2013 Pushcart Prize Ranking of Literary Magazines — Fiction

Pushcart 2013

UPDATE: See the 2014 Rankings here.

It is time once again to present the annual Perpetual Folly Pushcart Prize Rankings for Literary Magazines. I’ll be rolling these out over the next three days, beginning with the Fiction ranking, which is below. (Nonfiction Rankings are here and Poetry rankings are here.).

For comparison purposes, see the 2012 Fiction ranking here.

I feel compelled every year to offer a disclaimer for the list. I originally created it in order to aid my own efforts at targeting my submissions of short stories to literary magazines. I used the Pushcart Prize because I felt that it represented the broadest range of magazines among the annual prizes (including Best American Short Stories and the O. Henry Awards).

My method is straightforward. I use a ten-year rolling database and award points to magazines for the prizes awarded and fewer points for each special mention. I don’t go further back than ten years because it seems to me that what is relevant is the current success of the magazines, not their storied past. Also, the further back we go, the more defunct magazines we find, and that’s not terribly helpful. Some have argued that a five-year period should be chosen instead. That seems too small a sample. When only 19 or 20 prizes are awarded in fiction each year, I think ten years provides a clearer picture of a magazine’s success.

Some people don’t like rankings at all, and I understand that. This ranking, however, is as objective as I can make it. The Pushcart Prize itself is subjective, of course, but that’s an entirely different question.

A note on symbols. I have marked magazines that I believe to have ceased publication with ©. Several magazines have a (?) by their name which means I can’t find a website for them. Please leave any corrections or updates in the comments.

What is notable about this year’s list? Here are some observations:

  • The gap between Ploughshares and the rest of the pack has closed a bit, with Conjunctions and Tin House tied for second, just 20 points back.
  • One Story continues to climb the charts. It’s up to #6 this year.
  • Triquarterly and Shenandoah both were shut out of Prizes and Special Mentions this year and drop down a few spots on the list. Is this punishment for their move online?
  • Wigleaf, a wonderful online journal of flash fictions, debuts on the list at #68, winning its first-ever Pushcart Prize.

If you find this list useful, consider making a donation to help support this website. Thank you.

Fiction Rankings for 2013:

2013

Magazine

2013 Score

1

Ploughshares

93

2

Conjunctions

73

2

Tin House

73

4

Zoetrope: All Story

71

5

Southern Review

66

6

One Story

56

7

Georgia Review

54

8

Threepenny Review

53

9

Kenyon Review

50

10

Paris Review

48

11

A Public Space

44

12

McSweeney’s

42

13

Missouri Review

40

14

Epoch

39

15

New England Review

36

16

Ontario Review ©

35

17

Boulevard

33

18

New Letters

31

18

Noon

31

18

Virginia Quarterly Review

31

21

Gettysburg Review

30

21

Shenandoah

30

23

TriQuarterly

27

23

Witness

27

25

Antioch Review

24

25

Five Points

24

27

Agni

23

27

Mississippi Review

23

27

StoryQuarterly

23

30

Sun

22

31

Ecotone

21

31

Iowa Review

21

33

Bellevue Literary Review

19

33

Glimmer Train

19

33

Prairie Schooner

19

36

Colorado Review

18

37

American Short Fiction

16

37

Michigan Quarterly Review

16

39

Hudson Review

15

40

Crazyhorse

14

40

ZYZZYVA

14

42

Willow Springs

13

42

Yale Review

13

44

Alaska Quarterly Review

12

44

Idaho Review

12

46

American Scholar

11

46

Harvard Review

11

46

Narrative

11

49

Image

10

50

Cincinnati Review

9

50

Oxford American

9

52

Chelsea ©

8

52

Post Road

8

52

Third Coast

8

55

J Journal

7

55

Little Star

7

55

Manoa

7

55

Massachusetts Review

7

55

Pen America

7

55

Speakeasy ©

7

61

Caribbean Writer

6

61

Florida Review

6

61

Indiana Review

6

61

New Orleans Review

6

61

News from the Republic of Letters

6

61

Sonora Review

6

61

Water-Stone Review

6

68

Black Renaissance Noire

5

68

Fiction International

5

68

Grand Street ©

5

68

Mid American Review

5

68

North American Review

5

68

Pleiades

5

68

Raritan

5

68

Salmagundi

5

68

Univ. of Georgia Press

5

68

Wigleaf

5

78

Beloit Fiction

4

78

Black Warrior Review

4

78

Daedalus

4

78

Hopkins Review

4

78

New York Tyrant

4

78

Ninth Letter

4

78

Northwest Review

4

78

Other Voices ©

4

78

Pinch

4

78

Sewanee Review

4

78

Southwest Review

4

89

Another Chicago Magazine

3

89

Appalachian Heritage

3

89

Event

3

89

Fiction

3

89

Gulf Coast

3

89

Notre Dame Review

3

89

River Styx

3

89

West Branch

3

89

Western Humanities Review

3

98

[sic]

