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. (2014 Nonfiction Rankings appear here. Poetry rankings are here.)
If you find these lists useful, please make a donation by clicking on the link below. Or—even better—buy one of my books (from any source you like, including Amazon.com: In an Uncharted Country and What the Zhang Boys Know).
For comparison purposes, see the 2013 Fiction rankings 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 give 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 (even fewer this 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 and I’ll make changes as soon as I can.
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.
- Gettysburg Review, Narrative, Iowa Review, Paris Review and Noon all made big jumps this year, winning 2 Prizes each.
- Triquarterly and Shenandoah both continue to drop. Is this more punishment for their move online?
- Granta debuts on the list, winning its first Pushcart Prize. How is that possible?
If you find this list useful, consider making a donation to help support this website. Thank you.