PEN America Literary Awards PEN/Magid Award for Editing

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.

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 innovationFor 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 Editingan editor whose commitment and taste have added vital force to American and World Literature.”

Kwame Dawes headshot


Previous Winners

(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.