Welcome to our list of the top 50 literary magazines. Our criteria for this list have changed. We considered a wide range of standards for this list. We looked at close to 20 data points. The most important criteria we used this time were:
- The date of founding.
- The number of national anthologies publications (and we looked at many of them).
- The quality of work and names of past authors published in the magazine.
We have a database listing 1000s of magazines: Find a complete list of literary magazines here.
We were the first site on the web to develop a list of the top 50 literary magazines. Many news outlets and websites have copied this list. Our methods are systematic in compiling numbers for placement on the list. This list aims to help writers find a place to publish their writing that will get them recognition. When a magazine is published over a long period and is recognized nationally, it gives authors more opportunities for exposure. Also, these magazines have a very good name in literary circles. Many will not agree and feel we’ve left a good or great publication off the list. That’s okay. The best thing to do is leave a comment below.
This list of top 50 literary magazines culminates in 20 years of hard work. I first thought about this list when I got my BFA in Creative Writing. In the early days of the internet, people in the BFA and MFA programs would talk about good and bad literary magazines. It took a lot of work to find online publications. Only some reputable magazines took online submissions. At that time, I started collecting a list of magazines. It was the Big List, and it started this site. Then I put this list together. I started looking for the best literary magazines, and then later, I realized I could turn different indicators into a point system, and so on. Later as EWR grew, others helped to compile this list. These magazines are very special to us; we purposefully constructed this list. It’s one of the reasons it takes so long to update.
We have also included interviews with some of the editors of these magazines. It was an honor to interview them, and we recommend you read those interviews. The editors tell you what they are looking to publish in their magazines. The best practice and best way to get your work published in these Top 50 literary magazines are by reading them. Understand what they want before you submit your manuscript. Having a thriving scholarly community is about supporting each other, not just supporting your work by publishing with them. Now here is our list of the top 50 literary magazines.
Top 50 Literary Magazines – Every Writer
Since 1925 this magazine has published some of the best writers in the country. They consistently publish outstanding work. Please support them. They have over a million readers.
Founded in 1971, Ploughshares is our best and highest-ranked university non-commercial literary magazine. It is more honored by national anthologies than any other magazine except the New Yorker. It is an outstanding publication. We had the honor a little while back of interviewing Editor Ladette Randolph. Ploughshares is excellent and exceptional. Please support them.
The Paris Review started in 1953 and is one of the best-known literary magazines in the world. It is constantly publishing great authors and great works.
It started in 1978 and is one of the country’s best-known and best-loved literary magazines. It is outstanding.
An outstanding literary magazine that has been publishing since 1889. They are honored with awards often.
Founded in 1850 and has always been honored. It is an outstanding commercial literary magazine with a circulation of 220,000 readers.
Since 1939 the Kenyon Review has been one of the best literary magazines in the country. You can always find great writers on its pages. It started in 1939. We recently interviewed the great Poet David Baker, one of the editors of the Kenyon Review. The magazine is one of the best out there, always.
It started in 1947 and has won many awards. It is a significant literary magazine that publishes great authors and great works.
Originally started in 1935, Southern Review has contributed to great literature for over 50 years. A publication of the Louisiana State University and a great literary magazine.
One of the very best journals out there. This journal is often honored and published by The University of Virginia since 1925.
Founded in 1980 and is one of the best literary magazines out there. It’s always in national anthologies and winning awards. We had the honor of interviewing the Threepenny Review editor Wendy Lesser a little while ago; please check out the interview.
Founded in 1991, the magazine is always a leading source of well-honored fiction. The magazine takes online submissions. Buy the magazine, read the magazine, and support it.
13 Yale Review
For 100 years, this literary magazine has published great works by great authors. It’s always worth a read and a submission.
This literary magazine can trace its roots back to 1915. Published by Southern Methodist University, the magazine is consistently publishing great work.
Green Mountain Review, or GMR, was founded in 1987; they consistently win awards and publish famous names in the literary world. Northern Vermont University publishes them.
