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Book Reviews

Guidelines for Book Reviews

We are happy that you have accepted our invitation to review a book for the Journal of West Indian Literature (JWIL). The following guidelines have been created to standardize the review process and to provide direction to all book reviewers.

Reviews should generally be submitted 6-8 weeks after you receive the book. If this time period is unrealistic for your own schedule, please communicate this to the Review Editor. We hope it will be an unusual instance but if you feel a text is not worth reviewing, please contact the Review Editor. The book is yours once you submit a review.

Format for reviews

Please use Times New Roman 12 point font, double spaced. Book review headings should appear as follows: author (s), title, publisher, place (city) and date of publication, total number of pages. Please separate preliminary pages from main text pages, e.g. xii + 250 pp.)

In your first reference refer to author by given name(s) or initials, and subsequently by surname. Please avoid using titles and honorifics (Prof., Dr., Sir). When using quotations, page references should be in parenthesis. Please do not use footnotes. If you refer to another work, please include the full bibliographical data in your endnotes. Scholarly articles, book reviews, and interviews should conform to the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, 3rd Ed. Please also see the Journal’s “House Style” guidelines for additional instructions.

To avoid delays, please submit attachments as Microsoft Word Files or RTF (rich text format) only. PDF files will NOT be accepted.

Word Limit

For reviews of literary texts – no longer than 1, 000 words.

For reviews of critical, biographical and theoretical studies – no longer than 1, 500 words.


Reviews of creative works should give some overview of the text—context, story, themes, how it fits into the author’s oeuvre. Reviews of critical, theoretical or biographical studies should contain three types of information: an overview, an evaluation and a recommendation. In evaluating the work, please summarize the argument and mention the features that make the work distinctive. You should also say something brief about the author(s) and what expertise is brought to the subject. It would be useful to provide a description of the scholarly field and overview of the major discourses with which the text engages. For reviews of edited collections, please summarize the essays that make up the collection or at least a sample from each section.

  • Say what are the work’s strengths, its weaknesses and its omissions.
  • Do not structure your review as a chapter by chapter analysis. Instead, focus on the book as a whole taking care to highlight particular aspects that illustrate your points.
  • Relate the work under review to others dealing with the same topic.
  • Where works are illustrated, comment on the clarity and relevance of these illustrations.
  • If relevant, indicate the target reader to whom the work would appeal.
  • At the end of your review, please indicate your full name and affiliation.

We thank you very much for your willingness to review a book and for your interest in the Journal of West Indian Literature (JWIL). Queries may be directed to the JWIL Book Review Editor at the address provided on the website or at

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