Whiting Literary Magazine Prizes
Whiting Literary Magazine Prizes
The Whiting Literary Magazine Prizes empower outstanding nonprofit publications to develop and implement ideas that will have a transformative impact and help sustain their crucial work as champions of writers. Up to eight prizes of $10k-$20k are awarded every three years to magazines that publish extraordinary writing, support talented writers on the page and in the world, connect with readers, and advance the literary community. Each prize includes an outright grant in the first year followed by matching grants in the next two years as well as a portfolio of professional development opportunities. read more >
2022 Print Prize Winner($150,000 to $500,000 budget)
ZYZZYVA was founded in San Francisco in 1985 to give West Coast poets, writers, and artists – many of whom were overlooked by an East Coast-centric publishing world – a much-needed platform. Over 35 years later, it has established itself as an acclaimed, nationally distributed publication that showcases contributors from all over the world while staying true to its regional roots. Each issue offers audacious work across genres while amplifying emerging voices, and examines ethical concerns as urgent as labor, the environment, borders, and technology. A single artist’s work features throughout every issue and guides its overall design, to elegant and cohesive effect. ZYZZYVA also fosters community in the Bay Area by offering writing workshops, partnering with local bookstores and organizations on literary events, and hosting free public readings with the release of every issue.
ZYZZYVA has for years been a shepherd to a capacious community of West Coast writers. Masterfully edited and sharply cerebral, this place-based journal dazzles readers with formal innovation and an appetite for adventure, diving deeply into its regionality while ushering the world onto its pages. As a print object it has exquisite presence and dignity, featuring gorgeous full-color prints at the center of every issue. Out of a rich history rooted in San Francisco, a stalwart, world-class magazine has emerged.
2022 Print Prize Winner(under $150,000 budget)
Bennington Review brings together writing that is as playful as it is probing through a geographically broad and culturally rich array of voices, whether prominent, up-and-coming, or new. First published in 1966, it relaunched in 2016 as a faculty-edited teaching publication that gives undergraduate editorial assistants at Bennington College hands-on experience working on a distinctive national magazine. This biannual print journal publishes poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and film writing that is at once innovative, intelligent, and moving, under wonderfully elastic themes such as “Misbegotten Youth,” “Kissing in the Future,” and “Return to a Meadow.” It celebrates the unique pleasures of a bound print journal as an intimate, immersive reading experience.
With an editorial vision that is razor-sharp and whimsical all at once, Bennington Review foretells the future of literary magazines. Each issue is a jewel box of unabashedly intelligent and singular fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, not to mention an uncommonly ample devotion to film criticism and work in translation. Its design is handsome and bold, its impact on readers and writers profound. Literary talent will radiate out of Bennington Review for years to come.
2022 Print Development Grantee Winner
American Chordata, a Brooklyn-based magazine, pairs emerging voices in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry with visual artwork carefully chosen to create a sense of dialogue between forms. Since it began publishing in 2015, American Chordata has built a reputation as a launching pad, often finding writers and artists their first audience, and as a home for work that is innovative and stylistically daring. As captivating to look at as it is to read, this singular publication appeals to habitual lovers and first-time readers of literary magazines alike.
American Chordata is a standout in style and interdisciplinary exploration. The magazine brings stunning images into conversation with breathtaking poetry, bracing memoir, and fiction that is compact yet expansive, creating a multidimensional reading experience that brims with surprising connections between forms. The editors seem wholly immersed in a vibrant world of multicultural writers and artists, and their delight in drawing readers into it is an act of creative generosity.
2022 Digital Prize Winner
Apogee Journal urges the exploration of identity – including race, gender, sexuality, class, and ability – and its intersections. In line with the definition of “apogee,” the point in an object’s orbit farthest from the center, the magazine lifts up work by emerging voices on the cultural and political margins. Apogee was first conceived in 2011 by writers of color and international students in Columbia’s graduate writing program, and in the decade since, as an independent organization, deepened its commitment to upending the status quo and creating opportunities for writers of color. With the support of a membership program, all digital issues are available for free, and Apogee extends its reach beyond its website through readings, issue launches, workshops, and other programming.
Apogee Journal conjures a more equitable world through literature, operating at the pinnacle of care and thought in giving marginalized writers what they need to be heard and to thrive. Born ambitious and with a willingness to take risks, Apogee has broken new ground in its work with incarcerated writers, so full of immediacy, honesty, depth, and nuance. Sensitive, abounding in editorial brilliance and fierce activist passion, Apogee and its commitments to community and artful political engagement are nothing short of revelatory.
