Blue City, Red State: Call For Submissions

2017-06-27T08:38:51+00:00June 20th, 2017|


Blue City, Red State is forthcoming anthology from Belt Publishing, to appear in October 2018. We’re collecting essays about living blue in a red state—whatever that means to you—by writers who live in or have ties to a Midwestern state.


In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, much has been made of the role of conservative factions in the Midwest and Rust Belt. This region of the country, in contemporary political discourse, is often synonymous with rural voters, right-wing values, and the infamous, monolithic “white working class.”

But it’s not that simple.

“Red states” are home to a diverse collection of people at the crossroads of specific social, economic, and cultural forces. And there is no one story that can encompass them all. But too often it’s the easy narratives, the trite stereotypes that dominate the conversation. Even our title—Blue City, Red State—echoes established assumptions about the nature of Rust Belt progressivism. This anthology is a chance to complicate the discussion, to bring to light the unseen (and overlooked) politics of flyover country.


We welcome submissions of original completed essays and pitches from journalists, academics, activists and citizens of all kinds—documented or otherwise. Women, people of color, and LGBTQ individuals are encouraged to submit. Essays can be first-person or reported, and submissions on a wide range of topics will be considered. (And we are open to all variations on this theme, including small-town leftist enclaves, rural progressives, and far-right city dwellers). Length can be anywhere from 500-4000 words.

Send submissions or pitches to The subject line for completed pieces should read “SUBMISSION: BLUE CITY, RED STATE – [your name].” Essays should be in the body of the email. Journalists looking to pitch stories should put QUERY in the subject line. Include a brief bio in the body of your email. Only one pitch or submission per person. Writers will be compensated for their work.

Deadline for submissions is September 15, 2017.


Belt Publishing is an independent, Cleveland-based publisher producing quality non-fiction by and for the region. Our titles have been praised by the New York TimesVanity Fair, Ebony, Ploughshares, and numerous other publications. Become a member and support independent publishing.



  1. Laura June 21, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    Wonderful theme. Thanks for fostering literary conversation on the Belt.

  2. Uniters Centrist July 4, 2017 at 4:31 am

    Are you interested in centrist independents, or just liberals?

    • Anne Trubek July 5, 2017 at 12:52 pm

      anyone is free to submit!

  3. Mike July 5, 2017 at 8:04 pm

    Is there a limit top the number of submissions? Should they be first person experiential or can they be more academic essays on the subject in general?

    • Anne Trubek July 6, 2017 at 2:53 pm

      no limit, and you can send us first person essays or non-fiction about the subject.

  4. Cassey August 23, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    Can they be published as blog posts first, on our own pages?

    • William Rickman August 25, 2017 at 12:52 pm

      That should be OK. Send your submission on to as instructed in the piece above whenever you are ready.

  5. Dina Elenbogen September 12, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    Do you accept previously published essays?

    • Anne Trubek September 12, 2017 at 3:25 pm

      yes, if you have the rights.

  6. Annie September 25, 2017 at 11:53 am

    Missed this deadline. Had been working on an essay. Erroneously wrote on calendar that it was due Oct. 1. Any chance I can still send it?

    • William Rickman September 25, 2017 at 4:46 pm

      Sure, send your submission on over to

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