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.