2022 Digital Prize Winner
Electric Literature’s mission is to make literature more exciting, relevant, and inclusive. In addition to essays, criticism, and literary news, it publishes two renowned weekly magazines: Recommended Reading, which features short stories and novel excerpts with introductions by esteemed writers, and The Commuter, a home for flash fiction, poetry, and graphic narrative. EL has been widening who is included in the literary conversation since 2009, and everything it publishes is available online for free. It favors writing that is intelligent and unpretentious, and literature that fosters empathy with pathos, critical thinking, and humor. EL also offers an abundance of resources to readers and writers, including virtual salons that help demystify the craft of writing and the publishing industry.
An indispensable project with exceptional reach, Electric Literature evaporates publishing’s traditional barriers and makes literature transparent, accessible, irresistible. This is no small feat. Electric Literature pushes the boundaries of what a literary magazine can be, with legions of readers turning to the website every day for timely literary news, illuminating craft essays, compelling fiction, and provocative poetry. Electric Literature can be whatever its reader needs most: a sanctuary, a community, a map charting literature’s course.
The Massachusetts Review
2021 Print Prize Winner($150,000 to $500,000 budget)
The Massachusetts Review promotes social justice and equality, along with great art. Committed to aesthetic excellence as well as public engagement, MR publishes work that provokes debate, inspires action, and expands our understanding of the world. Since its founding in 1959 by professors from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Mount Holyoke, Amherst, and Smith Colleges, MR has published and promoted emerging and established artists from the US and internationally. Each year, MR publishes a special issue highlighting an underrepresented community or a critical social topic; past issues have addressed civil rights, the cost of war, and queer identity, and have showcased work by Caribbean, Asian American, North African and Middle Eastern, and Native American writers.
Can a magazine stay at the forefront of literary culture for over 60 years? The answer is in the read, and the Massachusetts Review has proved it deserves its place. This rigorously edited magazine publishes lucid, risk-taking writing with flair and exquisite judgement, featuring work by emerging writers and Nobel laureates that revels in formal experiment and traditional narrative. Delving into this journal is an act of discovery and a reminder of great literature’s timeless value.
Bellevue Literary Review
2021 Print Prize Winner(under $150,000 budget)
Bellevue Literary Review publishes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry that probe the nuances of our lives both in illness and health. By bringing together the perspectives of patients, caregivers, family members, healthcare professionals, and creative observers, BLR highlights a diversity of voices from all communities and all walks of life. The first literary journal to arise from a medical setting, BLR has published two volumes of literature annually since 2001. As a newly independent literary arts organization, BLR engages its community of readers and writers through readings and events exploring the intersection of art, medicine, and science.
Born in a legendary city hospital as the brainchild of writers and healthcare professionals, Bellevue Literary Review captures—with great intimacy and concision—the experience not just of pain, or treatment, or healing, but of day-to-day life itself, deepening our understanding of the human body and literature’s role in exploring it. Bellevue Literary Review is loyal to its theme but never constrained by it, uncovering boundless tonal and narrative possibilities as it contemplates the body as a physical entity, probes the manifestation of mental illness, or reckons with how the racialized and gendered body is perceived.
2021 Print Development Grantee Winner
The Arkansas International seeks to put emerging and established authors from across the world in conversation with one another. Launched by the University of Arkansas’ Creative Writing & Translation program in 2016, the AI has published fiction, poetry, essays, comics, and works in translation from over 60 countries, including Egypt, Brazil, Venezuela, South Korea, Iran, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Russia, Italy, Galica, and Hungary. The AI also awards the annual C.D. Wright Emerging Poet’s Prize and an Emerging Writer’s Prize, both given to authors who have not yet published full-length works.
Distinguished by exceptional fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and comics that are as attentive to place as they are to language, the Arkansas International lives up to its name, publishing fiercely observant and open-hearted work by writers from around the globe. When this literature converges and collides with emerging work from within the United States, the result is breathtaking. The ambition of this bright new star in the literary firmament is nothing less than to build a world community of writers and readers.
