Nine Literary Magazines You Should Be Reading

March 3, 2014

Forget the heavy hitters for a moment. Sure you’d give your left arm to be published in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Atlantic, Tin House, Glimmertrain… but there is a bevy of truly fantastic literary magazines that deserve your attention — and your submissions! — so take a look and be prepared to fall in love.

attAtticus Review

 Atticus Review is a weekly online journal. The issues are themed, but the writing is anything but uniform. Each author published takes a dramatically different approach to featured themes such as Hair, Beginnings, and Swimming. Every issue of The Atticus Review presents a collection of writing that is witty and weird in just the right proportions. The review is affiliated with the independent press Atticus Books. The website also includes interviews with featured poets and fiction writers.

They Publish: The Atticus Review publishes, in its own words: “stories, poems, electric literature, and other genre-busting words of wisdom and interactive whimsy.”

From the Editors:Atticus Review isn’t so much different or better than other indie lit journals. It requires the same amount of creativity, passion, keen curatorial instinct, and blind faith as any underground humanities movement. What makes it invaluable is the mutual respect and admiration that we as editors and writers gain from our sophisticated readers.” –Dan Cafaro, Publisher

Learn more about Atticus Review here.

issue35_smallPassages North

 Passages North is run out of Northern Michigan University. While the print journal comes out annually, the website is frequently updated with “bonus content” that includes stories, interviews, and an extensive series of short “Writers on Writing” essays. Established in 1979, Passages North offers a fresh look at contemporary fiction. It also holds a short story and a short-short prize every other year; it is not too late to enter this year’s contests.

From the Editors: “We’re a journal whose central office is in the basement floor of a building that’ll eventually be demolished due to university progression; this is an office next to a health center where flu patients come without appointments and nineteen year-old girls are afraid they’re pregnant. There’s no sunlight, and the work we print reminds us that this is not the world exclusive.”

— Tim Johnston Managing Editor, PN

They Publish: short fiction (short shorts and longer stories), poetry (spoken-word and written word), creative nonfiction, hybrids

Learn more about Passages North here.

semicolonsGigantic Sequins

Gigantic Sequins is a bi-annual print journal. The publication itself is dazzling: it’s black and white, and includes both writing and visual art. The journal publishes work from both emerging and established writers. It boasts a mix of unique poetry and prose jam-packed with feeling. The publication is not-for-profit, and staffed entirely by volunteers. Gigantic Sequins celebrates the book as object. It is proof that print is not dead.

From the Editors: From the website: “Our all-volunteer staff includes editors who enjoy publishing writers and artists who have their hands in various sorts of figurative creative cookie jars. We promote these unique qualities and accomplishments whenever we can. Gigantic Sequins is interested in cultivating a community that reaches beyond purely the literary arts and into other parts of our neighborhoods through our journal and web presence.”

They Publish: poetry, fiction, non-fiction, book reviews, art and comics

Learn more about Gigantic Sequins here.

photoDogwood: A Journal of Poetry and Prose

 Dogwood is a good, old-fashioned print journal with a refreshing take on today’s literary scene. It is published each May, and its contents have one common denominator: quality. It is clear that Dogwood is created by open and thoughtful minds. It has published authors such as Gina Ochsner, Tom Hazuka, Allison Joseph, and Elton Glaser.

 They Publish: fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction

From the Editors: “Dogwood’s submissions are anonymous all the way up until acceptance or rejection, so we put out the welcome mat for new writers; know that your words alone will carry the day with us. We’ve been publishing since 2000 with editorial help from the Fairfield low-residency MFA program in creative writing and Fairfield’s undergraduate creative writing students, and we offer an annual open-genre contest with a top prize of $1000.”

— Sonya Huber, Editor

Learn more about Dogwood here.

little-fiction-5x5-circleLittle Fiction and Big Truths

Little Fiction is an online publication that focuses on one story each issue; it comes out the first Wednesday of every month. You can download the issues to eReaders, phones, and tablets, or you can read them online; either way, it’s free. Big Truths is its sister publication and features essays using the same model. There are no minimum or maximum lengths, and each publication features a range of works. Whether it is a short story that will make you feel a little better about your job search or an essay about motherhood and cake, Little Fiction and Big Truths provide prose you will want to get lost in for awhile.

