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Michigan Quarterly Review is Seeking Submissions for a Special Issue on Water

“Thousands have lived without love; not one without water.” – W.H. Auden

Michigan Quarterly Review (MQR) is seeking submissions for Not One Without: A Special Issue on Water. The edition seeks to explore urgent, complex, and revelatory writing on water from around the world. It will be edited by Anna Clark, a journalist from Detroit and the author of The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy.

MQR is an interdisciplinary and international literary journal, combining distinctive voices in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, as well as works in translation. It has published prose by Margaret Atwood, Charles Baxter, Raymond Carver, Peter Ho Davies, Mary Gaitskill, Ursula K. Le Guin, Arthur Miller, Joyce Carol Oates, Marge Piercy, Virgil Suárez, Corey Van Landingham, Hanan al-Shaykh, Hananah Zaheer, Francine Prose, Elizabeth Alexander, Juan Cole, Joan Silber, and James Wood. It also welcomes submissions from emerging writers. Poems published in MQR by emerging writers (those who have not yet published a full-length collection) will be considered as finalists for the journal’s Page Davidson Clayton Prize.

MQR is seeking work that addresses any aspect of water: from the contested oil pipeline beneath the Straits of Mackinac to water shut-offs in Cape Town; from flooding in the Midwest to water scarcity in India and the Sahel; from the role of water in regional and global conflict and migration to the way that storm surges and shifting coastlines are forcing us to rethink the shapes of urban centers. The editors are looking for pieces that consider water through the lens of history and of contemporary geopolitics, and are excited to receive submissions that consider water through mythology, religion, and art history.

Types of Accepted Submissions 

Nonfiction, fiction, poetry, drama, translations and pieces that don’t fit into a neat category.

MQR does not accept previously published pieces.

Word limits

Fiction and essay submissions should be between 1500 and 7000 words (5000-word average)

Poets may submit between 3 and 6 poems, not to exceed a total of 12 pages.


Print publication rates are not publically listed but are competitive with other literary journals.

Writers who are published on MQR Online receive $30.


Sunday 1 December 2019

More Information

Visit the Michigan Quarterly Review website to read the full submission guidelines.

MQR also accepts general submissions for the print journal between 15 January and 15 April, and from 1 August to 30 November each year.