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House style sheet

Journal of West Indian Literature (JWIL) House Style Guide for Authors

Scholarly articles, book reviews, and interviews should conform to the MLA Handbook, 9th Ed. The guidelines below highlight some key points and JWIL style preferences.

We use standard British English. However, we prefer ‘ize’ endings rather than ‘ise.’

We prefer that you use a comma before the ‘and’ or the ‘or’ between the last two items in a series of words, phrases or clauses.

Use only one space after full stops, question marks, colons, etc.

Please use Baskerville 12 point font for all parts of your submission.



Spell out the names of countries (United States, United Kingdom, European Union).

You may retain the abbreviated form if it is used as an adjective (e.g. EU funding, US policy).


The following is the agreed style for captions:

Captions appear below the image and typically begin with the abbreviation for Figure (Fig.), followed by assigned Arabic numerals and a brief description.

An entry in the Works Cited list is not necessary if an image caption provides complete information about the source and it is the only time the source is referenced in the text. Try to use open access images, where possible; otherwise provide credit and, if needed, permission.


  1. Use the subheading Works Cited for the list of works references that are cited after “Notes” at the end of your article.
  2. If only one work is cited, use the subheading Work Cited.
  3. Works Cited list should be double-spaced.
  4. Shorten the names of the publishers as much as possible in book citations.
    1. Cite only the last name of a publisher with the name of one person (e.g. Norton for W.W. Norton) and only the last name of the first listed for a publisher with multiple names (e.g. McGraw for McGraw-Hill)
    2. Use only U and P when referring to university presses (e.g. Oxford UP or U of Chicago P)
    3. For electronic resources, the access date is now requested only if an online work lacks a publication date or if it no longer exists.

Sample format for parenthetical or embedded citation

One aim of LeClair’s study is to “open up… the loop of academic discussion” (xiii) which tends “to privilege poststructuralist paradigms in its definitions of the postmodern” (23; emphasis added). For poetry, please cite line numbers parenthetically rather than page numbers.

Sample format for Works Cited list

(*For more examples and for guidance with other types of sources, please refer to

Carby, Hazel. Reconstructing Womanhood: The Emergence of the Afro-American Woman Novelist. Oxford

UP, 1987.

Farrell, Thomas B. Introduction. Norms of Rhetorical Culture, by Farrell, Yale UP, 1993, pp. 1-13.

Henderson, Gwendolyn Mae. “Speaking in Tongues: Dialogues, Dialects, and the Black Woman Writer’s

Literary Tradition.” Changing Our Own Words: Essays on Criticism, Theory, and Writing on Black

Women, edited by Cheryl A. Wall, Rutgers UP, 1989, pp. 125-37.

Langhamer, Claire. “Love and Courtship in Mid-Twentieth-Century England.” Historical Journal, vol. 50,

no. 1, 2007, pp. 173-96. ProQuest, doi:10.1017/S0018246X06005966.

McSweeney, Joyelle. “Poetics, Revelations, and Catastrophes: An Interview with Kamau Brathwaite.”

Raintaxi Review of Books, 2005. Online Edition.


Please refer to for more help with citing electronic sources. Please note that, with web sources, the access date is now requested only if an online work lacks a publication date or if it no longer exists. MLA only requires the www. address, so eliminate all https:// when citing URLs.

If the journal you are citing appears exclusively in an online format that does not make use of page numbers, use the abbreviation n. pag. to denote that there is no pagination for the publication.

To cite an original work of visual art (a lithograph, painting, photograph, sculpture, etc.) in an institution such as a museum or in a private collection, follow this format:

Provide the artist’s name, the title of the artwork in italics, the date of composition, and the medium of the piece. Finally, provide the name of the institution that houses the artwork followed by the location of the institution (if the location is not listed in the name of the institution, e.g. The Art Institute of Chicago).

To cite an image/reproduction of a work of visual art from a print source, follow this format:

For photographic reproductions of artwork (e.g. images of artwork in a book), treat the book or website as a container. Cite the bibliographic information as above followed by the information for the source in which the photograph appears, including page or reference numbers (plate, figure, etc.).


Goya, Francisco. The Family of Charles IV. 1800, Museo del Prado, Madrid. Gardener’s Art Through the

Ages, 10th ed., by Richard G. Tansey and Fred S. Kleiner, Harcourt Brace, p. 939.

