Write for the Chicago Review of Books!

We’re always interested in hearing from potential contributors! To pitch us a review, interview, feature, or essay, please send us an email at chireviewofbooks@gmail.com, and be sure to include a short bio.

See more about what we’re looking to cover and our full submission details below:

What We Publish

Reviews & Interviews

We accept pitches for reviews & interviews typically two months in advance of a book’s publication date. On average, our reviews run between 600 and 800 words and our interviews run between 1,200 and 1,500 words. 

Book Lists

We love book lists that bring attention to significant and underappreciated books around themes that help readers learn about our world in different ways. Instead of straightforward “best of’s,” we’re interested in lists that are curated around a specific genre, literary craft area, or experience. Here are some good examples:

10 Books to Check out this Ramadan
10 Poems about Climate Change to Read Right Now

Author-Written Essays: The New Release Radar

We want to give authors with upcoming book releases a chance to write directly to our readers about their work and what inspired it. For this feature section, we’re looking for personal and craft essays, book lists, and excerpts written directly by authors. Here are some good examples:

Writing My Novel Wasn’t Therapy by Richard Mirabella
On Editorial Imposter Syndrome by Aram Mrjoian
If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come: The Playlist by Jen St. Jude

Stories Matter: Essays on Writing & Publishing

Along with our parent organization Stories Matter Foundation, our mission is to build communities of storytellers trained to question, explore, celebrate, and change their worlds using the power of story. In this spirit, we’re looking for essays that demystify the writing and publishing process, share advice around craft, and tell stories that turn a solitary practice into a communal act. We’re open to craft and personal essays, interviews, and more that focus on the writing and publishing process. For inspiration, we’re big fans of Catapult Magazine’s now defunct “Don’t Write Alone” series and want to publish pieces that carry on that legacy. 

All Things Chicago

While we cover authors from every genre and country, we’re a proud Chicago organization with a mission to promote the arts in our community. We’re looking for work that explores the intersections between Chicago, its history, and its vibrant communities and the arts—including literature, spoken word, music, architecture and more. From reinterpreting old Chicago classics to reportage and interviews that highlight the wealth of creativity in our city, we want to honor Chicago’s artistic past, present, and future. We’re open to considering this topic in many ways, but if it’s about our city and creative pursuits, we want to hear about it!

Books & Culture

We’re interested in exploring the ways books respond to and shape culture. We’re looking for essays that put books in conversation with other elements of our modern cultures—including other works of literature, film, television, music and more. Additionally, we’d love to see reinterpretations of older works of literature explored through a modern lens. 


What are you looking for in a pitch?

Long answer: Passion for the subject matter, first and foremost, and a compelling reason why this book or author would be of interest to readers of the CHIRB. We are particularly interested in hearing about small press/under-the-radar titles; books by BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and Midwestern authors; and works in translation. If you are pitching a book that is likely to get widespread coverage elsewhere in the media, we’d like to know why you specifically are well-positioned to review this title and what would differentiate your piece from others. Do you have a personal connection to the book (or author, if you’re pitching an interview)? Do you have an academic background in the topic? Have you read every book the author has written and can’t wait for their newest release? Be sure to mention it!

Short answer: We want to know why this book and why you.

Is Chicago Review of Books a paying outlet?

We are! Currently, we are able to pay $25 for reviews and interviews and $75 for features. 

I’m a writer. Can I submit my own book for review?

Writers with a book forthcoming are welcome to send a press release or publicity materials to chireviewofbooks@gmail.com with the understanding that we will only respond if we’re interested in covering the book.

When should I send a pitch? 

In general, we accept pitches about 2-3 months in advance of a book’s publication date (so for example, a book that publishes in June should be pitched to us in April). 

I have a personal connection to the author I want to cover. Is that okay?

In general, we try to avoid conflicts of interest when assigning coverage. We are open to publishing interviews done by a contributor who knows the author if that relationship is disclosed. We do ask that you not review the book of someone you have a close relationship to however. 

Do you only cover Chicago-related books?

Nope! That said, as mentioned above, we are always interested in hearing about books of local relevance or by regional authors.