Whiting Literary Magazine Prizes

Whiting Literary Magazine Prizes


The 2018 application cycle for the Prizes has now closed. Winners will be announced in the summer of 2018. The Foundation will begin accepting applications for the next cycle in the fall of 2018. The below guidelines are for reference only.


About the Prizes

Literary magazines are more than vessels for fresh writing; they’re critical to the evolution of writers’ careers and the health of the literary ecosystem. They’re run by some of the most devoted and determined creative minds in the publishing industry, who often provide the first significant editorial relationship for an emerging writer, helping hone voice and craft.  They find these writers their first audience. Agents and book editors discover new talent in their pages. They’re cultural hubs in their region, whether that’s a part of the country or a place in the mind. Their reach has always been exponentially greater than their subscriber bases.

But these publications often achieve their amazing results with too few resources and too little recognition for their accomplishment. The Foundation, known for its longstanding support of individual emerging writers through the annual Whiting Awards, has created this grant with the desire to acknowledge, reward, and encourage organizations that are actively nurturing the writers who tell us, through their art, what is important.

Because the Foundation appreciates the role of both nimble upstarts and more established journals, of digital publications as well as print, the prizes will be given in three categories:


•   Print Prize for medium-sized magazines (budgets of ~$150,000* to $500,000):

    •   Total potential prize: $60,000

    •   $20,000 as an outright grant in the first year

    •   A one-to-one matching grant of up to $20,000 per year for the following two years

•   Print Prize for smaller magazines (budgets of less than ~$150,000*):

    •   Total potential prize:  $30,000

    •   $10,000 as an outright grant in the first year

    •   A two-to-one matching grant of up to $10,000 per year for the following two years

•   Digital Prize for magazines publishing primarily online (budgets of up to $500,000):

    •   Total potential prize:  $30,000

    •   $10,000 as an outright grant in the first year

    •   A two-to-one matching grant of up to $10,000 per year for the following two years


* The exact cutoff in budget size between the prizes for medium-sized and smaller print publications will be determined based on the applicant pool, though we anticipate it will be about $150,000. This will not affect how you complete your application, which will be placed in the correct category by foundation staff.


Winners will be selected by outside readers with deep expertise in literature and literary magazines. The judges will look for applicants that embody the best of what magazines do: publish extraordinary writing with verve and flair, support talented writers on the page and in the world, connect with readers, and advance the literary community.

By offering support that unfolds over several years, the Whiting Foundation hopes to ignite growth. What distinguishes this prize is the call to action built into its design: winning magazines will be encouraged to strive for visionary goals – reaching for new talent and investing in their own sustainability, as well as their ability to bring their writers to a wider readership.

As with its other programs, the Whiting Foundation will offer winners support beyond the prize itself, lining up expert advisors on consultation with winners to help tackle perpetual challenges such as fundraising and marketing, and helping them form a cohort that will convene several times a year to think through challenges and opportunities they share.

All applicants must be not-for-profit in the US, have annual budgets of no more than $500,000, and have published at least annually for at least three years. Because of IRS restrictions on the use of funds by private foundations like Whiting, publications must be not-for-profit organizations or operate with a 501(c)(3) organization regularly serving as a fiscal sponsor to be eligible for this prize. More information about fiscal sponsorship is available at this link.

Since the Foundation believes in supporting the work of writers, we encourage applicants who pay them. If you do not pay your contributors, please include your plan for eventually doing so in your application.


Whiting welcomes interested publications to apply by December 15, 2017. There is no fee to apply. Recipients will be notified in late spring of 2018.


Courtney Hodell, Director of Literary Programs, comments, “When literary magazines suffer, literature feels it, and when they thrive, so do writers and readers. We hope to bring more attention to their great work, and help them reach their ambitions.”