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A few recent Write Here visitors have asked us about our favorite literary magazines. For those who haven’t yet been to WBN HQ, we have various mags scattered about the premises, and a couple dozen more crammed into our bookcase. But which ones do we subscribe to and read faithfully? Which ones do we recommend? Why are we doing that thing where we ask questions and then answer them ourselves, instead of simply phrasing them as statements?

In alphabetical order, here are some of the mags that we have on our shelves.

American Short Fiction: High-quality quarterly publishing nothing but short fiction. The current issue contains work from folks like Josh Weil and Michael Martone. A past issue contains work from Dick, but I’m okay with that. ASF does not publish any of its content online, but makes up for it by being based here in Austin and supporting literary events all over town.

Bat City Review: An annual journal published by a students-only staff at the U of Texas. Lots of good fiction, poetry and artwork, the occasional interview, and other good stuff. The new issue has just come out, so check them out.

Granta: The Brits’ most prominent litmag, Granta is a quarterly that usually boasts some of the bigger names in literary fiction and nonfiction, as well as photography and occasionally (if I’m not mistaken) some other visual artwork. They make much of their content available online–including some online-only content–and a subscription now gives you access to all of their archives. And that’s tough to beat.

Gulf Coast: This is one of the best around. The current issue features short fiction from Sarah Bynum and Benjamin Percy, nonfiction from the likes of Kyle Minor, a shitload of poetry from what I imagine are quality poets, interviews, artwork, and book reviews. Much of their content is available online, the print version is always of the highest quality, and they’re part of the English Dept at U of Houston, which contains one of the best MFA programs around. And that’s the second time this paragraph I’ve used “best around.”

Iowa Review: All good, all day. Some content online, and book reviews are now exclusively online. (How do I know this? If I told you I’d have to kill you. Or at least tickle you until you pee.)

n + 1: I gotta tell you, I don’t often know what the hell these guys are writing about, I don’t understand their publication schedule … I don’t even understand what their name signifies. What I do know is that they publish good short fiction, interesting in-depth reviews, and occasionally insightful, occasionally crazy-face essays. And there is a lot going on at their website, so check it out.

One Story: This mag comes to your house every three weeks with one piece of short fiction. And I can’t remember the last time I didn’t like an issue. It’s inexpensive and is published as a cute little stapled pamphlet. They only publish excerpts online, of course, but there’s lots of stuff going on at their site and blog.

Paris Review: You know who they are and what they do.

Pleiades: I am heavily biased, but even if I weren’t I would still subscribe. Lots of good fiction, nonfic and poetry, and always a massive amount of book reviews.

Ploughshares: One of the oldest and the best. Pubbed at Emerson College, Justine’s and my old MFA haunt. Each issue is guest edited by a different writer, recently Jim Shepard and Terrance Hayes. You also might want to check out Redivider, Emerson’s undergrad journal.

Tin House: This is an excellent quarterly out of Oregon. They’re also a small press, and run a very popular writer’s workshop. Some of their content is published online. For instance, you can read an entire Dan Chaon story at their website. And you should jump at every chance you get to read an entire Dan Chaon story.

There are just a ton of others out there, (almost) all of them worth supporting. But looking into a few of these would be a great start. As aspiring writers, you should be doing as much as you can to keep up with what your contemporaries are writing.

Of course, there is also an immense amount of online journals (Fringe, for example). And about a million literary blogs. But you’re on your own there. For now.

And we’d be remiss not to mention again the first issue of the C4 magazine, which we wrote about last week and received in the mail yesterday. It’s a wonderful little journal, and the price is just right.

 

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5 Comments

  1. Awesome article. I just discovered Mome which is produced by Fantagraphics Books, and is a lit mag devoted to really great graphic fiction. Beautiful stuff. Definitely one of my favorites now.

    -Becky

    • That looks good, Becky. Let us know if you ever come across a spare copy.

      Good StoryQuarterly piece, by the way. It’s always aggravating to see sloppy work in any mag, much less a well-respected one like SQ. DD

  2. Oh ha. I forgot this was your site, David! I didn’t see your name here, just posted anyway.

    Cool! I’ll come back often. Keep up the great lit mag roll call…

    B

    • So in other words you Googled “awesome blog posts about litmags” and ours was the #1 result? That’s good to know.

      Anything new and exciting on the RevRev shelves?

  3. That’s right! Actually, it was “Awesome and AMAZING Lit Mag Blogs.”


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