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Instructions for Peer Reviewers

This page is meant to provide instructions for individuals who have recently agreed to serve as a peer reviewer for an essay submitted to Western American Literature. To request inclusion on our reviewer database, please e-mail us.

Thank you for your willingness to do some reading for Western American Literature.  We appreciate your willingness to share your time and expertise.

We often send essays to two readers, one a “general” reader in western literature and one an expert on the subject under discussion. We would like to publish essays accessible and interesting to both audiences. 

Our essay evaluation form provides only general suggestions for the kind of response we’d like.  If possible, we prefer typed responses rather than handwritten ones because they are easier to excerpt for the writer. Feel free to send your response by email to You do not need to return the manuscript unless you write on it, which you are certainly free to do; in that case, we will return it to the author. Do please dispose of the manuscript when you’re done with your review. 

We try to respond to submissions within a two-month period so, if possible, we would like our reviewers to respond within a month. Of course we understand the ups and downs of academic schedules and will understand if readers take a bit longer. If we don’t hear from you in six weeks, we will send you a reminder. 

In the past year or so, Western American Literature has received several reviews with harsh phrasing, which often include a note asking, “please do not send any wounding words.” We appreciate that desire and try to avoid sending overly negative reviews.  But it’s very difficult to summarize reviews without resorting to not-very-useful general terms. It’s helpful to the journal if you can provide wording that can be readily excerpted. 

Thanks again for your help.

Download a Microsoft Word version of our essay evaluation form, or download the form in rtf format.
(If the links do not work properly, try right-clicking on it and selecting “save file as...”)


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