by our online submission process—it would be almost impossible were we still slinging about shipping boxes full of paper manuscripts.

The point here is not merely that we pay individual attention to the precious creations of writers from around the world. We do so because we know that amidst these thousands of unsolicited submissions lie the gems that will make up the bulk of The Kenyon Review and KROnline. It’s the labor necessary to fulfill our mission. We wouldn’t want it any other way.

Submission information at

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