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jeriwb, jeri walker-bickett, the author's craft, how to write, short fiction, short stories

My past efforts at keeping up with the best in fiction and nonfiction involved reading yearly anthologies. Now that I’ve decided to submit work to literary journals, it’s imperative my familiarity with various publications grows. As part of my editorial internship, I recently presented on The Missouri Review. While it’s among the most popular journals, I felt compelled to learn more because The Missouri Review is a prime example of a magazine embracing text in the digital age. Such journals are typically funded through university endowments and maintain high standards. Competition for publication is fierce. While I may have no qualms about self-publishing, another part of me respects the process of subjecting my writing to such scrutiny. 

THE MISSOURI REVIEW has a “reputation for finding and publishing the very best authors first” and has been doing so since 1978. Speer Morgan has been the editor-in-chief since 1980. Over twenty graduate and undergraduate interns are mentored each semester. The publication has been through three design overhauls and is continually at the forefront of content digitization.

Cover image of the Missouri ReviewIssues typically include five stories, three poetry features, two essays, art feature, interview, and book reviews. Annual contest winners also appear along with special projects such as “History as Literature” and “Found Texts.”

  • Print $24 / Digital $20 ( enhanced w/ audio)
  • Single Issues $8.95 (print only)
  • FREE t-shirt with two- or three-year subscription
  • Donations accepted
  • Breaking Away: Experimental Fiction (print only via website, currently SOLD OUT)

“You like me! You really like me!”

Authors in all stages of their careers have been published in The Missouri Review and their works have been anthologized over 100 times in The Best American Series, The O. Henry Prize Anthology, and The Pushcart Prize. First-time authors published in the journal have gone on to win the National Book Award, the Yale Younger Poets Award, MacArthur Foundation “Genius” awards, and the Pulitzer Prize.

Emerging writers published include Katie Chase, Nathan Hogan, Jennie Lin, Susan Ford, and Elisabeth Fairchild. A sampling of notable contributors include Joyce Carol Oates, Tobias Wolff, Joy Williams, David Foster Wallace, William Stafford, Wally Lamb, and Andrea Barrett.

Submission Guidelines

The Missouri Review currently receives 12,000 submissions a year (one percent acceptance). They do not solicit manuscripts. The staff reads year round, and writers can expect 10-12 weeks for a response. The author’s cover letter should state if the manuscript should be returned in an SASE with sufficient postage. Simultaneous submissions are okay if notification is given accepted elsewhere. The pay rate is $40 per printed page. Electronic submissions require a $3 service fee.

TMR strongly suggests readers familiarize themselves with selections from previous issues.

  • Fiction: Longer pieces (9,000 to 12,000 words) and “flash fiction” (under 2,000 words) must be exceptional to be published.
  • Nonfiction: General interest only, queries are welcome, excerpts must be able to stand alone.
  • Poetry: 8-20 pages of unpublished poetry.

[genre] Editor or contest category
The Missouri Review
357 McReynolds Hall
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65211

The Missouri Review offers the following annual contests:

The Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize in Fiction, Essay and Poetry ($5,000 each category).

  • October deadline; January announcement.
  • Winning entries are published in the journal.
  • $20 entry fee for each category. Must be submitted separately.
  • 25 typed, double-spaced pages for fiction and nonfiction; 10 single-spaced pages for any number of poems.
  • Previous winners and employees are not eligible, but past finalists can enter again.

Picture of Missouri Review Audio Fiction ContestThe Missouri Review’s Audio Contest ($1,000 each category plus runners up)

  • March deadline; October announcement.
  • Winners and select runners up get featured on the website and iTunes podcast.
  • You decide your entry fee (previously $20) which includes a TMR digital subscription.
  • 15 minutes or less for each poetry, prose, or audio documentary submission.
  • Previously published or aired submissions are welcome if you own the rights.

Prizes for Authors Published in The Missouri Review

  • The Peden Prize for Short Fiction ($1,000)
  • The Tom Mcafe Discovery Feature
  • The Perkoff Prize in Poetry ($500)

Digital Appeal

The Missouri Review goes above and beyond to create an immersive reading experience for tech-savvy literature lovers. In the mid-1980s, it was one of the first magazine in the world to have an online site. This commercial site was originally called The Source. As with the print version, their website is refining itself for the modern age.

  • Little Black Book of Fiction (a .99 cent iPad app featuring story types and audio intros)
  • textBox is a free online anthology (printable pdfs are available)
  • iTunes Podcast (free)
  • Newsletter: announcements of contests, events, and special offers
  • Blog posts on a variety of appropriate topics.

My goal with participating in NaNoWriMo this year is so I can write rough drafts of short stories and essays I can then polish and begin to send to literary journals. After making the rounds, I can then use material for upcoming eBooks since most literary journals only ask for first rights. I also plan to enter TMR’s audio contest as it is open to previously published material (such as blog posts). Here’s to becoming the type of hybrid author this day and age demands…   

Has something you’ve written ever been selected for a prize or publication? Remember, no form of recognition is too small. Please share 🙂

Cover title of The Missouri Review

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