Submissions Open for "Fractured Union: American Democracy on the Brink" (Special Issue Guest Edited by Davan Maharaj)

See details and guidelines below.

General Guidelines for the Print Journal: 

Submissions for the print journal will be accepted in 2022 from March 1 to April 1. Average turnaround time is six months, but we may take longer and ask that you do not query us until a year has passed.

  • Simultaneous submissions are allowed, but please notify us immediately via Submittable if the manuscript is accepted elsewhere.
  • Please do not submit previously published work, including work published on a personal website or blog.
  • Writers are advised to inspect a back copy of the journal before submitting work.
  • Previous contributors: please wait one year after your work appears in the journal to submit to us again.
  • We ask that you do not contact us about revising your work once it has been submitted.
  • MQR is a paying market.

Genre Specifications

Prose submissions: Manuscripts should be double-spaced, right margins not justified; 1,500-7,000 words. All stories accepted for publication will be passed on to a judge as finalists for the $2000 Lawrence Prize. There is no additional fee for the prize beyond submission.

Poetry submissions: Please submit in between 3-6 poems in one document, not to exceed a total of 12 pages. Poems published in MQR by early career writers (those who have not yet published a full-length collection) will be considered as finalists for our Page Davidson Clayton Prize.

Translations: Please submit translations in the appropriate genre. Please include biographical information for both the author and translator.

MQR Online: Submit author interviews and book reviews. Submissions should not be longer than 3,000 words. If there are photos to accompany your piece, please make a note in your cover letter.

See Open Calls for MQR Mixtape below


Can U.S. democracy be saved?

When we set out to devote a special issue of Michigan Quarterly Review to the political turbulence in the United States, we found ourselves drawn to one question again and again: Can the U.S. hold on to its claim of being the most successful multiracial democracy in the world?

The dangers facing democracy with the rise of illiberal regimes around the globe has become more dire. In the United States, venerable publications, including The New Yorker and The New York Times, are now airing a debate about whether we are on the brink of a second civil war.

Record numbers of hate crimes against ethnic minorities, widespread assault on voting rights, and the rise of white supremacy are threatening our democratic norms.

Perhaps, as UC San Diego professor Barbara F. Walter has declared in her new book, How Civil Wars Start, the United States is stuck in an anocracy, the transitional stage between democracy and autocracy.

The questions now are: Who is America? Can American democracy be saved? And who will save it?

In times of political upheaval, poets, journalists, and creative writers have historically met the moment, seeking to explain the political and social conditions—and to change them.

At this point in history, the battle for democracy and racial equality has moved to the fields of truth and narrative. We are seeking essays, fiction, and poetry that can explore how our notion of democracy has been shaped by race and capitalism and help us imagine a world where the United States finally fulfills its promise of democracy.


The issue will be published in October of 2022.

Maximum length for articles, essays and works of fiction is 5,000 words.

Poetry submissions must not exceed 10 pages.

If Submittable is not accessible to you, please email mqr@umich.edu with your concern.

Michigan Quarterly Review