The Agonist

We are happy to consider unsolicited submissions. All submissions must be previously unpublished. Potential contributors should read the journal to get a sense of our (heterogenous) taste and range. We are interested in publishing essays, longform journalism, reviews, fiction, poetry, and more. Indeed we are quite open-minded here: if for example you have a collection of well written aphorisms, or a strong experimental literary work, we would like to take a look at it.

With respect to current events, we aim to publish writing that is more substantive than what is typically found in the newspapers and on the news websites. What are the ideas and trends driving the news cycle? What is their history and significance? What important subjects are not being explored now? What future concerns are not being reckoned with? These questions should give you a sense of what we are looking for.

Submission Guidelines

Essays and reviews should be sent to the editor by e-mail: c.e.grotius@gmail.com. All other works—fiction, poetry, translations, etc.—should be sent to both editors. The literary editor’s e-mail address is reeserjennifer@gmail.com.

Put SUBMISSION (all capital letters) in the subject line of your e-mail. Summarize the work in a few sentences in the body of the e-mail. Exception: Poetry, which by nature defies summary.

Put the title, your name, your e-mail address, and the date of submission at the top of your manuscript. Page numbers are not necessary.

Include a few links to your published writing, if you have any.

Pitches are fine.

Please follow our style guidelines.

Style Guidelines

Form for Submissions

Send submissions in Microsoft Word. If you don’t have MS Word, paste your submission in the body of an email.

General Format

All text should be aligned left, except for block quotations, and poetry, whose line breaks needn’t be aligned left. Otherwise no indentations.

Word Count

There is no formal word limit.

Punctuation

We use American English. Thus, commas and periods go inside quotation marks; question marks, exclamation points, colons, and semicolons go outside, unless they are part of a quotation.

Spelling

Again, we use American English. Thus, not cheque, but check; not colour, but color; and so on.

Spacing

Use just one space after periods and full stops.

Quotations

Use double quotation marks.

If you need to use quotation marks inside a quotation—say, to quote speech—use single quotation marks.

Block quotations—which do not get quotation marks—should be used for quotations more than three lines long.

If you need to quote someone’s speech, or want to emphasize a word, in a block quotation, use double quotation marks.

Dashes

The em dash (—) is used to separate sentence segments and in place of commas, parentheses, and colons. Do not leave any space on either side of the em dash.

The en dash ( – ) is used between sequences and numbers.

The dash ( – ) is used for hyphenation.

Numbers

Our simple rule, to which there will be some exceptions, is to use words for the numbers one through nine, and numbers for larger numbers.

Include an embedded hyperlink if you quote a source on the web. Whenever possible, do include hyperlinks to support significant factual contentions.

Names

The names of publications get italicized. So do book, TV, and movie titles.

Essays, articles, and poems get double quotation marks. Exception: long poems, e.g., Paradise Lost.

Contractions

Go light on contractions.

Endnotes

Endnotes are fine, though not necessary. They should contain the title of the work, the author, the date of publication, and the relevant page number.

Editing

We may make minor changes, mostly in the interests of clarity and economy. Major ones will be discussed with you.

Biographical Note

Provide a short biographical note (no more than a few sentences) at the bottom of your submission. You can include your Twitter handle.

Response Time

We are a quarterly, and in some cases may need up to a month to respond to you. If you have not heard back from us by then, feel free to follow up.