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Decades of Fire: A Special Issue on Middle East and North Africa: April 2021-Nov 1 2021

Guest-Editor Huda Fakhreddine

The Michigan Quarterly Review is seeking contributions to a special issue on the Middle East and North Africa focused on the region’s political, social, and cultural transformations in the last three decades. In the early 1990’s as the Cold War was coming to an end, the U.S. launched a “new world order” with Desert Storm, a war on the Republic of  Iraq which had earlier attempted to annex the State of Kuwait. With unchecked American hegemony in the region and with American troops on the ground, the last three decades saw the region’s nation states weakening, their social fabrics fraying, and their economies shrinking. Furthermore, this same time period also saw a steep rise in radical fundamentalism and terrorism, revolutions and anti-revolutions, as well as an enormous increase in the region’s refugee populations. Michigan Quarterly Review has planned this special issue to examine a period of significant social change in the Middle East and North Africa and to present the voices of the region’s writers, thinkers, and artists as they grapple with this era and its future ramifications for their people and their world. 

For this special issue of MQR we are seeking articles, essays, memoirs, fiction and poetry in English translation that examine the impact the multiple tensions and conflicts of the last three decades have had on the people of the Middle East and North Africa. And we welcome articles, essays, and literary works that track the various social, cultural, and artistic developments and movements that have emerged in the region during this period.

We encourage submissions from migrant voices in the region, LGBTQIA+ voices, and writing from voices typically underrepresented in anthologies on the Middle East and North Africa.  We encourage submissions of translations from any language spoken in the region.

We also invite translators to send us their pitches for potential prose translations and submissions by sending texts in the original language accompanied by a 300-word introduction/rationale to mqr@umich.edu with the subject line “DECADES OF FIRE PITCH.”

If submittable is not accessible to you or you are unable to pay the fee for any reason please send us an email and we will arrange an alternative means of submission. 

Maximum length for articles, essays and works of fiction is 5,000 words. Poetry submissions must not exceed 10 pages.

Abstract painting with different shapes in blue, pink, yellow, and white.

General Submissions for the Print Journal: Open Aug 1-Nov 1

Submissions for the print journal will be accepted from January 15 to April 1 and August 1 to November 1. Average turnaround time is six months, but we may take longer and ask that you do not query us until a year has passed.

  • Simultaneous submissions are permitted. Please notify us immediately via Submittable if work is accepted elsewhere.
  • Please do not submit previously published work, including work published on a personal website.
  • Writers are advised to inspect a back copy of the journal before submitting work.
  • Previous contributors: please wait one year after your work appears in the journal to submit to us again.
  • We ask that you do not contact us about revising your work once it has been submitted.
  • MQR is a paying market.

Genre Specifications

Prose submissions: Manuscripts should be double-spaced. 1,500-7,000 words. All stories accepted for publication will be passed on to a judge as finalists for the $2000 Lawrence Prize. There is no additional fee for the prize beyond submission. The Judge for the 2021 Lawrence prize is Julie Buntin.

Poetry submissions: Please submit in between 3-6 poems in one document, not to exceed a total of 12 pages. Poems published in MQR by early career writers (those who have not yet published a full-length collection) will be considered for the Page Davidson Clayton Prize

Translations: Please submit translations in the appropriate genre. Please include biographical information for both the author and translator.

MQR Online: Submit author interviews and book reviews. Submissions should not be longer than 3,000 words. Nonfiction submitted to the print publication may be considered for MQR Online.

MQR accepts mailed submissions from incarcerated individuals. Other submissions via mail, email, or fax cannot be accepted and will not be read.  If you are a writer for whom Submittable is not accessible please email us at mqr@umich.edu for information on how to submit. 


Submissions for the Goldstein Prize: Nov 1-Dec 31 2021

MQR is pleased to announce that in 2021 we are increasing the amount of the Goldstein Prize to $1,000. The Goldstein Prize is given annually to one poem of exemplary quality. The fee for submission is $20. This year’s judge is Sumita Chakraborty.

Sumita Chakraborty is a poet, essayist, and scholar. She is the author of the poetry collection Arrow (Alice James Books (U.S.)/Carcanet Press (U.K.), 2020), which has received coverage in the New York Times, NPR, and the Guardian. Her first scholarly book, Grave Dangers: Poetics and the Ethics of Death in the Anthropocene, is in progress. She is Helen Zell Visiting Professor in Poetry at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, where she teaches in literary studies and in creative writing.


MQR Mixtape: Food Issue August 1-August 31

MQR Mixtape, an online imprint of Michigan Quarterly Review, welcomes submissions for a special issue on FOOD. We welcome work of any and all genres – text-based, imagistic, auditory, or beyond definition.

Before August 31st we want to hear about what nourishes you, both literally and figuratively. We are looking for the best meals of your life, the soup so spicy it burnt your taste-buds, the time you ate a pebble as a child and had an embarrassing visit to the hospital. We want your stories, images, and poems about cooking with friends and family. We want to know how food intersects with every other aspect of life; race, class, immigration, gender, disability, everything. We are looking, also, for the hard truths that often come with nourishment, work about the ways in which our bodies can war with the food around us and inside us, the times in our life where food felt like an enemy. The times when there was never enough. The ways the climate crisis has taken some avenues of food away from us, and seeks to take away more.

We also acknowledge that COVID-19 has changed all of our relationships with food: restaurants are in peril, grocery store workers are called essential but often not treated that way, food functions differently in communities. We also welcome work about this unique, and often painful, time in the history of food.

The writer Jesmyn Ward (USA), New York, New York, March 29, 2017. Photograph © Beowulf Sheehan.

Submissions for the Jesmyn Ward Prize: Nov 1-Dec 31 2021

The Michigan Quarterly Review has established this prize for fiction in honor of Helen Zell Writers’ Program alumna Jesmyn Ward and her significant contributions to the literary arts.  

One short story submitted for this prize will be awarded $2,000 and publication in MQR. All submissions for the prize will be considered for publication. The inaugural judge is Jesmyn Ward. Fee for submissions: $25.

Jesmyn Ward received her MFA from the University of Michigan and is currently a professor of creative writing at Tulane University. She is the author of the novels Where the Line Bleeds and Salvage the Bones, which won the 2011 National Book Award, and Sing, Unburied, Sing, which won the 2017 National Book Award. She is also the editor of the anthology The Fire This Time and the author of the memoir Men We Reaped, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. From 2008-2010, Ward had a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University. She was the John and Renée Grisham Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi for the 2010-2011 academic year. In 2016, the American Academy of Arts and Letters selected Ward for the Strauss Living Award. She lives in Mississippi.


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