Literary Magazine Prizes
Literary magazines are more than vessels for fresh writing; they’re critical to the evolution of writers’ careers and the health of the literary ecosystem. They’re run by some of the most devoted and determined creative minds in the publishing industry, who often provide the first significant editorial relationship for an emerging writer, helping hone voice and craft.
They find these writers their first audience. Agents and book editors discover new talent in their pages. They’re cultural hubs in their region, whether that’s a part of the country or a place in the mind. Their reach has always been exponentially greater than their subscriber bases.
But these publications often achieve their amazing results with too few resources and too little recognition for their accomplishment. The Foundation has created these prizes with the desire to acknowledge, reward, and encourage organizations that are actively nurturing the writers who tell us, through their art, what is important.
Because the Foundation appreciates the role of both nimble upstarts and more established journals, of digital publications as well as print, the 2019 prizes will be given in five categories:
• Print Prizes
• Prize for a medium-sized print magazine (budget of <$500,000): An outright grant of $20,000 in 2019 (with an additional matching* grant of up to $20,000 per year for the following two years)
• Prize for a smaller print magazine (budget of <$150,000): An outright grant of $10,000 in 2019 (with an additional matching* grant of up to $10,000 per year for the following two years)
• Print development grant (budget of <$50,000): An outright grant of $5,000 in 2019 (with an additional matching* grant of up to $5,000 per year for the following two years)
• Digital Prizes for primarily online magazines
• Prize for a digital magazine (budget of <$500,000): An outright grant of $10,000 in 2019 (with an additional 2:1 matching* grant of up to $10,000 per year for the following two years)
• Digital development grant (budget of <$15,000): An outright grant of $3,000 in 2019 (with an additional matching* grant of up to $3,000 per year for the following two years)
* The exact nature of the matching grants for 2020 and 2021 will be discussed with the winning publications. Note that the budget cutoffs for the different categories are based on the distribution of budget levels we have seen for previous pools of applicants, which differ considerably between print and digital publications.
Winners are selected by outside readers with deep expertise in literature and literary magazines. The judges look for applicants that embody the best of what magazines do: publish extraordinary writing with verve and flair, support talented writers on the page and in the world, connect with readers, and advance the literary community.
By offering support that unfolds over several years, the Whiting Foundation hopes to ignite growth. What distinguishes this prize is the call to action built into its design: winning magazines will be encouraged to strive for visionary goals – reaching for new talent and investing in their own sustainability, as well as their ability to bring their writers to a wider readership.
As with its other programs, the Whiting Foundation offers winners support beyond the prize itself, lining up expert advisors for consultation with winners to help tackle perpetual challenges such as fundraising and marketing, and helping them form a cohort that will convene several times a year to think through challenges and opportunities they share.
Applicants must be not-for-profit in the US, have annual budgets of no more than $500,000, and have published at least annually for at least the last three years. Because of IRS restrictions on the use of funds by private foundations like Whiting, publications must be not-for-profit organizations or operate with a 501(c)(3) organization regularly serving as a fiscal sponsor to be eligible for this prize. More information about fiscal sponsorship is available here and here.
Applications for the 2019 Whiting Literary Magazine Prizes were due on December 3, 2018. Winners will be notified in the spring.
The call for applications for the 2020 cycle will be issued in September 2019.