In some ways it’s ridiculous to rank literary magazines by the number of awards they’ve received, but it still can be useful for writers to figure out where to submit. I hope the list below helps all the writers who come here daily to find new literary journals to read and submit to.

The list below arranges literary journals in order of how many times they’ve had a story or special mention in the last eight years (2007 – 2014) in the Best American Short Stories (BASS). I award a certain number of points for the winners and a lesser number of points for every special mention. Every October I’ll update the page to reflect the new year.

Some notable literary journals shifting this year: Daily Lit made a huge splash onto the scene, garnering a number of special mentions. Michigan Quarterly Review also got a lot of love this year. Fifth Wednesday Journal continues to move up the ranks. Subtropics nearly doubled its total, earning both a winner and a good number of special mentions.

As far as the heavyweights, Granta received more points than any publication other than The New Yorker.

One Story, Narrative, and American Short Fiction were all shut out. 

There’s also a good handful of new literary journals added to the list this year, including the up-and-coming Little Star, old-timers like Denver Quarterly and new-comers like Red Rock Review and Alligator Juniper. If you notice a few literary magazines who received a special mention a few years back and aren’t on the list, that’s because I’ve only recently started adding literary magazines with only a single point.

On statistics: statistics is a epistemic methodology prized by our modernistic, science-obsessed world as the primary way to Know Things. The cold hard facts trumps subjective knowledge, right? But I would argue that statistics gives us only a very limited view of the world, and one which necessarily skews “proper” knowledge.

Let me be less philosophical and more practical: Please don’t overestimate the important of the list below. The list below does not tell you whether a literary journal is good or not, it only tells you whether the BASS editors happened to like the flavor of stories in a literary journal. That, necessarily, is entirely subjective, and I encourage you to discover for yourself the type of fiction each literary magazine publishes, as well as explore the many excellent literary journals that don’t appear on this list.

I dislike some “high” level literary journals and really love “low” level literary journals. So while my tastes are not necessarily reflected by the list below, that’s good, because it will force you all, my lovely, devoted readers, to form your own judgments. For those of you already deep in the literary magazine world, I hope that this list is one aid among many to help you figure out where to submit and subscribe.

I have a few other lists that might also be helpful to people submitting to literary journals:

Lastly, if you’d like to get some inspiration for writing, check out my Musical Creative Writing Prompts.

Best American Short Story Rankings:

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  • elizabeth winder noyes / January 22, 2013 at 6:07 am Reply

    Diving into the deep end of the pool after making handmade books for my own poems and artwork for years.

    Thanks for your work on this.

  • / January 23, 2013 at 6:23 am Reply

    How did you end up getting the points to compose ““Ranking of Literary Journals | BookFox”?
    Thanks a lot ,Federico

  • Astounded / August 29, 2013 at 12:43 pm Reply
  • Jeff Limely / November 18, 2013 at 7:52 am Reply

    I like the Critical Pass Review poetry and fiction content at

  • Ben / January 26, 2014 at 11:29 pm Reply

    Great list. Downside? Always hard for new journals, like, or budding guppies, like, to be listed. A great list of the big-boys, however. Thanks

  • Leopold McGinnis / July 2, 2015 at 4:38 pm Reply

    This is an interesting list – must have taken some time to put together! The challenge is, I bet most of these journals get so many submissions the chances of submittors even getting a fair read could be daunting. In my mind I see the need for a few different lists (almost like spa packages, haha!): best places to submit if you want to be read (eg, ranked by readership, rather than awards), best places if you’re new to the game (highest ranked + highest publication ratio), etc. I could see that being very valuable to writers.

  • Kim Farleigh / September 22, 2015 at 6:06 pm Reply

    Be careful: Southwest Review takes your money but doesn’t let you submit.

  • Steven / October 29, 2015 at 10:39 pm Reply

    Thanks so much for compiling this list. What do you mean when you say, “One Story, Narrative, and American Short Fiction were all shut out.” ?

    • Bookfox / November 17, 2015 at 3:57 am Reply

      It means one of their stories did not receive a special mention or appear in the BASS collection.

  • Marion de Booy Wentzien / November 3, 2015 at 6:04 am Reply

    This is just great. Thanks for putting it together.

  • Lisa D. Stewart / November 4, 2015 at 8:02 pm Reply

    I cannot tell what date the article above was posted. Please advise.

    • Bookfox / November 17, 2015 at 3:55 am Reply

      It is updated every year to reflect the newest edition of Best American Short Stories.

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