Latin American Literature Today
2021 Digital Prize Winner
Latin American Literature Today is a quarterly online journal that publishes outstanding works of contemporary Latin American literature. It is entirely multilingual, with every piece available in the original Spanish, Portuguese, or Indigenous language as well as English translation. LALT was founded in 2017 and is a sister publication to the University of Oklahoma’s World Literature Today, published since 1927. LALT sees Latin America’s cultural, linguistic, and geographic identity as fluid and hybrid, and seeks to deepen understanding of its complexity through fiction, poetry, interviews, essays, reviews, and in-depth dossiers on both emerging and venerated literary figures.
Only four years old, Latin American Literature Today is an astoundingly ambitious publication, an essential literary bridge across the Americas distinguished by its fully bilingual issues featuring the greatest contemporary writing in Spanish, Portuguese, and Indigenous languages. LALT has built an impressive network of contributing editors, providing a first port of call for authors and translators seeking an English-language audience. Its website provides rich context, publishing individual dossiers that track a writer’s evolution, helping readers toward a deeper understanding. LALT already feels indispensable to American and international intellectual life.
2021 Digital Development Grantee Winner
Full Stop nurtures contemporary independent literary culture and the aesthetically, linguistically, and socially marginalized communities of writers and critics of which it is composed. Believing that a book’s significance can be elevated by high-energy interchange between writers and readers, Full Stop publishes online essays, interviews, and multi-genre critical inquiries that nourish the life of a work after publication. Founded in 2011, Full Stop has become an important resource for readers and writers, often providing the only in-depth critical engagement small-press publications receive. Full Stop also publishes innovative cultural criticism in a newsletter, monthly podcast, and quarterly magazine, and sponsors an Editorial Fellows program.
A dynamic and richly eclectic platform for criticism, Full Stop has the intellectual independence to remain untethered to the zeitgeist while striving to be fearlessly contemporary in its curiosity and range of topics. For the past ten years, this digital magazine has been devoted to fighting the decline of criticism, supporting small presses through its impressive reviews supplement that brings hundreds of books that might otherwise go unnoticed into larger literary conversations. Here are reviews of books that may not be brand new, but which Full Stop’s editors have recognized as neglected or underappreciated, or both. Here, too, are essays that are personal, political, literary, and always exhilaratingly askew. In an era of digital sameness, this approach has never seemed more vital.
2020 Print Prize Winner($150,000 to $500,000 budget)
One Story is built on a singular vision: to publish one short story at a time. Each month, subscribers receive a single work of carefully curated fiction, printed in a pocket-size chapbook designed to give readers a chance to slow down and think deeply. To spotlight new voices, One Story only publishes authors once. It extends its devotion to nurturing talent with One Teen Story, a magazine featuring teen writers. Since its founding in 2002, One Story has worked to increase and expand the readership, creation, impact, and value of short stories in the world.
Over the last two decades, One Story has become a standard-bearer for elegance in magazine publishing; each lithe issue, its design an homage to zine culture, contains a single riveting short story. This form is often likened to the sonnet, being short and perfectible, but the fictions in One Story create sumptuous, almost novelistic worlds. The magazine has assiduously built a warm and vital community of writers and mentors. Favoring new and untested writers and never publishing the same one twice, One Story is a critical port of arrival.
2020 Print Prize Winner(under $150,000 budget)
Conjunctions has propelled literature forward for four decades by publishing groundbreaking fiction, poetry, plays, and creative nonfiction that marry visionary imagination with formally innovative execution. Each issue illuminates a complex theme—such as exile, desire, the body, or climate change—in a book-length format that gives space to long-form work and a multitude of perspectives. From its home in Bard College, Conjunctions and its founding editor, Bradford Morrow, have earned recognition for uplifting both new writers and contemporary masters who challenge convention.
Every issue of Conjunctions is a feat of curatorial invention, continuing the Modernist project of dense, economical writing, formal innovation, and an openness to history and the world. Its longevity is a testament to its cultural staying power. Organized around a unifying idea, each issue stitches together work by storytellers and scholars to create a fluid and expansive survey of our most pressing human concerns.
2020 Print Development Grantee Winner
Rooted in the San Francisco Bay Area, Foglifter is a platform for LGBTQ+ writers that supports and uplifts powerful, intersectional, and transgressive queer and trans writing through publication and public readings to build and enrich our communities as well as the greater literary arts. Since 2016, this biannual journal has provided a path to representation for a broad selection of LGBTQ+ voices, centering queer and trans literary artists of color, youth, elders, and those beyond traditional LGBTQ+ cultural centers so that readers and audiences can see their own experiences authentically represented through queer and trans literary arts.