To cite an image/reproduction of a work of visual art from the Web, follow this format:

Provide the artist’s name, the work of art italicized, the date of creation, the institution and city where the work is housed. Follow this initial entry with the name of the website in italics, and the date of access.

List films by their title. Include the name of the director, the film studio or distributor, and the release year. If relevant, list performer names after the director’s name.


The Usual Suspects. Directed by Bryan Singer, performances by Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Chazz Palminteri, Stephen Baldwin, and Benecio del Toro, Polygram, 1995.


Spell out contractions (e.g. ‘do not’ instead of ‘don’t’, ‘did not’ instead of ‘didn’t’)


Use consistent order for information in dates: day-month-year with no punctuation (12 January 1990) or day-month-year with a comma after the day and another after the year unless the date appears at the end of a sentence (January 12, 1990).

However, if you are referring to 11 September 2001, you can use 9/11.


Epigraphs should be single-spaced and indented two inches from the paper’s edge on both sides. The name of the author of the epigraph’s content should be typed immediately below the epigraph, indented to the right, and preceded with an em-dash. The source of the epigraph must be included on a Works Cited page.


Hyphens can be used to avoid mispronunciation where there is a collision of vowels (e.g. anti-intellectual) or to avoid confusion with another word (e.g. re-cover/recover). Please hyphenate “working-class” and “middle-class” when they are used as adjectives, but not when used as nouns.

Em dash

For parenthetical dashes, note that we use an em dash (—). Do not mistake the em dash for the slightly narrower en dash (–) or the even narrower hyphen (-).

En dash

We use the en dash (–) to connect numbers in a range.

pp. 110–130
2–10 p.m.,
John Browne (1960–)


Foreign words and phrases inserted in the text should be italicized, but capitalized proper names of foreign organizations, institutions etc. should be kept in Roman type, not in italics.

When italics are used for emphasis with quotations, authors must ensure that they indicate whether the emphasis is from the original text, or whether they have added it so as to make their own point. Ex. (241; emphasis added) or (52; emphasis in original)


Ensure your notes are endnotes, not footnotes. Notes should be as brief as possible.

Place note calls outside of the punctuation; that is, after the comma, full stop, semi colon etc. When a parenthetical dash appears in the text, the note call must be before the dash.

The note call must be superscript Arabic (e.g. 1, 2, 3).

Endnotes begin on a new page after the article but before the Works Cited. Center the title “Notes,” using 12-point Baskerville font. Double-space all entries, and indent each entry 0.5” from the margin.


Spell out numbers written in one or two words such as “two” or “three hundred.” If you begin a sentence with a number, spell it out, even if it is a date or other number that uses more than two words. When using large numbers, as long as they do not start the sentence, you can use a combination of numerals and words, such as “2.5 billion.”

Use commas between every three digits from the right in large numerals (“1,000” and “352,000,000”).

Write out spans of time such as “sixteenth century.”

N.B. This does not apply to bibliographic information.


Percentages are always expressed in figures, not words. Please use per cent rather than % if the term is used once or twice in an isolated paragraph. However % is acceptable if a series of percentages are given within a paragraph, for example a statistical survey.

Quotation Marks

If an author wishes to draw attention to a word or phrase, it is acceptable to use roman type inside double quote marks. Please do not use italics in this instance.

Use double quotation marks when referring to the titles of articles, short stories, poems and songs. Set punctuation marks within the quotation marks.

For quotations that are not indented, set punctuation marks at the end of a quoted passage and within the quotation marks:

“If music be the food of love, play on.”

Place the citation within the final punctuation.

e.g. “If music be the food of love, play on” (10).

For quotations that are more than four lines of prose or three lines of verse, place quotations in a free-standing block of text and omit quotation marks. Start the quotation on a new line, with the entire quote indented one inch from the left margin; maintain double-spacing. Only indent the first line of the quotation by an additional quarter inch if you are citing multiple paragraphs. Your parenthetical citation should come after the closing punctuation mark. When quoting verse, maintain original line breaks.

Omitted material in quotations should be signaled by ellipses enclosed in square brackets […]. Please note that there are no spaces between the suspension points.


When subheadings are used to divide the text, they should be flush left and bold.