Are you an author or publicity contact? Check out our review policy here.
Ancillary Review of Books welcomes contributors who want to write about the intersection(s) of “literature, culture, power, and speculation”—a broad modus operandi, yes, but one that captures our appropriately broad interest in covering fiction, nonfiction, and cultural moments that address poignant political and social issues in contemporary culture, especially systemic injustice and the utopian impulses we have at our disposal respond with.
For ARB, criticism is a way to contribute to the necessary conversations today by adding our voices, insights, concerns, and questions to those of the authors we write about, the situations and cultural moments we cover.
What Do We Want?
ARB publishes short, incisive critical reviews of contemporary works of fiction and nonfiction, with occasional reviews of media, including film, TV, games (analog and video), albums, and more. We occasionally compile “book rec” lists that exemplify the kind of books we’d love to see review for ARB, but in general we are open to all pitches for review so long as it fits with our goals to address political and social issues through critical writing.
Essays are part of the brick-and-mortar of ARB, since they offer a chance for writers to engage with broader questions that can be taken up in a single review. Example essays can be found here. We welcome essays that address all sorts of topics, from manifestos against the shittiness of our times and how we can change to extended thoughts about the state of literature, publishing, criticism, etc. today.
Please reach out to pitch an essay; we are open to your ideas!
ARB also publishes retrospectives, or reviews of work that came out more than 5 years ago but that bear revisiting in our present moment. Pitches for retrospectives should focus on why this text, why now.
ARB recognizes that not everyone has the time to sift through the hundreds of books that come out every year, nor to read all the reviews about them to decide what’s worthwhile. ARB encourages folks to create reader’s guides of 5-10 books that are must-reads on a critical conversation, whether that’s 5-10 musts in fiction or nonfiction. Reader’s guides offer a succinct paragraph or two about why each book is central tot he topic, as well as a brief introduction to why the topic matters, why you should care to have a reader’s guide to it.
For writers and critics, a reader’s guide is an excellent way to frame your thinking about and approach to an important topic, and to communicate this to a broader readership. Reader’s guides often serve as a complement to recently published books, major social and political issues dominating headlines, and/or anniversaries of pivotal lives and events. A good reader’s guide helps us to reflect, challenges us to think more critically, and charts the interconnections across fiction and nonfiction.
Book Clubs, Rereads, and Other Series
ARB welcomes writers who are already actively engaged in some sort of serial reading project, whether as a member of a book club, someone undertaking a solo reread of an author’s oeuvre or book series, or as someone just really hooked on a particular idea and all the texts that come to mind. We thus welcome pitches for review and essay series.
Who Do We Want?
Put simply, and non-patriotically, we want you to write and help create what ARB stands for. If you’re on the ARB website, chances are you value good critical writing. Whether you already write regular reviews for fifteen different outlets, or just want to try the waters, ARB wants to hear from you and find a way to collaborate.
How Do We Want It?
If you have an interest in writing critical reviews, exploratory essays, or any of the above formats, please reach out to us with a pitch. If you have a website, social media presence, or examples of recent writing, please include the information in your pitch. We are happy to work with critics just starting out or with a thousand pieces to their name. Our team usually responds within a few days; if accepted, our timelines are flexible and we work closely with authors to craft their own voices and hone critical talents.