Today, the Whiting Foundation announced the winners of its sixth annual Literary Magazine Prizes, honoring “seven print and digital magazines that are among the most distinctive and lively publications at the forefront of American culture.” This cycle, each winner will be granted $20,000 in 2023, with matching grants of up to the same amount in 2024 and 2025, along with “networking and professional development support for the magazines’ ambitious plan.”
“The evolution of the Whiting Literary Magazine Prize means that we can gather even more exceptional magazines to learn with and from each other, celebrating intrepid talent scouting, sharp editing, and sparkling design,” said Courtney Hodell, director of literary programs at the Foundation, in a press release. “These magazines are publishing the work that launches conversations and careers. We’re proud to be in the business of helping them thrive for decades to come.”
The 2023 winners are:
Guernica (Brooklyn, NY), a digital magazine with a global outlook, exploring connections between ideas, society, and individual lives, which also features work translated into and from English
The judges commented: Perennially curious, eager to reckon with the world head-on, Guernica draws readers into uncharted conversations and traces the complex ligaments connecting culture, politics, art, and ecology. Over twenty years, Guernica has built an impressive record as a place of first publication for important writers and thinkers. Guernica’s ability to deepen our sense of wonder, of responsibility, and of connection is rooted in a core conviction that we must hear from diverse voices and diverse places.
Los Angeles Review of Books (Los Angeles, CA), a crossroads of West Coast literary culture reinventing book criticism for the internet age
The judges commented: A pillar of West Coast literary culture with national impact, Los Angeles Review of Books astounds with its scope. Its essays, reviews, and interviews are imbued with the irresistible appeal of fresh ideas and the rigor of academic inquiry. As an organization it creates and renews vital space for connection, especially through its innovative publishing workshop. New and accomplished international authors and translators cascade out of LARB, and its coverage of contemporary literature is steeped in style and substance. The commitment to history, critical thought, imagination, and to its eponymous city runs deep.
Mizna (St. Paul, MN), a gorgeously curated journal reflecting the literatures of Southwest Asian and North African communities
The judges commented: Mizna is an absolute gem of a journal: tightly edited, gorgeously curated, and visually striking. Care and craft float off its pages of beautifully laid-out poetry and lovingly printed images. Mizna is both a grassroots community organization and an esteemed international artistic platform, furthering important intergenerational dialogue within the Southwest Asian and North African (SWANA) diaspora and showcasing thrilling new literature.
n+1 (Brooklyn, NY), a magazine that takes literature, culture, and politics as aspects of the same project, acting as an incubator for important thinkers
The judges commented: A distinctive, erudite editorial project overflowing with rigor and generosity, n+1 is both magnet and catapult for intellectually fearless writers. Its uniquely attentive and structural approach to editing has helped cement a reputation as a major site of discovery for new talent, and it indisputably lives on the cutting edge of literary and political discourse. n+1’s ethos is deep investment in writers and their growth. A must-read for critical engagement with pressing issues of the day.
Orion (Great Barrington, MA), a rich assemblage of new thinking about nature and culture that invites readers into a community of caring for the planet
The judges commented: Orion sounds out the depth and breadth of the natural world and our human experiences in it, proving over and again how necessary a publication it is in this age of climate crisis. The magazine is the nucleus of something much larger: a network of readers and contributors bound by a desire to protect and marvel at natural beauty. Each themed issue, replete with illustrations that complement and elevate the text, is a printed object to cherish. To read Orion is to feel the planet as a living organism of which we are a part.
Oxford American (Conway, AR), a nationally regarded magazine that brings fresh perspective to the complexity and vitality of the American South
The judges commented: Oxford American is our most adventurous and authoritative window on the South, pushing beyond headlines to deliver a textured, ever-evolving portrait of its cultural wealth. Drawn in by eye-catching art direction and dazzling editorial letters, readers stay to savor the unique weave of the journalistic with habit-forming fiction and vivid travel writing. A generous intellectual hospitality serves the magazine’s Southern neighbors and a broad national readership all at once. Oxford American is a spring of innovation, honoring tradition while forging something new.
The Paris Review (New York, NY), a leading journal of contemporary literature with a lively mix of exceptional poetry, fiction, and nonfiction
The judges commented: For seventy years and counting, The Paris Review has remained wonderfully distinctive and sophisticated, never short on chic art direction, impeccable curation, or international flair. The interviews make you ache to have been in the room for the conversation. Readers will find exceptional work by feted writers in every issue, but The Paris Review does not rest on its legacy: it deftly employs its footing as the standard bearer for American literary magazines to uplift talent that hasn’t yet gotten its due.