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.
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Fiction Rankings for 2013: