The PEN/Nora Magid Award for Magazine Editing, established in 1993, biennially honors a magazine editor whose high literary standards and taste have, throughout their career, contributed significantly to the excellence of the publication they edit. The winning editor will receive an award of $2,500.
Candidates for this biennial award include current editors-in-chief, literary editors, and “back-of-the-book” editors of serious general interest magazines, book reviews, or literary reviews and quarterlies, whose intellectual discernment and wide range of interests recall the late PEN America Member Nora Magid. Nora Magid was for many years the literary editor of The Reporter. The award is made possible by a grant from PEN America Member Gerald Weales. For more information, please visit our FAQ page.
Nominations for the 2023 cycle will be accepted June 1–August 1, 2022.
2021 Honoree: Kwame Dawes, Prairie Schooner
Judges: Patrick Cottrell, Carmen Giménez Smith, John Jeremiah Sullivan
From the judges’ citation: “Born in Ghana and raised in Jamaica, Kwame Dawes serves as the Glenna Luschei Editor of the journal Prairie Schooner and is an editor for the African Poetry Book Series at the University of Nebraska, where he serves as the Chancellor’s Professor of English. Dawes is an active literary advocate for literature around the world: he cofounded and serves as the artistic director of the Calabash International Literary Festival, which takes place in Jamaica. Dawes has also worked as an HIV/AIDS advocate in this country and in Jamaica, and is the author of several books of poetry.
“A bold and visionary editor, he has both proved the ongoing validity of the literary journal and taken it to new places. His publication, Prairie Schooner, constantly demonstrates excellence and innovation. For a decade it has consistently published work that is rigorous, aesthetically diverse, and compelling. Nine years ago, Dawes oversaw an expansion into podcasts, with Air Schooner.
“At a time when we constantly hear laments for the death of reading at the hands of technology, Dawes’s work suggests that with enough energy and imagination, the landscape can be rearranged. He is the perfect recipient of the PEN/Nora Magid Award for Magazine Editing—an editor whose commitment and taste have added vital force to American and World Literature.”
(This award is offered every other year, in odd-numbered years.)
2019 Alexandra Watson, Apogee Journal
2017 Michael Archer & Joel Whitney, Guernica
2015 Rob Spillman, Tin House
2013 Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery, Mother Jones
2011 Brigid Hughes, A Public Space
2009 Hannah Tinti, One Story
2007 Bradford Morrow, Conjunctions
2005 Willard Spiegelman, Southwest Review
2003 Robert Fogarty, Antioch Review
2001 Askold Melnyczuk, AGNI
1999 Stan Lindberg, Georgia Review
1997 Wendy Lesser, The Threepenny Review
1995 Herbert Leibowitz, Parnassus
1993 Peter Stitt, Gettysburg Review
- Especially welcome are candidates who are editors of magazines, journals, and reviews published by small or regional presses, or magazines whose subjects are aimed at a specialized, but literate, readership.
- Editors may not nominate themselves.
Candidates can only be nominated by a Professional Member of PEN America whose admiration of the candidate’s work prompts them to articulate, in some detail, the ways in which the editor has made a personal mark upon the literary quality of the publication. All nominations may be supplemented by nominations from the judges themselves.