This list ranks literary magazines by how often their short stories have appeared in the Best American Short Stories. 

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.

(If you’re looking for nonfiction or essay rankings, go to my Ranking of Literary Nonfiction Markets). 

The list below arranges literary journals in order of how many times they’ve had a short story or special mention in the last eleven years (2007 – 2018) 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.

There were seventeen newcomers added to this year’s list, up from twelve newcomers last year. Some of the journals were new, and some have been around quite a well and only now are being recognized by BASS.



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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 Best American Short Story 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 Best American Short Story list is one aid among many to help you figure out where to submit and subscribe.

Southern Review and Zyzzyva had great showings this year. Zyzzyva moved from 15 to 11, continuing their upward momentum, and Southern Review moved from 12 to 7.

On the other hand, we had an enormous amount of shut-outs this year. One Story, American Short Fiction, Atlantic Monthly, AGNIVirginia Quarterly Review and Glimmer Train got completely shut out — not a single point for any of them. Which basically means their fiction didn’t resonate with this year’s editor, Roxane Gay. 

Gulf Coast has moved up a great deal over the past few years, up to a respectable spot more commensurate with their reputation, and Passages North got on the map in a big way, going from zero points to 5 points this year.

Another lit mag that’s worth noting is Fifth Wednesday Journal. They’ve been consistently amassing nods from the BASS editors, and they should be on your radar to submit to.

*If there is an asterisk next to the name, it means that journal is no longer publishing new material.*

Best Literary Magazines Rankings:

1.  The New Yorker 283
2.  Tin House* 129
3.  Ploughshares 90
4.  Granta 69
5.  Glimmer Train* 52
6.  Harper’s Magazine   50
New England Review 50
7. The Southern Review  45
8. Zoetrope All-Story  44
9.  Atlantic Monthly 43
American Short Fiction  43
Paris Review
43
10. McSweeney’s Quarterly 42
11. ZYZZYVA
34
12.  One Story   32
13.  The Kenyon Review   31
14. Virginia Quarterly Review   28
The Iowa Review   28
15. Narrative Magazine
24
16.  AGNI   22
17.   Conjunctions   21
18.  Antioch Review  20
Yale Review   20
Alaska Quarterly Review 
20
The Missouri Review   20
19. Ecotone 
19
20.   Subtropics  18
21. Prairie Schooner  17
A Public Space   17
22. Five Points   16
  Epoch  16
23.  Georgia Review   15
24. The Sewanee Review  
13
25.  Michigan Quarterly Review  12
  The Cincinnati Review  
12
  StoryQuarterly 
12
26. Santa Monica Review   11
  Harvard Review  11
  Colorado Review  11
 27.   Witness  10
   West Branch 10
Idaho Review   10
  Gulf Coast
10
28. Boulevard   9
  The Gettysburg Review   9
  The Normal School 9
Fifth Wednesday Journal  9
29. Oxford American  8
  Crazyhorse   8
  Threepenny Review  
8
  Mississippi Review  
8
30.  Image  7
Black Warrior Review   7
31. BOMB 6
  Nimrod 6
  Shenandoah   6
  The Sun  6
  Hobart  6
  Washington Square Review 6
  Esquire  6
  New Ohio Review 6
32. Fiction 5
  TriQuarterly  5
  Chicago Quarterly Review 5
  Passages North 5
  Bellevue Literary Review  5
  Southwest Review 5
  Byliner  5
33.  Commentary  4
  Joyland Magazine 4
  Orion 4
  Daily Lit 4
  Callaloo  4
  Salamander  4
  Massachusetts Review  4
American Scholar 4
  Meridian 4
  Freeman’s
4
 34. Copper Nickel 3
  Cimarron Review  3
  Guernica 3
  Commonweal  3
  The Common 3
  E-Flux Journal 3
  N+1 3
  Grain 3
  Emry’s Journal
3
35. Ninth Letter 2
  Crab Orchard Review  2
  New Letters  2
  Confrontation  2
  Tampa Review   2
  The Pinch 2
  Pembroke Magazine 2
  Hudson Review  2
  Los Angeles Review of Books 2
  Greensboro Review
2
  Event
2
  Isthmus
2
  Electric Literature
2
  Hopkins Review
2
36. Hayden’s Ferry Review  1
  The Literarian  1
  Carolina Quarterly  1
  Coffin Factory  1
  Little Star  1
  Red Rock Review  1
  Cutbank  1
  Denver Quarterly  1
  Alligator Juniper  1
  Unstuck  1
  Able Muse  1
  Southampton Review  1
  Sou’wester  1
  Consequence  1
  December  1
  Blackbird  1
  New South  1
  Sonora Review  1
  Epiphany 1
  New Madrid 1
  Pleiades 1
  Redivider 1
  Apple Valley Review 1
  Literary Review 1
  Southern Humanities Review 1
  Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet  1
  Western Humanities Review  1
  Prairie Fire 1
  Chicago Tribune (Printer’s Row) 1
  Slice 1
  Indiana Review 1
  Bennington Review 1
  Territory 1
  Wired 1
  Sycamore Review 1
  Fiction International 1
  Transition 1
  Arts and Letters 1
  Ruminate 1
  Ascent 1
  LitMag 1
  Hunger Mountain 1
  Southern Indiana Review 1
  Water-Stone Review 1
  Lunch Ticket 1
  Master’s Review 1
  Oyster River Pages 1
  New York Tyrant 1

 

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