Print vs Digital Publishing in the Pushcart Prize

Over at Luna Park, Travis Kurowski’s recent post “Is Something Missing from the Pushcart Prize?” talks about the lack of online journals included in the most recent issue of the Pushcart Prize. It’s worth your time to read, and it is honestly a problem I’ve also witnessed, but have been reluctant to talk about since I was one of the nine guest fiction editors for the current Pushcart Prize. Over the course of about two months in early 2011 I read and evaluated over 800 pieces of fiction and nonfiction from almost 80 journals and small presses. It was an amazingly fun, hectic process.

After publication one big shift I noticed from the 2011 to the 2012 edition concerned major changes in the special mention section. In the 2011 edition the special mention fiction section listed over 130 stories from a diverse list of presses and journals; however, this year’s special mention fiction section only listed 37 stories. That’s a huge hit for journals and small presses and especially for emerging authors, because the special mention section is often the first place an author or press gets any attention from major award anthologies, like the Pushcart Prize. And, as Kurowski mentions, very few come from online sources. Kurowski points out:

All of the smartest and best writers I know write, publish, research, and communicate both in print and online: Benjamin Percy, David Shields, Kelly Link, Michael Robbins, Blake Butler, Laura van den Berg, Margaret Atwood … This isn’t even a point that needs to be made any longer; perhaps in 2002, but not 2012.

I wholeheartedly agree with him. The Pushcart Prize remains one of the best measurements for the current state of small press publishing, and in these horrible economic times a narrower focus on the number of stories and journals recognized in something like the special mention section is not a positive message to send out to struggling presses and journals who work tirelessly to produce the finest product they’re capable of making, regardless if that product is published in print or digital format. The Pushcart Prize needs to continue to list a large and diverse selection of stories in the special mention section; otherwise, the number of emerging writers and emerging presses who go unrecognized threaten to weaken the literary landscape of small press publishing.


BASS 2012 Contributors and Stories

A few folks have gotten a hold of the list of BASS 2012 stories and contributors. Pasted below is the list that comes from Joesph Peschel’s blog.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “Ceiling,” Granta

Megan Mayhew Bergman, “Housewifely Arts,” One Story

Tom Bissell, “A Bridge Under Water,” Agni

Jennifer Egan, “Out of Body,” Tin House

Nathan Englander, “Free Fruit for Young Widows,” The New Yorker

Allegra Goodman, “La Vita Nuova,” The New Yorker

Ehud Havazelet, “Gurov in Manhattan,” TriQuarterly

Caitlin Horrocks, “The Sleep,” The Atlantic Fiction for Kindle

Bret Anthony Johnston, “Soldier of Fortune,” Glimmer Train

Claire Keegan, “Foster,” The New Yorker

Sam Lipsyte, “The Dungeon Master,” The New Yorker

Rebecca Makkai, “Peter Torrelli, Falling Apart,” Tin House

Elizabeth McCracken, “Property,” Granta

Steven Millhauser, “Phantoms,” McSweeney’s

Ricardo Nuila, “Dog Bites,” McSweeney’s

Joyce Carol Oates, “ID,” The New Yorker

Richard Powers, “To the Measures Fall,” The New Yorker

Jess Row, “The Call of Blood,” Harvard Review

George Saunders, “Escape Spiderhead,” The New Yorker

Mark Slouka, “The Hare’s Mask,” Harper’s Magazine

Pushcart Prize XXXVI (2012)

I got a letter today from Mr. Henderson (written on an Olivetti Studio 46 Manual typewriter) with a full list of magazines and winners. 66 authors made it in with stories, poems and nonfiction (35 men and 31 women for all you keeping track of the gender war) with over 100 special mentions (sorry, not listed).

Lists are below.

Pushcart XXXVI: Authors & Presses

The Idaho Review

The Idaho Review

Why more people don’t know about this journal may have to do with the age of the publication than its stark local. Not having a functional website for sometime was also probably an issue. However, editor Mitch Wieland has managed to produce an outstanding publication for over a decade. According to their Facebook page: “The Idaho Review has had ten stories selected for reprint in The Best American Short Stories, Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, The Pushcart Prize, and New Stories from the South, plus another nineteen stories short listed by these prize anthologies.”

