We are thirsty for essays that give us something to drink besides mainstream ideologies and forms, that showcase imagination and meaning-making capacities, that embrace a love of a sentence’s shape. We believe good essays center the margin or marginalize the center, or even better, blow up the center-margin borders. We want essays that make the common uncommon—that are not about the things they pretend to be about. You know, the essay about your shoelace that’s not really about your shoelace. We want to read more essays that reflect the intersections of race, ethnicity, culture, class, identity, gender, sexuality, diasporas, borderlands; and more essays that are cultural, lyrical, experimental, personal, environmental, self-interrogative, meditative, and reflective, as well as expository, analytical, exploratory, or whimsical. We want to publish the best creative nonfiction essays, understanding that notions of “best,” of taste and genre, are political and cultural.
Frequently Asked Questions
Our reading period for general submissions is September 1st to November 30th. We also accept submissions for the Steinberg Essay Prize from January 1st to March 15th.
Yes. For general submissions, the fee is $4. For the Steinberg Essay Prize, the fee is $20.
Ninety-nine percent of our submissions come to us through Duosuma, Duotrope’s new submission manager. Making an account is free and our submission fee is $4. Only rarely do we accept submissions through mail or email. Those submissions are often from inmates or others with very limited or restricted internet access. If that is your situation, you can mail your submission to this address:
Fourth Genre c/o English Department
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602
Keep it simple. Tell us a little about yourself and a few of your publications (if you have any). Please include your name, mailing address, phone number, email address, title of piece, and approximate word count.
For essays with no other formal constraints, a submission should be double-spaced and set in a 12 point, serif font. We read blind, so please do not include your name or contact info in your submission document.
Try to keep it under 8,000 words.
Yes, we’re more than happy to consider flash pieces for publication.
Yes, but you must withdraw your submission immediately if it is accepted elsewhere.
We do not accept multiple submissions from the same author during the general reading period.
We publish biannually, with a fall issue in late August and a spring issue in early February.