16 Iowa Review
Founded in 1970, this literary magazine publishes excellent work again and again.
Published in 1973 in Philadelphia, PBQ puts forth amazing authors in poetry and fiction.
This literary magazine only published poetry and was founded in 1976. It is one of the top 2 poetry magazines in the country.
Poetry is the best poetry magazine in the country, hands down. They were founded in 1912 and consistently published great poets.
Founded by Francis Ford Coppola in 1997, the literary magazine consistently publishes outstanding works of fiction.
21 One Story
Launched in 2002 and immediately began getting recognition for its high-quality stories. They publish fiction only.
First published in 1985 and has published wonderful stories every year it has been in circulation. They are consistently honored.
Boston University has published them since 1972. This literary journal is continuously publishing great work.
Since 1941, The Antioch Review has published great authors and excellent writing. We love the Antioch review.
MQR began publishing in 1962; they are continuously publishing outstanding work. The University of Michigan publishes them.
The Gettysburg Review, founded in 1988, publishes fiction, essays, and poetry. They publish quarterly and have won numerous awards and honors.
This literary magazine has been published since 1927 and is among the best.
Starting in 2003, this literary magazine has published many outstanding authors and outstanding works.
In 1956 Colorado State University established the Colorado Review. They consistently publish good work from authors.
The literary magazine has been publishing great work since 1985. It’s one of the best.
The Harvard Review started in 1986, publishes top writers in the country, and has won many awards and honors.
This literary magazine has only been published for six years but has been honored so many times it made our list.
This literary magazine began publishing in 1949 and is one of the best.
34 Five Points
Five Points is published by Georgia State University and is in our top 10 of these 50 for always being in national anthologies and winning awards. Founded in 1996 still less than 20 years old, but a great literary magazine.
An outstanding literary magazine from Bard College, they do have online content.
Published by Cornell University since 1947 and always publishes great authors and excellent writing.
Founded in 1947, this literary magazine publishes outstanding work and authors.
Founded in 1958, Triquarterly has continuously published great work. The magazine is honored often by national anthologies.
Founded in 1980 and published at the University of Alaska of Anchorage. The magazine publishes excellent work.
Since 1978 this magazine has won many honors and has published great works by great authors. The Missouri Review is one of those old.
The site was founded in 2006 but has won many honors in the short time it has been published.
Founded in 1946 this literary magazine is consistently publishing great works.
This literary magazine was founded in 1947 and has continuously published great authors. The Black Warrior Review is consistently publishing outstanding works by notable authors. We are big fans of this unique and long-standing magazine.
First published in 1987 the literary magazine has come on strong lately with many honors.
The literary magazine only accepts poetry and was founded in 1998—one of the best.
Starting in 2006, this Ohio University Magazine has consistently published outstanding work from the day it opened. They have an excellent site on the web and online submissions.
47 Crazy Horse
Crazy Horse was established in 1960. The magazine is consistently publishing excellent writing by fantastic authors. We highly recommend you pick up a copy.
Hanging Loose first appeared in 1966. They have won many awards, and their authors appear regularly in national anthologies.
Since 2003 they have published fiction and poetry by great authors. We had them listed as the best online literary magazine, and they do have an excellent website, but they now publish in the real world, so we’ve moved them. This magazine is certainly worth reading and paying attention to.
The University of North Carolina-Wilmington established Ecotone in 2005. They consistently publish good work.
How did we come up with this top 50 literary magazines list? It’s challenging! Some other lists on the web tally the most appearance in Best American Short Stories or other anthologies. The literary magazine gets points for the years it has been publishing. Then we tally the appearances of these literary magazines in several national anthologies. We then give points for specific awards like Pushcart. We turn all these into a point system and then rank the magazines. So it would be like this, the top 50 magazines in order are based on age + awards + anthology appearances =best. This list was number one for literary magazines for the last ten years. It’s a detailed process. We hope this list of Top 50 literary magazines is helpful.