What we’re looking for:
Hazlitt accepts pitches for works of original journalism, investigative features, international reporting, profiles, essays (personal, literary and cultural), humour pieces and works of fiction. If there’s one unifying trait among the best Hazlitt pieces, it’s that their writers are clearly passionate about them—what’s the story you’ve always wanted to tell, that only you can? Please note that we do not accept completed drafts as pitches for non-fiction work. For fiction, we prefer completed drafts and do not accept simultaneous submissions.
It’s helpful for us if you can include a proposed word count. In addition, we’re always looking for pitches for these three sections:
Hazlitt Firsts: Reviews of experiencing generally mundane things for the very first time as adults. Low intensity, but at best pretty funny and possibly revealing—finally interacting with firmly established pieces of culture/the world at large. 500-1000 words. Here’s a great example from Jeremy Larson.
Close Reads: The Close Read is a careful look at a component part of a thing we love—a single song, a chapter, a scene, an ingredient—often with some helpful commentary from the creators themselves. Here’s a great example from Nathaniel Friedman.
Indefensible: A short humorous essay defending an opinion or theory that is somewhat ridiculous.
What We’re Not Looking For:
We do not publish reviews. We no longer use Submittable. Hazlitt has a very small editorial staff, so again, we do no accept completed drafts as pitches for non-fiction work.
We Get a Lot of Questions About What Makes a Great Hazlitt Piece:
- Voice/prose: Show us your writing is evocative. Show being the operative word.
- A strong, thoughtful through-line: Make us feel confident that you can bring this thing home.
‑ Research: You’ll need to do some—probably a lot. Be clear about sources, such as potential interview subjects and other resources. Even the most personal of essays shouldn’t be entirely insular—nothing happens in a vacuum, and context and awareness of the world around you is critical.
‑ The Turn: A strong piece has a moment that makes you go, “huh.” Call it the turn, or the other shoe, or the a‑ha moment, but there’s a point in the story where the writer gives you something you weren’t expecting.
And We Get a Lot of Questions About What to Avoid:
- Overly academic prose. Eliminate jargon and buzzwords.
‑ A diary entry. Even if you’re pitching a personal essay or relying heavily on personal elements, have an answer to this question: what does my experience mean/say in a wider cultural context? Always strive to widen the scope. As Matthew Gavin Frank writes in the introduction to The Mad Feast, essays are “a series of attempts, as opposed to a presumption of certainty. These pieces grapple towards a larger, nebulous truth that might exist beyond or in spite of me, but for which, in order to approach it…I needed to engage various aspects of myself—via various lenses—as tools.”
‑ Aggregation: A good essay pushes the conversation forward.
We will respond to every pitch we’re sent, but we can’t confirm receipt of the pitch. You will hear from us whether it’s yes or no, though, we promise. Send submissions to [email protected].
If you’re thinking of pitching to us, start here:
A Journey to the Medical Netherworld by Alison Motluk
Captcha by Naomi Skwarna
Fear and Trembling in Las Vegas by Tara Isabella Burton
Know Your History, Know Your Greatness by Eternity Martis
Low Stakes Forever by Nicholas Hune-Brown
Surviving the Love Bomb by Kathleen Hale
Swole Without a Goal by Anshuman Iddamsetty
Test of Loyalty by Sam Alden
That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore by Zachary Lipez
Winona, Forever by Soraya Roberts