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Book Review Information for Western American Literature

Book Review Editor: Anne Kaufman

How to Become a Reviewer for Western American Literature
Would you like to review?

If you have a general interest to review for Western American Literature, we encourage you to join the Western Literature Association so that your name and scholarly interests will be on file when we search our database for possible reviewers. If you are already a member and would like to review in a specific area, you can contact the editor (address below), and we will see if we have any works in your area in our currect collection of active books.

Do you know of a book you’d like to review?

The field of western American literature has become so rich and wide-spread that it is impossible for us to keep up with everything that is happening, and so, in part, we do depend on members and scholars in the field letting us know when interesting, new works are published (we only consider books published within the last year or so). If you know of a new book that might be of interest to our readers and you would like to review it, please do not send completed reviews; unsolicited reviews go into a file that does not get top priority when reviews are slated for publication, and often we don’t have a chance to publish those reviews. Instead, please query Paul Crumbley (address below), with the name of the book, a brief description suggesting why it would interest our readers, press information (if possible), and a brief sense of your writing credentials (if you are not an active member of the Western Literature Association). We will contact you soon with a “go ahead” and information for writing the review, if the book meets our needs and isn’t already being reviewed by someone else. Reviewers get a free review copy of the book and tearsheets of their published review.

Please contact Anne Kaufman, Book Review Editor.

Short Review Guidelines

Our hope is that, in addition to giving a summary of thesis or plot, your review will demonstrate how the work(s) under review reflect(s) themes or issues important in the study of western American literature.

Book review length is typically 500 words per assigned book, though we sometimes publish double reviews, which run longer.

Due dates are typically two months from the time the book is sent to you. Reminders are sent, and we can be flexible on due dates, especially if we know beforehand that there may be a scheduling conflict.

Please begin your review with a heading that includes bibliographical information, your name and affiliation; follow these examples:

Lochsa Road: A Pilgrim in the West. By Kim R. Stafford. Lewiston, Id.: Confluence Press, 1991. 84 pages, $20.00/$8.95.
Reviewed by Jane Doe
Utah State University, Logan

Resist Much, Obey Little: Some Notes on Edward Abbey. Edited by James Hepworth and Gregory McNamee. Salt Lake City, Utah: Dream Garden Press, 1985. 128 pages, $11.95/$7.95.
Reviewed by George Smith
University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Your review should be double-spaced. If you wish to quote from the book, please use MLA style as follows: “a quote from the book” (172).

Please send your review as an e-mail attachment in Microsoft Word format to Paul Crumbley.

Copyright will be held by the Western Literature Association through the journal, Western American Literature.

Style Sheet for Essay Reviews (extended review or those reviewing more than two works)


The length for essay reviews is open and dependent on the timeliness of the subject and the number of books under review. Generally, we ask that essay reviews be about 10 pages in length.

Note that because your essay review will be treated like an essay, it is especially important that you follow the section below titled “Guidelines.”


Our goal is that essay reviews consider trends and innovations in a particular specialty area of western American literary criticism or creative writing. In an effort to be reflective about how a single work fits into the context of the field as a whole, you are encouraged to compare and contrast the individual works with work already done in this area. For instance, you may consider how this chapbook is indicative of Plains poetry in general or how this new Stegner biography offers a fresh perspective not available in previous works of criticism. In addition to considering the merits of the books under review, you may also wish to discuss any “not to be missed” points about what is happening in specialty areas like Chicana poetry or nature writing or Steinbeck studies. While individual works may not necessarily be showcased as they would be in an individual review, an essay review should give the reviewer more latitude to consider works in the context of other contemporary writings as well as what has been published before in that field. By considering how a specialty field is evolving, essay reviewers can also consider what “frontiers” lie ahead for western American literature.


Please double-space the review and e-mail it as a Microsoft Word attachment to Anne Kaufman, Book Review Editor.

Please provide a title for the review. The title should be specific, straightforward, and accurately reflect why these books were grouped together (for instance, “Urbanity in California Nature Writing” or “The Newest Works on Stegner: Rankin, Meine, and Page and Mary Stegner”). If you wish, you may refer to specific works or authors in the title.

Follow MLA formatting by giving page references parenthetically in the text, and generally, you should also follow MLA formatting with bibliographical citations listed at the end; however, please separate out “Works Reviewed” (those works you are reviewing) and “Works Cited” (any other works you may have noted in order to provide a sense of context).

Additionally, at the end of each citation for the “Works Reviewed,” add purchase information (number of pages and price) as follows:

Works Reviewed

Meine, Curt, ed. Wallace Stegner and the Continental Vision, Essays on Literature, History, and Landscape. Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1997. 240 pages, $24.95.

Rankin, Charles E., ed. Wallace Stegner, Man & Writer. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1996. 280 pages, $45.00/$19.95.

Works Cited

Arthur, Anthony, ed. Critical Essays on Wallace Stegner. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1982.

While it is our hope that your review will address all of the assigned works, we recognize that you may naturally highlight some works more than others because of what you perceive as their merit. Please make sure, however, that all the assigned works are cited in the “Works Reviewed.”

Please provide us with a few lines about your professional life and scholarship that we may use in an author’s bio line. Information that is focused on giving a sense of why you are qualified to review these specific works is especially helpful (perhaps list the title of your latest work in the area).

Note: Copyright will be held by the Western Literature Association.

If you have questions or concerns about these guidelines, please contact Anne Kaufman, Book Review Editor.

  • Western Literature Association (WLA)

    Founded in 1965, the Western Literature Association (WLA) is a non-profit, scholarly association that promotes the study of the diverse literature and cultures of the North American West, past and present.

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  • Western American Literature (WAL)

    (The Journal)

    Published by the Western Literature Association, Western American Literature is the leading journal in western American literary studies.

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