Duotrope only lists 60 fiction and poetry submissions to this market in the past 12 months!

Don’t let a lack of a strong web presence fool you; The Idaho Review is one of the best journals you’ve never heard about.

Duotrope Link

New Pages Review: 2009

Cincinnati Review

The Cincinnati Review

This journal began in 2003 and since then has managed to place stories or poems in virtually every award anthology. In 2010 a story appeared in the 2010 BASS and a poem appeared in the 2011 Pushcart Prize XXXV.

They have a hip website design with an informative blog that keeps readers aware of journal aesthetics, past contributor news and feature interviews leave a strong impression on would-be submitters.

The Cincinnati Review is a journal to check out. One thing holding back some potential submitters might be that they do not take online submissions.

Duotrope Link

New Pages Review: 2008

Pushcart Prize 2012 Winners Announced

*Full list of authors and presses can be found here.

Here are the winners I’ve come across thus far. Post in the comments section below if you know of others (there are a lot!)

Kenyon Review

Kathleen Graber  “The Telephone”  Poem

E.C. Osondu “Janjaweed Wife” Fiction

Alan Michael Parker  “Family Math” Poem

New Letters

B. H. Fairchild “Logophilia” Essay

Lydia Conklin “Rockaway” Fiction


Anis Shivani “Essay on MFA System” Essay

Green Mountains Review

Nancy Mitchell  “Grace Notes” Poem

Bellevue Literary Review

Celeste Ng “Girls at Play” Fiction

The Georgia Review

Anna Solomon “The Lobster Mafia Story” Fiction

American Short Fiction

Susan Steinberg “Cowboys” Fiction

The Southern Review

Mark Richard “House of Prayer No. 2” Nonfiction

Gettysburg Review

Eve Becker “Final Concert” Nonfiction

Update 20 May 2011

New England Review

Patrick Phillips “Spell Against The Gods” Poem


Frederic Tuten “The Verandah” Fiction

Update 24 May 2011

Alaska Quarterly Review

Donald Platt “Man on the Dump” Poem

Paris Review

John Jeremiah Sullivan “Mister Lytle” Nonfiction

The Red Tower: New and Selected Poems

David Rigsbee “Russians” Poem

Cincinnati Review

Jane Springer “Murder Ballad” Poem

Pushcart Prize Editor

In the middle of January Bill Henderson called and asked me to read/edit some of the fiction nominations for Pushcart Prize XXXVI. I’m very excited and eager to begin reading the nominations. They arrived yesterday in a box weighing 21.8 pounds! I cannot even begin to count them.

I won’t say or post any more about it until my duties are finished in April. But I have always been interested in seeing how this selection process worked. And now I’m a part of that process!

December Update!

It’s been awhile since I was able to update the site; however, the past few weeks have given me ample time to do so.

I’ve updated New Stories from the South and was finally able to put up a list from Best American Mystery Stories, but the big news is that the Best American Short Stories list is FINALLY COMPLETE. I now have rankings from the past ten years of BASS anthologies!

I’m going to start a side project based off of this new data. Stay tuned!

Best American Mystery Stories

This list ranks the number of times publications have had stories selected by the Best American Mystery Stories Anthology from 2009-2010.

Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine 5
Blue Religion 2
Boston Noir 2
Las Vegas Noir 2
The Prosecution Rests 2
Thuglit 2
Alaska Quarterly Review 1
Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine 1
At The Scene of the Crime 1
Black Noir 1
Hayden’s Ferry Review 1
Murder Past, Murder Present 1
One Story 1
Oregon Literary Review 1
Shenandoah 1
Sherlock Holmes in America 1
The Gettysburg Review 1
The Literary Review 1
Thriller 1 1
Thriller 2 1
Virginia Quarterly Review 1
The Kenyon Review 1 1
The New Yorker 1
Conjunctions 1
The Oxford American 1
Red Wheelbarrows 1
Loch Raven Review 1
Sideways in Crimes 1
The Yale Review 1