For Creative Nonfiction magazine, we’re looking for writing about writing—smart and insightful ideas related to the art, craft, history, or philosophy of creative nonfiction. We’re open to pitches for these kinds of pieces:

  • “Then & now” stories or timelines;
  • Explorations of specific subgenres, considering the work of more than one writer;
  • Arguments or research or ideas about why/how true stories matter;
  • Craft pieces, particularly related to structure or voice or finding inspiration;
  • Pieces that explore connections between creative nonfiction and other fields/forms
  • In-depth interviews with prominent voices in the field;
  • Or, generally, work that engages deeply in some way with creative nonfiction as a form or practice.

We’re not especially interested in:

  • Book reviews
  • Op-ed style pieces
  • Literary criticism
  • Pedagogy
  • Philosophy
  • Recurring columns. We do sometimes call this kind of writing “a column,” but this is not the place to pitch a weekly series of dispatches from your trip around the world. for example.
  • Generally, writing that is not about writing. We are, of course, generally very interested in personal essays and narratives, but we don’t accept pitches for these; please submit entire completed works if/when they fit with our other submissions calls.

For upcoming issues, we’re currently looking specifically for pitches related to:

  • voice in creative nonfiction
  • flash nonfiction

To pitch an idea, you’ll need:

  • A brief summary of the piece you propose to write: what question or area are you hoping to explore? Why would it be interesting or relevant to Creative Nonfiction’s readers?
  • As applicable, a short list of writers/works you plan to include
  • A brief bio/personal statement: what qualifies you to write this piece? What else have you written/published?

Writing-about-writing generally ranges in length from 1,000 to 3,000 words; this is a paying market.

 Do you have an idea for a literary timeline? An opinion about essential texts for readers and/or writers? An in-depth, working knowledge of a specific type of nonfiction? Pitch us your ideas; Creative Nonfiction accepts query letters for the following sections of the magazine:

 AFTERWORDS is the final page of the magazine. We're open to just about any idea that can be presented completely in one page, though we are more inclined toward pieces that take a lighter look at the genre, craft, and/or industry. Examples: First sentences from first books (#38); The ever-expanding nonfiction subtitle (#39); Side gigs for the nonfiction 99% (#45).

 BETWEEN THE LINES focuses on the business of writing and the contemporary publishing landscape. This section is reserved for more serious, newsy (in a general way) topics.
Examples: The future of literary magazines in America (#38); A defense of navel-gazing (#39); The line between documentation and exploitation (#44).

 REQUIRED READING catalogues and explores essential texts for nonfiction readers and writers. Pieces can be as simple as a list or as complex as a lyric essay.
Examples: David Shields' inspirations and recommendations (#38); Norman Mailer's indispensible nonfiction, as recommended by his biographer (#39).

 THEN & NOW tracks significant developments in the genre and can include timelines or other creative comparisons.
Examples: A history of the genre (and the magazine) from 1993 to 2009 (#38); Environmental writing since "Silent Spring" (#44); Our longstanding obsession with true crime (#45).

 LIFE ONLINE provides a unique perspective of what the literary life is like online. Examples: The virtual realities of online advice columnist Sugar (#42); Of online anger, puppy dogs and ice cream (#43); Is online publishing permanent enough/ (#44).

 UNDER THE UMBRELLA explores one subset or type of writing that falls under the creative nonfiction umbrella--dad memoir, extreme travel writing, as well as lesser-known kinds of creative nonfiction--and the patterns that connect these types of writing.
Examples: CNF's Armchair Guide to Stunt Writing (#38); Family History Narrative (#41); Sex Worker Memoirs (#45). 

 WRITER AT WORK offers an analysis of or an in-depth look into a specific writer's writing process.
Examples: Gay Talese's approach to composition (#39); E.B. White's use of literary effect in "Death of a Pig" (#41).

  Note: Nothing increases your publishing chances more than a familiarity with the magazine; we recommend you become a subscriber, but a working knowledge of our recent issues is a great place to start, too.

 Queries only. Please do not send completed pieces. Please do not send attachments. Please send brilliant, original ideas and a solid plan for turning those ideas into brilliant pieces of writing.

Creative Nonfiction