Author Guidelines

The purpose of these guidelines is to establish the general guidelines for submission to Lifewriting Annual (LA) so contributing authors can format and prepare their manuscripts. Carefully following the instructions detailed below will ensure that your submission is reviewed as efficiently as possible.

You may contact our Editor-in-Chief Carol DeBoer-Langworthy or our section editors using our contact form with any questions about anything in this guide.

All correspondence and manuscripts are handled directly through our online submission portal. We prefer to receive all manuscripts digitally through this system.

We look forward to reading your submission.

Article Types

When you submit your work to LA, a list of sections will appear as a drop-down menu. Please click on the relevant section at the point of submission and add its name in your notes to the editor.

These include:

Articles or Essays must describe the outcomes of unpublished original research. These should make a substantial contribution to knowledge and understanding in the subject area. As appropriate, it should be supported by relevant figures and tabulated data. Research articles should be of an appropriate length for the discipline. While we recommend 8,000 words, this is flexible. All word limits include referencing and citation. We also consider new original works of lifewriting — life stories in any style.

Book Reviews are thoughtful and engaging assessments of lifewriting across books and other media. They should be 1,000 or 1,500 words or fewer.

Crossings combine or use at least two genres of lifewriting in presentation. These may range from poetry to historical narrative, testimonial to images.

Findings share documents or information discovered by scholars along the way to something else. These items may range from diaries to collections of hats — anything that might inspire another scholar to pursue the topic further. Libraries and archives are invited to share information about their collections/holdings relating to lifewriting here.

Special Collections are collated by LA staff and introduced by the organizer(s) of a Special Collection around a theme that is agreed upon in advance with the LA editors. Such collations may span years (volumes) of LA publications or reflect a new theme. Persons interested in spearheading such a project may propose it to LA editors via email. Such proposals should articulate the Special Collection’s scope and aims, along with an overview of the articles that could fit within it — all within the range of 2000 words. As work proceeds, Special Editors will provide an introduction to the collection in the range of 8000 words, although longer introductions are acceptable. It is not a requirement for introductions to Special Collections to be peer-reviewed.

General Formatting Guides

  • File name: [Author’s last name]-[Author’s first name]_[ShortTitle], e.g. 'Bahr-David_Labile Lines';
  • Font: 12-point Times New Roman;
  • Margins: 1 inch;
  • Spacing: Double spacing except for block quotations, which should be single-spaced;
  • Alignment: Left-aligned, except as needed for specific quotations;
  • Paragraph breaks: Use hard returns to break paragraphs, not indentation;
  • Anonymity: DO NOT include any identifying information (name, institutional affiliations, etc.) anywhere on the file except the cover page. Please refer to the publisher's guide on 'Ensuring an Anonymous Review' for more information on how to do this.

Cover Page

The cover page should be the first page of the file. It should include the following information:

  • (Lead) Author’s full name;
  • Preferred email address;
  • Institutional Affiliation - include department, institution, city, country (we welcome submissions from independent scholars);
  • Author biography
  • Article title


Essays and articles must preface the main text with an abstract of no more than 250 words summarizing the main arguments and conclusions of the piece. This must be given under the heading “Abstract” and should be clearly separate from the start of the article’s main text. A list of no more than six keywords should be placed below the abstract (although this is optional). The abstract and keywords should also be added to the article’s metadata; this is done when the initial online submission to LA is made.

Acknowledgements (optional)

Any acknowledgements must be given in a separate paragraph, titled “Acknowledgements”, placed after the main text but before the reference list.

Competing Interests

Regardless of whether the author(s) have any competing interests, a declaration must be given as a short paragraph placed before the references section. Please read the publisher's guide on ‘How to Declare Competing Interests,’ for further information.

Ethics and Consent (if applicable)

Research involving human subjects, human material, or human data, must have been performed in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki. For further information on ethics and consent, please see the 'Journal Policies' page.

Referencing Style

LA uses the latest edition of the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) Notes-Bibliography system for both stylistic guidelines and documentation conventions. Authors should refer to CMOS for anything not explicitly mentioned here.

General Format

  1. All notes should be listed as endnotes, not as footnotes. All endnotes should be embedded.
  2. Paragraphs should be broken using a hard return and not indentation.
  3. Turn off the automatic hyphenation on your word processor. Do not manually insert hyphens at the ends of lines.
  4. Punctuation that is not part of the quotation and does not appear in the original source shall never be put inside the quotations.

Inclusion and Accessibility

Lifewriting Annual is committed to the full inclusion of all people. In order to ensure the same, we request our writers to follow the following guidelines:

  1. When using an em-dash ( — ), leave a space on either side. E.g. you may insert em dashes to set off phrases within a sentence — such as this one — by pressing the shift, option/alt, and dash keys simultaneously.
  2. To ensure accessibility for all our readers, provide alt-text information for any visual media included (photographs, graphs, etc.) and transcriptions for any audio media.
  3. LA accepts and encourages the use of the singular “they” pronoun and any neopronouns.

Non-English Languages

The main text of all submissions must be in English. We encourage submissions of essays, articles, and reviews about texts in all languages.

Any isolated phrases in non-English languages must not be italicized. Italics may be used for quotations in languages other than English under two circumstances:

  • To preserve the formatting of the text from the original source;
  • To emphasize specific words or phrases, when noted as such.

Translate non-English quotations in parentheses immediately following the quotation. If the sonic quality of the words is essential to the argument, a transliteration may also be provided for quotations in languages that use a non-Latin script. On virtue of being an online journal, we can also embed audio files within the published piece, if doing so would add meaningfully to the aesthetic or intellectual quality of the piece.

If you are concerned that anything in your manuscript might pose an issue like non-Latin scripts, special characters, media, etc., please note the same in the “Comments to the Editor” section on the submission form.

Citing Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers

CMOS does not explicitly have a format for citing Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers or information imparted by them in traditional (generally oral) formats, rather than published research. CMOS recommends that unpublished interviews be cited in-text or in notes and not in bibliography. Out of respect for the expertise of Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers as well as the importance of the oral knowledge shared by them, LA requires that authors follow the following format to cite this knowledge.


Firstname Lastname (Elder/Knowledge Keeper), Nation/Traditional Territory, topic of teachings, brief description of knowledge-sharing type, Learner’s FirstName LastName, Place, Date.


LastName FirstName (Elder/Knowledge Keeper), Nation/Traditional Territory, topic of teachings, brief description of knowledge sharing type, Learner’s LastName FirstName, Place, Date.

  1. If an Elder or Knowledge Keeper prefers to use their Indigenous name instead of their English name, simply replace the last and first names with the traditional name.
  2. If the person has a traditional title other than “Elder” or “Knowledge Keeper” that they would like to use, note the same.
  3. Information may be left out if requested by the Elder/Knowledge Keeper. For instance, if they do not want to share their Indigenous/English name or their location.
  4. “Knowledge-sharing type” can include but is not limited to storytelling, dance performance, ceremony, etc.