• Home

PEN/Nora Magid Award for Magazine Editing

The PEN/Nora Magid Award for Magazine Editing, established in 1993, honors a magazine editor whose high literary standards and taste have, throughout his or her career, contributed significantly to the excellence of the publication he or she edits. 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 member Nora Magid. The winning nominee will receive an award of $2,500.


Michael Archer & Joel Whitney, Guernica

Winner of the 2017 PEN/Nora Magid Award for Magazine Editing

Founded by MICHAEL ARCHER and JOEL WHITNEY online in 2004, Guernica is an award-winning 501(c)3 non-profit magazine focused on the intersection of arts and politics. Run entirely by a staff of volunteers, Guernica is also the grateful recipient of federal and private support. A home for incisive ideas and necessary questions, they publish memoir, reporting, interviews, commentary, poetry, fiction, and multimedia journalism exploring identity, conflict, culture, justice, science, and beyond. 

From the judges’ citation: Thirteen years ago, Joel Whitney and Michael Archer co-founded Guernica, a start-up enterprise that recognized the inherent interconnectedness of literature and politics, dedicating itself to bringing the best contemporary world fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, and the most vital essays on American and global politics, together in an online space. The magazine emerged in part as a response to the policies of then-President George W. Bush, and had, from its inception, an outward-looking international perspective, a humanitarian ethos, and a commitment to social justice, as well as a discerning yet broad aesthetic sensibility. Now reaching over 1.4 million individual readers, with 3.75 million page views this past year, Guernicapublishes work that is serious, ambitious, diverse, engaging, and literary. As one of the most distinctive and consistent online publications today, this is a magazine of the highest quality.


2017 PEN/Nora Magid Award for Magazine Editing Judges

Michael Dumanis is the author of the poetry collection My Soviet Union (University of Massachusetts Press), winner of the Juniper Prize for Poetry; and the coeditor of the anthology Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century (Sarabande). Formerly Director of the Cleveland State University Poetry Center, he is a professor at Bennington College, where he teaches poetry and editing, and serves as Editor-in-Chief of the newly relaunched print literary journal Bennington Review. 

Caitlin McKenna is an editor at Random House, where she works with writers including Teju Cole, Calvin Trillin, Ronald C. White, Kayla Rae Whitaker, Gavin Edwards, and the Estates of Shirley Jackson and Jane Jacobs.
David L. Ulin is the author of Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles, which was shortlisted for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. A 2015 Guggenheim Fellow, his other books include The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time, and the Library of America’s Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology, which won a California Book Award.


Submission Guidelines

Submissions for the 2019 awards cycle are now open.


  • Eligible:
    • 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.
  • NOT eligible:
    • Editors may not nominate themselves.


Candidates can only be nominated by a Professional Member of PEN America who is in good standing and 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.