Submission Guidelines

In December 2023, HNN transitioned to a new editorial model that centers on its weekly email newsletter. Each week, the newsletter serves up short-form essays to help readers make sense of the ways in which currents from the past continue to swirl through the present.

If you are a writer with insights to offer along these lines, we would love to hear from you. We are currently accepting pitches for original pieces to include in our newsletter. Here’s what we’re looking for, and how our process works.

What to Pitch:
We welcome pitches for pieces that fall into any one of the following basic types:

  • Reflections on the connections between current and past events. We will consider pitches about the history of news items, but are especially interested in commentary on the ways that history is being portrayed, debated, invoked, and used in contemporary discourse and culture. These pieces could provide context to objects, trends, and phrases in the news or other popular media.
  • Explainers by historians about their sources/methods/analysis that give non-specialists a better understanding about how historical “knowledge” is created.
  • Historiographical essays that illuminate, in accessible and engaging language, the various ways that historians have understood and written about a given topic. We welcome narrative profiles of underappreciated historians, or those rarely known outside of their field, showing how their time period and background shaped their understanding of the past, or action-packed snapshots of historians at work that reveal how history-writing worked in previous decades and centuries.
  • Reconsiderations that address major works and their impact on scholarly and/or public understanding of the past. These might include discussions of a book that was especially important to the author regardless of whether its influence is widely acknowledged today. They might also feature explorations of the hidden ways in which history has been created through works of popular culture in the past.

Our published pieces will generally fall in the 1,000-1,500 word range, but we will also observe an “as long as it needs to be” editorial standard. We’re looking for pieces that are inviting, engaging, and accessible to a wide range of readers. We encourage authors to keep Barbara Fields’ directive in mind and write in a way that “makes sense to your Aunt Fanny, who is not a scholar but an intelligent person who wants to understand.”

Who Should Pitch:
We expect that most of our contributors will be credentialed historians at various points in their professional journeys. But we also welcome pitches from scholars in other fields, as well as from people outside the academy, so long as they can demonstrate a thorough grounding in the topics they’re discussing.

How to Pitch:
We accept both pitches and completed works, though we have a strong preference for the former, and will never publish anything that hasn’t gone through our editing process. Pitches should include 1-2 paragraphs that summarize the piece’s main argument and why you think it will matter to our readers. Please explain why you are the right person to write this piece, along with links to anything else you’ve written for non-academic audiences. Pitches should be emailed to We will do our best to respond within 2-3 weeks.

Authors of accepted pitches will work with one of our editors to refine their pieces, and will be compensated $300 for their labors.