A passionate commitment to building community, a collaborative editorial project, and an unflagging sense of imagination are Foglifter’s abiding trademarks. A journal made by queer and trans writers imagining the journal their past selves would want to read, Foglifter is a bright spot on the literary map for thinkers, artists, and readers of many generations. The work it publishes is fresh, alive, and ripe with creative energy.
2020 Digital Prize Winner
Kweli’s mission is to nurture emerging writers of color and writers identifying as women by creating opportunities for their voices to be recognized and valued. Founding editor Laura Pegram has guided Kweli since 2009, publishing a triannual online journal and investing in writers’ growth through workshops, fellowships, readings, an annual conference, and an international festival. Kweli, which means “truth” in Swahili, celebrates cultural kinship and the role of the literary imagination to envision a world where the narratives we tell reflect the full truth of history and blaze a path of new possibilities for the future.
Reading this journal is a revelation. Here are stories of deep, lived-in materiality. The abundant respect animating its editorial process means its writers, many of them women of color, do not have to justify their concerns and can simply dive into the pleasures of form and narrative. With its vibrant internationalism and the career- and craft-building opportunities it offers its writers, Kweli strives to publish a more generous, humane world into existence.
2020 Digital Development Grantee Winner
Nat. Brut (pronounced “nat broot”) is an online journal of art and literature dedicated to advancing inclusivity in all creative fields. Since 2012, it has published two issues annually—as well as folios that collect work at specific intersections of marginalized experiences—bolstering voices that are buried, ignored, or absent from public consciousness. As a home for the playful, the unruly, the formal, and the experimental, by artists who are trained and untrained, Nat. Brut believes in the power of juxtaposing diverging voices to form surprising and unfamiliar connections.
Nat. Brut has carved out a corner of the internet and filled it with style and ingenuity. Its aesthetic is one of fascinating unorthodoxy, gracefully pairing each piece with a Creative Commons image sourced from the depths of cyberspace. This is a magazine that supports its writers and editors at all stages of their careers, providing opportunities for collaboration and creative exchange, and that shows us how to relish what mainstream culture has overlooked or forgotten.
2019 Print Prize Winner($150,000 to $500,000 budget)
The Common is a print and digital literary journal with a mission to deepen our individual and collective sense of place. Based at Amherst College and under the direction of founder and editor Jennifer Acker, it features literature and images suffused with the particularities of place, including portfolios and works in translation from vital literary communities around the world. Through its print issues, open access website, public programs, and mentorship of the next generation of writers, readers, and editors, The Common serves as a space for the global exchange of ideas and experiences.
In the pages of The Common, “location” is understood as a roving artistic and intellectual GPS point. Stunning portfolios, sophisticated design, and an intuitive sense of literary connectivity give readers access to a deep reservoir of global perspectives, and unite them as students of the human condition. The Common’s exemplary resources for teachers and its devotion to elevating new writers will help bring into being a new generation of readers and thinkers.
American Short Fiction
2019 Print Prize Winner(under $150,000 budget)
American Short Fiction publishes stories that dive into the wreck, that stretch the reader between recognition and surprise, that conjure the world with delicate expertise. Founded in 1991, ASF has earned a national reputation for first-rate fiction and a commitment to fostering the careers of a diverse range of writers. Each issue, assembled by coeditors Adeena Reitberger and Rebecca Markovits, publishes works by well-known authors alongside emerging voices that enrich our understanding of ourselves, our world, and the possibilities of the form.
Thirty years after its founding, American Short Fiction continues to build on its legacy of artful innovation. Budding talent appears in company with venerated masters, and the magazine’s deep investment in its Austin community gives it a strong foundation for creating national resonance. It remains urgent and fresh, its purpose clear: to shake us awake and bring the peculiarity of existence into full focus.
Black Warrior Review
2019 Print Development Grantee Winner
Named for the river that runs along The University of Alabama, Black Warrior Review is the oldest continuously-run literary journal produced by graduate students in the United States. Since its founding in 1974, it has become known for nurturing writing that moves outside boundaries of form and genre, and has a rich history of taking risks and championing the unexpected. BWR continues to create space for experimentation by showcasing uncommon literature by intergenerational and international writers that push against expectations and subvert structures of oppression.
