“You are like a chestnut burr, prickly outside, but silky-soft within, and a sweet kernel, if one can only get at it. Love will make you show your heart one day, and then the rough burr will fall off.”

Louisa May Alcott, Little Women (Part 2, Chapter 42)

We all have been there: submitted work to a literary magazine and waited months for a reply. We understand why many top magazines take a long time to reply, of course, but understanding why something occurs is different from believing it is right. We don’t think artists should have to wait that long (some of us are no longer spring chickens). And so one of the reasons we wanted to create CHESTNUT REVIEW was to model a responsive journal that puts the writer first. Read on and see if you agree.

Our Pledge:

  • to treat all artists who submit work with respect and pay them the maximum we are able,
  • to give you an answer on your submission within 30 days, or we refund your submission fee (but will still evaluate your work),
  • to celebrate our artists not merely for their publication in our review, but in all their successes,
  • to accept only the best work we find, and to promote it relentlessly to the world.

Why Chestnut Review?

We’re not necessarily chained to metaphor, but this seems to us a good one. The chestnut blight that wiped out 4 billion (billion!) trees in North America in the early years of the last century doesn’t kill the stumps. So when those trees were cut down, in many places the stumps still send up young shoots over and over, and when they get old enough, the blight hits them and they die. And yet they send up another. And another. A better metaphor for stubbornness we haven’t seen. Starting a literary magazine is never a wise idea, really. But we’re a little bit stubborn. A little bit picky in what we want. And if we don’t see it, then we want to create it (another great American value!)

To extend the metaphor a little further, let’s fold you in. Artists who persist despite rejection, the intrusions of real life, the bills that must be paid, the jobs that must be done before any art can be created. That’s the best kind of stubbornness. A stubborn belief in your own worth, in the art of your hands, eyes, and mind.

We seek storytellers—not just for fiction, but in all the genres we publish. We love clarity in art, but that doesn’t necessarily mean simplicity. Tell us a story. It could be a story in a poem, an essay, an image, but it is still a story. You tell it because it needs to be told. If you can make us feel the same way, we’ll work together to bring that story to the world.

ISSN 2688-0342 (print, annually) | ISSN 2688-0350 (online, quarterly)

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