2

98

Akashic Books

2

98

American Letters & Commentary

2

98

At Length

2

98

BkMk Press

2

98

Blackbird

2

98

Boston Review

2

98

Briar Cliff Review

2

98

Brooklyn Rail

2

98

Brooklyn Review

2

98

Calyx

2

98

Carve

2

98

Chautauqua

2

98

Cimarron Review

2

98

Columbia Review

2

98

Confrontation

2

98

Crab Orchard Review

2

98

Doubletake ©

2

98

Electric Literature

2

98

failbetter.com

2

98

Faultline

2

98

Fifth Wednesday

2

98

Fourteen Hills

2

98

Graywolf Press

2

98

Hotel Amerika

2

98

Inkwell

2

98

Paper Street © (?)

2

98

Passages North

2

98

Redivider

2

98

Sarabande Books

2

98

Southampton Review

2

98

Sou’wester

2

98

The Journal

2

98

Timber Creek Review (?)

2

98

Turnrow

2

133

Amazon Shorts ©

1

133

American Literary Review

1

133

Antietam Review ©

1

133

Artful Dodge

1

133

Arts & Letters

1

133

Ballyhoo Stories

1

133

Baltimore Review

1

133

Bamboo Ridge

1

133

Bellingham Review

1

133

Blue Earth Review

1

133

Blue Mesa Review

1

133

Bomb

1

133

Brain, Child

1

133

Callaloo

1

133

Canio’s Editions (?)

1

133

Carpe Articulum

1

133

Chariton Review

1

133

Chattahoochee Review

1

133

Contemporary West

1

133

Copper Nickel

1

133

Cutbank

1

133

Denver Quarterly

1

133

Descant

1

133

Dogwood

1

133

Dos Passos Review

1

133

Dossier Journal

1

133

Eggemoggin Reach Review (?)

1

133

Epiphany

1

133

EWU Press ©

1

133

Exile

1

133

Five Chapters

1

133

Folio

1

133

Freight Stories

1

133

Fugue

1

133

Gray’s Sporting Journal

1

133

Green Mountains Review

1

133

Grist

1

133

Hampton Shorts (?)

1

133

Healing Muse

1

133

Hunger Mountain

1

133

Isotope ©

1

133

Jabberwock Review

1

133

Kelsey Review

1

133

King’s English ©

1

133

Kyoto Journal

1

133

Lake Effect

1

133

Laughing Fire Press

1

133

Laurel Review

1

133

Lit

1

133

Literal Latte

1

133

Lynx Eye ©

1

133

Maggid

1

133

Margin (?)

1

133

McSweeney’s Books

1

133

Mid-List Press

1

133

Momotombo Press

1

133

Mythium

1

133

Nebraska Review ©

1

133

Nerve.com

1

133

New Ohio Review

1

133

New Renaissance

1

133

Night Train

1

133

Nimrod

1

133

Northern Lights (?)

1

133

Open City

1

133

Orion

1

133

Partisan Review ©

1

133

Pearl

1

133

Pegasus Books

1

133

Per Contra

1

133

Phoebe

1

133

Pindeldyboz ©

1

133

Press 53

1

133

Prism

1

133

Puckerbush Press

1

133

Puerto del Sol

1

133

Quarter After Eight

1

133

Quarterly West

1

133

Quick Fiction

1

133

RBS Gazette (?)

1

133

Relief

1

133

Rivendell ©

1

133

Rosebud

1

133

Salamander

1

133

Seems

1

133

Slice

1

133

Small Town (?)

1

133

Smoke Long Quarterly

1

133

Soft Skull Press

1

133

South Carolina Review

1

133

Southern California Review

1

133

Spork

1

133

Stolen Time Press (?)

1

133

Stone Canoe

1

133

Subtropics

1

133

Sycamore Review

1

133

Tampa Review

1

133

Tiferet

1

133

Transformation (?)

1

133

Underground Voices

1

133

Upstreet

1

133

War, Literature and The Arts

1

133

Words of Wisdom (?)

