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 ten years (2007 – 2017) 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 twelve newcomers added to this year’s list, all of them at the bottom of the page. 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.

Best Literary Magazines Rankings:

1.  The New Yorker 260
2.  Tin House 120
3.  Ploughshares 75
4.  Granta 60
5.  Glimmer Train 52
6.  Harper’s Magazine    48
7. New England Review 46
8.   Atlantic Monthly 43
American Short Fiction  43
9. McSweeney’s Quarterly 41
10. Zoetrope All-Story  40
11. Paris Review  39
12. The Southern Review  34
13.  One Story   32
14.  The Kenyon Review   29
15. ZYZZYVA 28
  Virginia Quarterly Review   28
16. The Iowa Review   23
17.  AGNI   22
  Narrative Magazine  22
 18.   Conjunctions   21
19.  Antioch Review  20
Yale Review   20
20. The Missouri Review   18
   Subtropics  18
21.  Ecotone  17
  Alaska Quarterly Review  17
Prairie Schooner  17
A Public Space   17
 22. Five Points   16
  Epoch  16
23.  Georgia Review   15
24.  Michigan Quarterly Review  12
25. Santa Monica Review   11
  The Cincinnati Review   11
  Harvard Review  11
  StoryQuarterly  11
  Colorado Review  11
 26.   Witness  10
   West Branch 10
27. Idaho Review   9
  Boulevard   9
  The Gettysburg Review   9
  The Normal School 9
28. Oxford American  8
  Crazyhorse   8
29.  Image  7
Black Warrior Review   7
  Fifth Wednesday Journal  7
Mississippi Review   7
30. BOMB 6
  Nimrod 6
  The Sewanee Review   6
  Shenandoah   6
  The Sun  6
  Hobart  6
  Threepenny Review   6
  Esquire  6
  New Ohio Review 6
31. Fiction 5
  TriQuarterly  5
  Chicago Quarterly Review 5
  Washington Square Review 5
  Gulf Coast  5
  Bellevue Literary Review  5
  Southwest Review 5
  Byliner  5
32.  Commentary  4
  Joyland Magazine 4
  Orion 4
  Daily Lit 4
  Callaloo  4
  Salamander  4
  Massachusetts Review  4
33. American Scholar 3
  Meridian 3
  Copper Nickel 3
  Cimarron Review  3
  Freeman’s 3
  Commonweal  3
  The Common 3
  E-Flux Journal 3
  N+1 3
34. 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
35. Hayden’s Ferry Review  1
  The Literarian  1
  Greensboro Review  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
  Event  1
  Southampton Review  1
  Sou’wester  1
  Consequence  1
  December  1
  Isthmus  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
  Hopkins Review 1
  Bennington Review 1
  Territory 1
  Electric Literature 1
  Wired 1

 

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28 Comments

  • 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.

  • http://tinyurl.com/fredmode27750 / 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 http://www.criticalpassreview.com.

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

    Great list. Downside? Always hard for new journals, like http://recommendedreading.tumblr.com, or budding guppies, like http://www.sequestrum.org, 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

    Hi
    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.

  • Christopher / June 22, 2016 at 9:54 am Reply

    Hmm it appears like your website ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the whole thing.
    Do you have any suggestions for newbie blog writers?
    I’d certainly appreciate it.

    • Bookfox / June 22, 2016 at 2:24 pm Reply

      I’m going to create a post in the next few months that will teach writers how to blog! Look forward to it.

  • Bobby / August 10, 2016 at 2:38 am Reply

    Can anyone give me advice on the journal Red Rock Review? Is it a solid respectful journal? Or just a decent low
    caliber one at best. I’m a poet and I’m just curious. Comments appreciated. Thank you.

  • Sally Anderson / September 8, 2016 at 12:49 pm Reply

    The NY Literary Magazine is a good one too. It’s free to submit poetry and short story submissions to them. They publish print and digital Anthologies and run monthly free to enter poetry contests as well.

  • Bob Loblaw / September 21, 2016 at 9:56 pm Reply

    1. Thank you for compiling this, it is far and away the most useful collection of such publications to rank in the top two of my Google search tonight. The pseudoscientific methodology gave merit to a subject that is so often drowned in the over-personalized ways that such subjective matters are measured.

    2. It’s going to sound like I’m more serious/concerned than I am with this comment, but I think it’s fair to mention that this measurement is not entirely statistical, and so I think it is fair that the (admittedly fair) statement on the importance of statistical measurements is out of place here. Because the formula is based on a point-system that is original (and not inherent to the database), it is not a truly statistical measurement.

    3. I cannot emphasize enough how aware I am of the pointlessness and general “who cares”ness of this comment.

    4. This is anonymous, so point #3 is largely irrelevant.

    5. Fish.

  • Johnny Cho / November 16, 2016 at 3:47 pm Reply

    Thanks so much for putting this together. By the way, your list jumps from #32 (Commentary) to #28 (American Scholar).

    • Bookfox / November 16, 2016 at 7:35 pm Reply

      Thank you! Fixed now.

  • Michelle / April 30, 2017 at 12:14 pm Reply

    Does the author of this website have a book published? Thanks for putting together all the great info.

    • Bookfox / April 30, 2017 at 5:27 pm Reply

      Hi Michelle,

      If you look at the “About Me” at the top of the page, you’ll see that I have a book of short stories coming out in November with Press 53, and I’m currently searching for a publisher for my novel.

  • Matt / September 29, 2017 at 2:31 pm Reply

    Hi John,

    Thanks for doing this. Are you planning to update your ranking with the 2017 book out?

    • Bookfox / September 29, 2017 at 2:43 pm Reply

      I think it comes out October 3rd, and yes, I update it every year.

      • Matt / September 29, 2017 at 6:57 pm

        Thanks, that would be great and very useful.
        Interestingly I saw it (and leafed thru it) at a bookstore in Canada (Toronto).

      • Bookfox / September 29, 2017 at 7:09 pm

        Yeah, sometimes a bookstore will break embargo and people can nab a copy a week early, but I think in general it’ll come out in a few days.

  • Julie / November 9, 2017 at 11:06 am Reply

    Helpful list! Thank you. Does this include updates for the latest (2017) book? Thanks – Julie

    • Bookfox / November 9, 2017 at 1:21 pm Reply

      Not yet. It will soon.

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