Composition StudiesComposition StudiesUniversity of Cincinnati

Composition Studies

Book Reviews

Book Review Guidelines

Scope and Content

Composition Studies publishes three kinds of book reviews:

  • Single-authored review of a current book that describes the work and its contribution to composition theory, research, and/or practice, and offers a judgment informed both by the writer's background and larger disciplinary concerns. (1000-1500 words)
  • Single-authored review essay of 2-3 books in the field that attempts to draw out intersecting threads among the works, emerging shifts in scholarship and pedagogy, and/or divergent approaches to similar problems or questions. The review essay also features the reviewer’s original analysis or viewpoint on the issues under consideration. (3000-3500 words)
  • Dialogue among two to three reviewers about 2-3 books either in the field or beyond it that have bearing on practices or theories in Composition Studies. Formatted as a conversation, the goal of this review is to document spirited dialogue about major themes, concepts, problems, and/or questions that emerge when current works are read side-by-side. Not a comprehensive review of the books under discussion, this review aims to capture the energy and rhythm of dialogue as it emerges between people who care deeply about a given issue. (3000–3500 words)

Whatever the review, please avoid digressions and lengthy quotations. To that end, we ask the following: include no more than 150 words of direct citation from the book being reviewed; keep your external sources to a minimum; and avoid using footnotes or endnotes.

Review of Manuscripts

Composition Studies does not accept unsolicited book reviews. Decisions to accept or reject a review will be based on the quality of the review and its relevance to composition studies. To ensure clarity and consistency among book reviews, you may be asked to revise your manuscript. Reviews exceeding the posted word counts will not be considered until revised. The editorial staff reserves the right to edit any submission as needed, or not publish the review.


You will receive a copy of the book to be reviewed; it is yours to keep. However, if for any reason you cannot complete your review, return the book immediately so we can send to another reviewer.

Print and Online Publication

All accepted reviews will appear on the Composition Studies website, and (based on available print space) the editorial staff will select a number of these reviews for publication in the print edition of Composition Studies. By submitting a review, you agree to have it appear in both online and print media. Each reviewer will receive a copy of the Composition Studies issue in which the review appears or is listed.

Manuscript Preparation

Preparing your review according to our style guidelines will ensure that we can schedule the publication of your work in a timely manner. Any questions not addressed by this style sheet should be answered by reference to the MLA Handbook (seventh edition). If you have questions, email Asao B. Inoue (

Typeface: Times or Times New Roman (10 point font)

Spacing: Single-space text throughout; no line spaces between paragraphs. 

Titles and Capitalization: Please italicize titles. Make references to “chapter 2” or “section 3” rather than “Chapter Two” or “Section III” (even if that is how the sections appear in the book).   

Citations: When citing print sources, refer to MLA guidelines. If you do refer to external sources, prepare a Works Cited list that includes only those items specifically cited in the body of the text.

Headings should run in the following order:

Book Title, by Author of Book. City of Publication: Press, Year of Publication. Total book pages.

Reviewed by Jane Doe, University of Composition
Body of review text
City and State
(abbreviate state)

Works Cited

Headings may follow these examples:

Questioning Authority: Stories Told in School, edited by Linda Adler-Kassner and Susanmarie Harrington. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2001. 228 pp.

Demythologizing Language Difference in the Academy: Establishing Discipline-Based Writing Programs, by Mark L. Waldo. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2003. 304 pp.

The signature line should include your name and institutional affiliation exactly as you would like them to appear, and be located directly under the reviewed book’s title heading (with city and state listed at end of the review):

Reviewed by Ruth Mirtz, Ferris State University
(end of review) Big Rapids, MI

Typography: Please be sure to spell accurately author names, especially those with diacritic marks (compôsitiöñ stúdïeš). If there are any other special features that we need to preserve, please let us know.

Submission: Please do not send unsolicited reviews. Invited contributors should send his/her review as an email attachment to Kelly Kinney, Book Review Editor, at Preferred formats are Microsoft Word, Wordperfect, or rich-text files. Please label your file accordingly (e.g., “Mirtz-review.doc”).