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The editors of The Critical Flame welcome correspondence from readers. Send a note about reviews, opposing opinions, or corrections to info [at] criticalflame [dot] org.

Sign up to the email newsletter to hear about new issues, big news, awards, events, etc.

You can also follow CF on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.


Guidelines for Submission

The Critical Flame publishes literary nonfiction, criticism, reviews, and interviews that run 1200-5000 words in length.

Book reviews that explore both the flaws and virtues in a work will be given preference over those that are purely laudatory or mere vitriol. The title(s) under review ought to be recent, but in-depth critical essays may address a number of works across any period. Literary essays may deal with any topic, from travel and memoir to philosophy and politics. Interviews should focus on the content, themes, and cultural implications of an author’s work (rather than their craft, their writing habits, or literary gossip).

New issues are published six times annually in January, March, May, July, September, and November. Interviews are considered on a rolling basis. The deadlines to submit essays for each issue are:

January / February:  December 1
March / April:  February 1
May / June:  April 1
July / August:  June 1
September / October:  August 1
November / December:  October 1

Though well-researched essays are obviously preferred, The Critical Flame is not an academic journal. Our audience is the intelligent reading public. An enthusiastic, open, careful, inquisitive mind is the only prerequisite. Our past contributors are professors, librarians, bartenders, bloggers, students, carpenters, busboys. No special credentials needed.

To pitch an idea or to submit a draft, email:

info [at] criticalflame [dot] org


Early encounter with a comment section.

Pictured: encounter with a comment section.

Discussion and Debate

You may have noticed that there are no comment forms at the end of our essays and reviews. This is not intended to discourage debate. Quite the contrary. Our mission is to incite meaningful, reasonable, intelligent discussion of the merits of a given text and the values of our current age.

So let me ask: how often have you engaged in that kind of discourse in the comments section of a website? If you’re lucky, you can count the instances on one hand. It’s hard to say why comment sections encourage the worst in humanity. Whatever the reasons, we’re not interested.

But please, argue about our essays. Share them on Facebook and Twitter. Email them to your friends, your book groups, your classmates. Debate them over a cup of coffee or, as the CF staff prefers, over a neat single-malt scotch. Meet people in real life and have a real conversation.

A good essay is the beginning of a discussion, not its end.

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