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Editor Interview: The Missouri Review

Q: Describe what you publish in 25 characters or less.

A: Good work that surprises

Q: What other current publications (or publishers) do you admire most?

A: There are so many! Off the top of our head: Ploughshares, the Common, Tin House, Cincinnati Review, New England Review, Southern Review, Kenyon Review, A Public Space, Post Road, Seattle Review, Ninth Letter, Mid-American Review, New South, Crab Orchard Review, Quarterly West, The Journal, and too many others to name them all.

Q: If you publish writing, who are your favorite writers? If you publish art, who are your favorite artists?

A: Our most recent issue is always our favorite.

Q: What sets your publication apart from others that publish similar material?

A: We seek out the very best in contemporary literature in all three genres. Writing originally published in The Missouri Review has been reprinted in anthologies like the Best American series, The Pushcart Prize, and The Prize Stories, to name a few, over one hundred times. We also frequently publish first work by emerging writers. We have a reputation for being careful and considerate editors and working closely with each writer on the edits of her/his manuscript. The work we publish is engaging, memorable, and always entertaining.

Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?

A: Be patient and use your intuition. Send us a piece that feels like a good fit. If we don't take it but ask to see more, we mean it.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: We like to be surprised and engaged by what we read. Control of craft and originality of voice and material matter a lot.

Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process?

A: We've always been pretty transparent about our editorial process, and our Submission Guidelines are available online and it seems (for the most part) the majority of writers follow those guidelines. If anything, what is most frequently wrong is that the work isn't really suitable for TMR.

Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?

A: Previous publications and credentials don't sway us, but a brief cover letter is not a bad thing. We're mainly interested in the work itself.

Q: If you publish writing, how much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it?

A: The entire thing. We're writers, too, so we know how much time and effort goes into the writing we receive. We're also fortunate enough to have a large enough staff that we can respond to the writer's work in a timely manner, so we make sure that we read looking for a reason to accept the manuscript, rather than looking for a reason to reject a manuscript. Because of this, we read everything with care.

Q: What additional evaluations, if any, does a piece go through before it is accepted?

A: None. We just decide based on the strength of the manuscript.

Q: How important do you feel it is for publishers to embrace modern technologies?

A: Extremely. We accept electronic submissions; we're active on Facebook, Twitter, and our blog; we emphasis communication and advertising and marketing through electronic mediums; and find that we're able to keep up with the literary world easier when we are fully plugged in and engaged with our audience.

Q: How much do you edit an accepted piece prior to publication?

A: We edit with care and sensitivity. All writers should expect to be edited well and should also expect to participate in the process. Authors review all edits made to their work in TMR.

Q: Do you nominate work you've published for any national or international awards?

A: We nominate for all the major prize anthologies, some more specialized awards, and some international awards. We remain open to authors we've published who request that we nominate work for specific recognitions and try to accommodate them when we can.