CRITICAL READ WRITER GUIDELINES
Thank you for your interest in Critical Read. We are always happy to hear from writers and will consider pitches at any time.
What we do: Critical Read brings the stories of the fine, literary and performing arts to a wide readership. Our stories are grounded in fact, not opinion, with an emphasis on the people, places and things that make the arts what they are. Our stories emphasize that the arts are all around us, and that we’re living in connection with art history.
What we’re looking for:
We’re looking for reported scenes, interviews and cultural history essays for our Fall 2018 issue, Origins.
These stories should explain the unusual beginnings and/or forgotten histories of an artwork or art discipline we all think we know. Your story can be set in the present or the past. We’re looking for original reporting and meticulous research into the people, places and things that make noteworthy art. Origin stories that challenge preconceptions and uncover the true stories of art and artmakers.
Critical Read is a nonprofit organization supporting the promotion of the arts and culture in the United States. By ‘art’ we mean nonprofit arts including but not limited to ballet, drama, classical music, opera, jazz, performance, installation, visual art and more. We will consider pitches for stories that touch on works of obscure or vintage pop culture and Americana. Your pitch should not be tied to the publicity cycle.
What we aren’t looking for:
- Stories about commercial film, fashion or television
- Stories about food and chefs
- Stories about artisanal production
We seek to assign stories by mid-August. The stories are scheduled for publication in November 2018. Length will range from 800 to 2,000 words.
For our Fall 2018 issue, Origins, we’re looking for one knock-out personal essay. Your essay should be no longer than 3,000 words and must involve some art or art historical incident, appreciation or other artistic point of reflection. This point of reflection should tie to the theme of Origins. What does it mean to be original? What are the origins of an art experience? What are your origins as an artist? These questions provide a broad outline of the theme. Only previously unpublished essays will be considered.
Your essay can be a rumination on an influential critical essay or essayist, an appreciation of an insightful critical analysis -- say, “Avant-Garde and Kitsch” by Clement Greenberg or “Discussing the Undisdussable” by Arlene Croce -- or a personal reflection on the wisdom of a critic’s point of view.
If you’re an artist or arts-practioner you essay can be about a defining moment in your career or any of the original choices you have made as an artist.
Critical Read is a nonprofit organization supporting the promotion of the arts and culture in the United States. By ‘art’ we mean nonprofit arts including but not limited to ballet, drama, classical music, opera, jazz, performance, installation, visual art and more. We will consider essays that touch on works of obscure or vintage pop culture and Americana. Your essay should not be tied to the publicity cycle.
What we aren’t looking for:
- Stories about how much you hated the arts until you saw [X] or read [Y] or had [Z] teacher.
- Appreciations of rock musicians or commercial film actors/directors
- Stories about being an art model
The winner will receive $500 and publication in the fall 2018 issue, Origins. All entries will be considered for publication in Critical Read’s spring 2019 collection of personal essays.
We accept pitches for Artwork Biographies year-round.
Artwork biographies. These titles establish the facts of the work of art within a narrative framework. They balance opinion with research and reporting, but their emphasis is on storytelling.
Artwork biographies are typically assigned at 4,000-5,000 words. We pay up to $1 a word for these stories.
To pitch an artwork biography, please send a paragraph telling us which work of art you want to profile, explaining the central conflict and themes of the story you want to tell. If we are interested we’ll ask you to submit a formal pitch, including the following:
- Your CV/resume and relevant clips
- A brief analysis of why is this work of art important – ~250 words
- A draft outline of how you would treat the subject
- A list of the major books, commentaries, and films on your subject, if any. Tell us why your take on this work of art will be different – ~250 words
- A sample introduction to the work -- ~500 words
- A list of events this title could tie to, e.g. upcoming exhibitions, retrospectives, or revivals
- Date you would be able to deliver your draft