They Publish: Little Fiction: fiction; Big Truths: nonfiction

From the Editors:Little Fiction and Big Truths publish short story singles (fiction and non, respectively) with original artwork. We use the word awesome a lot and we think short stories rock. Because they do. And they’re awesome.”

— Troy Palmer, Managing Editor.

Learn more about Little Fiction and Big Truths here.

182113_494870080556032_475367829_nJoyland: A Hub for Short Fiction

Joyland is an online literary magazine that selects and publishes stories and essays by region. New content is published every week. The publication includes work by the likes of Jonathan Lethem and Lynne Tillman, as well as writing by talented emerging authors. Joyland also puts out Retro, a print journal, twice a year.

They Publish: short fiction, novel excerpts, nonficiton

From the Editors:  “I’d say the most compelling reason is that diversity is built into our structure in several different ways: geographical diversity, style diversity being the most effecting ones. Instead of one or two editors there are as many as 8 editors selecting work for the site, all based across North America.  For readers this means we’re always going to be a surprise — our content is never going to entirely lean MFA in style, or experimental, or narrative. For writers this means there is a good chance there are at least receptive eyes when submitting your work.”

— Brian Joseph Davis

Learn more about Joyland here.

atlas_review_event_imgThe Atlas Review

 The Atlas Review is a print journal that comes out twice a year. It is a beautiful publication, jam-packed with creative energy. From Founding Editor Natalie Eilbert: “Our upcoming issue (preorders available here) features Nelly Reifler, Etgar Keret, Sheila Heti, CAConrad, Craig Morgan Teicher, Soleil Ho, and many, many others. In the past we have featured George Saunders, Amelia Gray, Eileen Myles, Kathleen Ossip, Shane McCrae, Roberta Allen, Mr. Fish, Camille Rankine, Anna Journey, Bianca Stone, and other stupendous writers and artists.” The Atlas Review is a new publication, just about a year old, and we are sure it will continue to dazzle us.

They Publish: short stories, poetry, essays, visual art, interviews

From the Editors: “Our submissions process is such that about 80% of our contributors are vetted anonymously, leaving the remaining space for solicited authors whom we feel will entice new readers to subscribe—this, we feel, creates a gorgeous energy of voices, some of whom we immediately recognize and adore, and others of whom, while less familiar, we are compelled toward and newly admire.”

— Natalie Eilbert, Founding Editor

Learn more about The Atlas Review here.



 Bodega is an online magazine that comes out the first Monday of every month. The publication calls itself “your literary corner store” and the website is friendly and carefully stocked. It is the place to go for a quick literary pick-me-up. You can grab a refreshing bite of humorous fiction, or a poem that bends your notions of the physical world, or a radiant piece of flash that connects lost love with a silverfish. Or, you can read one of their quarterly interviews with both up-and-coming and well-known writers. Whatever the case, you will leave your visit to Bodega refreshed.

 They Publish: poetry, fiction, nonfiction

From the Editors: “Bodega publishes monthly issues of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. The reason we publish so frequently, and what makes us different, is that each issue is designed to be read in a single sitting. We don’t want great content to get buried in hundreds of pages, so we keep it short and sweet.” — Cat Richardson, Managing Editor

Learn more about Bodega here.

1546025_647266581978123_1371494640_nMemorious 21

 Memorious 21 is an online journal with an elegant, no-nonsense design. Each issue includes cover art and a table of contents with links to pages for each poem and story. In this way, Memorious captures the sensation of the printed book. The focus here is really on the quality writing. Memorious features a range of prose and verse, all as imaginative and graceful as the publication itself.

They Publish: poetry, fiction

From the Editors: “We’re particularly proud of being the home of so many emerging writers, which you can see in the number of contributors launching a first or second book this year. We also have a unique art song contest, from which a guest composer selects a winning poet whose poem/s he/she sets for a performance in Chicago and for publication in the magazine.”

— Rebecca Morgan Frank, Editor-in-Chief

Learn more about Memorious here.

By Sadye Teiser


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