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Writing for LSE Review of Books

LSE Review of Books is a forum that facilitates engagement with the latest academic publications across the social sciences and the humanities. Through publishing open-access book reviews, we encourage the exchange of ideas between experts within and outside of the academy and open up academic research to wider audiences. While our main content is reviews, we also publish other features including bookshop guides, essays and author interviews.  

If you are interested in contributing a book review, please look at the list of available titles for review in your disciplinary field(s). As well as single book reviews, we are open to hearing proposals for longer-form reviews that address multiple books on related themes.  

Potential new contributors are kindly asked to contact the Managing Editor, Anna D’Alton, at about the books you are interested in reviewing for the blog; please include information about your relevant research interests and experience. When requesting to review a book, please do let us know if you have an existing personal or professional relationship with the book’s author or editor. We request that contributors are studying for or have attained a doctorate or have equivalent professional experience in the relevant field. 

Key Guidelines

LSE Review of Books is a space for scholarly engagement with the latest books across the social sciences. Reviews should be considered, fair and all your own work. We expect reviews to be grounded in evidence, rather than unsubstantiated opinion, and to: 

  • Situate a book within the scholarly debate on a subject before assessing the quality of the author’s argument.
  • Keep the scholarly interests of the reading audience in mind but also write in a way that is clear and accessible to wide audiences, including students at various levels of study, academics, policymakers, journalists and members of the public. 
  • Outline who the author is (this might include mentioning their qualifications or notable works).
  • Set out what the main goals of the book are and whether they are achieved – it may not be possible to cover the full contents of the book. Instead, you could choose a few central arguments or chapters to analyse and discuss using key quotes, statistics, anecdotes or other examples from the book where relevant. 
  • Provide key definitions of concepts discussed in the book.
  • Assess the quality and soundness of the author’s argument and writing – were you convinced by their arguments, why/why not? 
  • Suggest whether the work contributes to its field and how.
  • Suggest to whom or for what the book might be of interest/relevance and whether you would recommend it.

In regard to tone, criticism, both positive and negative, must be substantiated. Personal attacks on the author, as opposed to strong disagreement with the book’s ideas, are not appropriate and will not be considered for publication. 

If you have any additional questions about the guidelines or how to approach a book review, please contact the Managing Editor, Anna D’Alton, at You may also like to read these blog post sharing advice on writing the introductions to book reviews and reviewing edited collections.

Length and Format

  • We ask for reviews to be around 1,000 words in length. This typically equates to around 8 to 10 short paragraphs.
  • Please send completed reviews in a Word document, along with a short biography (60 words or less) and a headshot, on or before your deadline to Please remember to include the full publication details of the book under review.

House Style

  • Page numbers for quotes are optional, but it can be useful to provide them.
  • Please convert bullet points into full paragraphs.
  • We use hyperlinks rather than citations for references. Links should be used to direct readers to more detailed reports or associated research, news items or other blog posts. Open access sources are preferred over ones behind paywalls.
  • We use double rather than single quotation marks.
  • Our reviews also use UK spelling: for example, ‘centre’ rather than ‘center’ and ‘organisation’ instead of ‘organization’.

Editing Process and Publication

  • We set a timeframe of six to eight weeks between the reviewer receiving the book and submitting the review. Submitted reviews and articles will then be assessed by the Managing Editor, who will undertake a copy-edit and proofread of the piece to enhance readability, minimise typographical errors and ensure factual accuracy.
  • You will then be sent feedback and a copy-edited version of the essay. You will be given the opportunity to respond to comments and to undertake any further edits before a final version is agreed.
  • Minor edits are made to nearly all submitted reviews and essays. Typically, these are made for stylistic reasons; however, you may be asked to provide more detail on a particular argument, to double-check factual claims or to provide additional links to supporting information. All substantial changes will be agreed with authors before publication.
  • Once a review essay is published on the blog, you will be notified and a link to the review will be sent through to you.

Managing Life and Reviews

  • If you think you might have to submit later than planned, just drop us an email at to let us know. We can work out a new deadline that takes the pressure off.
  • We are always happy to be flexible with deadlines for reviewers who are dyslexic or have other neurolinguistic identities.
  • We are also a ‘family-friendly’ review site and are happy to delay deadlines when new family members come along or other circumstances arise.

Best Practice Examples

If you’d like to get a sense of what we’re looking for, here is a selection of best practice examples we have published:


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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 UK: England & Wales
This work by LSE Review of Books is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 UK: England & Wales.