1

133

World Literature Today

1

133

Xconnect (?)

1

133

Texas Review

1

133

Common, The

1

133

Anomalous

1

 

26 thoughts on “2013 Pushcart Prize Ranking of Literary Magazines — Fiction

  1. Pingback: 2013 Pushcart Prize Ranking — Nonfiction | Clifford Garstang

      • Cliff:

        Once again, you’ve out done yourself and compiled a wonderful list.

        I’ve taken a step back from doing similar lists for BASS because the Best American series has made the contributor info available online. Hopefully the Pushcart will one day follow.

        Best,
        Marc

  2. Pingback: 2013 Pushcart Prize Literary Magazine Rankings: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry | Clifford Garstang

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  5. I appreciate your effort with these lists, Cliff, but Pushcart is becoming a laughing stock. Most literary magazines are now online, and a great deal of the best contemporary writing appears in these online magazines. Bill Henderson’s anti-Internet jihad is ridiculous, and his refusal to allow online material into Pushcart is making it less relevant with each succeeding issue.

    • Robert, I disagree with your premise, and also with your conclusion. While “most literary magazines are now online,” may be a true statement, it says nothing about quality. I would argue that most good literary magazines are still in print form. Certainly, there are online magazines that are quite good, and the number is growing. And I agree that Pushcart is slow to recognize this. But there are more online magazines represented in the Pushcart Prize volume each year, so it seems silly to call Henderson’s bias a jihad. At any rate, his bias seems to be slipping. Furthermore, there are no viable alternatives that recognize online magazines. Dzanc’s Best of the Web appears to be dead. storySouth’s Million Writers Award is kind of a joke/popularity contest. There’s something called Best of the Net, but it’s limited and languishes in obscurity.

      If Pushcart is a laughing stock, is BASS? Is O.Henry? For my money, the best magazines, including online magazines, are still the ones that are recognized by these annual prizes.

      • First, Cliff, thanks for the hard work. It’s very helpful.
        Second, your post got me scouring the net for online journal awards. I found Wigleaf’s list of the top 50 flash fiction stories published online in 2011: http://wigleaf.com/12top50main.htm
        Their list was updated in May 2012, so hopefully we’ll get a 2012 edition soon.

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  8. Cliff,

    Just a short note to notify you that publication of Northwest Review has been suspended. Thanks for the great work on this page.

  9. Thanks for the list Cliff. This is something every beginning writer needs. I’ll be sharing this link with my writer group.

  10. Congratulations on making the MWA 2013 longlist! Not your first literary honor, by any means, but one’s cap can never have too many feathers.

  11. Pingback: 2014 Pushcart Prize Ranking of Literary Magazines — Fiction | Clifford Garstang

  12. These are interesting lists, but may I point out a small flaw in your methodology? You write, “This ranking, however, is as objective as I can make it.” I disagree. You still need to normalize the number of prizes won by the number of total stories, essays, or poems printed by each journal. If, say, a journal is very selective with the non-fiction they publish, then they may publish only one essay per issue, limiting their prize potential. But that one essay may be fantastic. In other words, a journal may publish ten essays per issue but all but nine may be crap. Yet this particular journal will tie with the journal that publishes only one great essay per issue. Normalization is a tedious data-driven process, but it would make your results much more reliable. At least it would put your results into context. To add a concrete example to my complaint, take the Georgia Review. A quick click to its Web site shows that it published five or six non-fiction essays in its latest issue. That’s more than double most journals. The American Scholar publishes a quantity of essays well into the double digits each year. Surely some of these will win awards. But divide by the number of total essays they publish a year, and these journals probably fall back into the pack. The rankings you provide, taken out of their normalized context, can be misleading.

    • Thanks for your suggestion. Note, though, that each journal can nominate only a total of 6 pieces each year. For most journals that publish in all three genres, that means they can nominate 2 stories, 2 essays, and 2 poems. (There are also contributing editors that nominate as well.) So even though some journals publish a lot of essays, they can only nominate so many.

      Beyond that, what you’re suggesting is a monumental task. Be my guest!

      • Fair enough. But many journals publish only two non-fiction pieces per issue, and for bi-annual publications that amounts to a total of four pieces from which to choose. OTOH, journals like this clearly don’t focus on non-fiction and probably shouldn’t be ranked high on this fact, alone.

        Yes, a monumental task to get into this in more depth. Thanks for your current efforts!
        -Howard

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