Full of elegance and grit, fluidity and resolve, Black Warrior Review is a singular beacon for adventurous writing that shines forth from Alabama. This journal brings together what is gorgeous and necessary in literature today, treating each piece it publishes as an act of optimistic revolution. Black Warrior Review dissolves convention and leaves possibility in its place.
2019 Digital Prize Winner
The Margins is a literary, arts, and ideas magazine dedicated to inventing the Asian American creative culture of tomorrow. As the editorial arm of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, it draws upon a commitment to social justice to imagine a vibrant, nuanced, multiracial, and transnational Asian America. The digital magazine currently houses three special projects: Open City, A World Without Cages, and the Transpacific Literary Project, and works in tandem with AAWW’s fellowship programs to nurture emerging Asian American writers.
An indispensable incubator for audacious intellect and human complexity, The Margins reshapes literature even as it creates space for nuance, voice, imagination, and connection. As an institution, it has a profound impact on our cultural consciousness: the legion of writers The Margins has nurtured redefines our understanding of what it is to be Asian American in this country, and in the world.
2019 Digital Development Grantee Winner
The Offing is an online literary magazine publishing creative writing in all genres and art in all media. It champions writing that digs deep into the wonder and horrors of the world, examines everyday curiosities and cultural artifacts, and challenges aesthetics, politics, ideologies, literature, and the human experience. The Offing makes compensating writers a priority and actively amplifies voices marginalized in literary spaces. The Offing is a place for new writers to test their voices and for established writers to test their limits.
The Offing is a cross-genre concourse of art and ideas that engage the world and our present moment head-on. The magazine’s vibrancy is due in no small part to its unswerving commitment to amplifying marginalized voices, and its sharp but compassionate understanding of what writers need to thrive. The Offing sets the mark and pushes us past it.
A Public Space
2018 Print Prize Winner($150,000 to $500,000 budget)
A Public Space welcomes voices and conversation unheard elsewhere. In print, online, and in person, the singular literary, arts, and culture magazine nurtures writers and readers, too, expansively challenging them to move beyond borders. Under the direction of founding editor Brigid Hughes since 2006, A Public Space is committed to excavating archives of distinction, and devoted to nurturing new talent through its fellowship program as well as dynamic events for everyone.
Every issue of A Public Space juxtaposes finely wrought, carefully edited pieces, putting them in dynamic conversation with one another. An expertly assembled mix of contributors includes emerging talents as well as writers rediscovered through a kind of archival derring-do. Through its sought-after fellowships, meanwhile, APS extends to out-of-the-mainstream writers an admirable level of editorial support. It stands as a paradigm of what literary magazines can be: a gorgeously curated collection we experience as a cabinet of wonders.
2018 Print Prize Winner(under $150,000 budget)
Fence is a biannual print journal of poetry, fiction, art, and criticism. Founded by Rebecca Wolff and in continuous publication since 1998, their mission is to maintain a dedicated venue for writing that speaks across genre, socio-cultural niches, and ideological boundaries. Fence publishes largely from unsolicited submissions, and is committed to the literature and art of queer writers and writers of color. Fence encourages collective appreciation of variousness by showcasing writing that inheres outside of the constraints of opinion, trend, and market.
If American contemporary literature can be described as a site for novel language experiments, we owe a great deal of that to Fence and the writers it’s championed. Fence burst on the scene twenty years ago, changing the landscape of work published by literary journals. The magazine remains as vital now, and its campaign against literary homogeneity as urgent. Open an issue at random and you’ll find something vivid, strange, and beautiful, something joyfully pushing at the limit of poetic form and trusting its readers to keep up. This pioneer remains central to the canon.
Words Without Borders
2018 Digital Prize Winner
Words Without Borders is the premier destination for global literary conversation. Founded in 2003, WWB seeks to expand cultural understanding by giving readers unparalleled access to contemporary world literature in English translation while providing a vital platform for today’s international writers. To date, its free digital magazine has published work by more than 2,200 writers from 134 countries, translated from 114 languages. WWB’s online education program, WWB Campus, brings this eye-opening international literature into the classroom.
Working tirelessly to bring a robust, insightful array of otherwise unavailable international literature to grateful readers—and publishers—Words Without Borders has singlehandedly expanded the breadth of the contemporary literary conversation. This is writing that places you inside a culture. In focusing on translators as artists, it plays an essential role in the publishing ecosystem. With translations from more than a hundred languages now available in its archives, and through its organizational partnerships and other readership-building endeavors, the project stands as a monument to international collaboration and a shared belief in artistic possibility.