Brevity’s 2018 Pushcart and Best American Nominees

November 12, 2018 § 5 Comments

ppWe are proud to announce our nominees for the 2018 Pushcart Prize anthology and Best American Essays.  The choice wasn’t easy in any way, because we’ve once again been blessed with so many talented writers and outstanding essays, but we’ve narrowed it down and sent off our nomination packets to the editors of the Pushcart and BAE anthologies. You can read the nominated essays by following the links just below. Congratulations everyone, and thanks to everyone for sending us your stellar work.

Our 2018 Pushcart nominees:

Solving for X

Aphorisms for a Lonely Planet

Women These Days

The Farmers’ Almanac Best Days for Breeding

Ace of Spades

The Cremation


BAEOur 2018 Best American Essays nominees:

The six essays listed above, as well as:



What I Took


The Brevity Podcast Episode #1: Dani Shapiro & Thaddeus Gunn

October 10, 2016 § 27 Comments

Enjoy our podcast on the go!

Enjoy The Brevity Podcast on the go!

We’re on the air! The brand-new Brevity Podcast is now available here and on Soundcloud. We hope you’ll enjoy our first episode, featuring interviews and readings from New York Times-bestselling author and noted memoirist Dani Shapiro, and Brevity author and Pushcart Prize nominee Thaddeus Gunn.

In upcoming (somewhat) monthly episodes, we’ll be speaking with Andre Dubus III, David Shields, Ander Monson, Rebecca Skloot, Roxane Gay and Cheryl Strayed, as well as more of our Brevity authors.

Soon, we’ll be invading the world of iTunes, Stitcher, iCatcher, and other podcast services, but for right now, we’re right here, and downloadable for listening on the go. If your fancy technical skills involve RSS feed wrangling, here’s our feed. If you’re on Soundcloud, please do follow us.

Let us know what you think—and we’d love to hear your suggestions for future guests!

Show Notes: Episode #1 People, Books and Places

Thaddeus Gunn lives in Seattle, Washington. His work has appeared in Brevity, Literary Orphans, and SmokeLong Quarterly. He has over twenty years of experience of writing for print, Web, and broadcast. He currently works for his own advertising and branding company, Goldyn Gunn, co-founded alongside Kevin Golden. Find him on Twitter @thaddeusgunn, and enjoy his Dear Gregory blog.

Thaddeus’s essay for Brevity, Slapstick

The Kenyon Writers Workshop

The writer of Little Miss Sunshine and Toy Story 3 is Michael Arndt.

The Hemingway app (Hemingway Editor)

Dani Shapiro is the best-selling author of the memoirs Devotion, Slow Motion, and Still Writing: The Pleasures and Perils of a Creative Life. Her five novels include Black & White and Family History. Dani’s work has appeared in the New Yorker, Granta, Elle, Vogue, the New York Times Book Review, and the Los Angeles Times, and has been read on NPR’s This American Life. She has taught in the writing programs at Columbia, NYU, the New School, and Wesleyan University, and is cofounder of the Sirenland Writers Conference in Positano, Italy. Dani is a contributing editor for Condé Nast Traveler.

Atlantic Center for the Arts

Martha Graham’s letter to Agnes de Mille

Jane Kenyon

Sarah Manguso

Philip Roth’s Patrimony

Ann Patchett’s Truth & Beauty

Annie Dillard


Josh Hanagarne, The World’s Strongest Librarian

Sirenland Writer’s Conference

Dani Shapiro’s workshops at Kripalu


Allison K Williams is Brevity’s Social Media Editor and the author of Seven Drafts: Self-Edit Like a Pro from Blank Page to Book. Want writing news, events, and upcoming webinars? Join the A-List!

CHAUTAUQUA Editors Prize 2014

September 21, 2013 § Leave a comment

Chautauqua,_N.YNews from CHAUTAUQUA:

Recently, we made changes to our contests and wanted to let you know about the new Editors Prize. Beginning in 2014, CHAUTAUQUA will award three prizes to recognize the writing we feel best captures both the issue’s theme and the spirit of Chautauqua Institution: $500, $250, and $100.  All submissions made via our Submittable site are considered as contest entries.  The entry fee is a reasonable, just $4.00.

The first place winner will automatically be nominated for the Pushcart Prize. To be eligible, writers must submit using our online submission process—and all online submissions, regardless of genre, are contenders.

Is the Pushcart Unplugged?

January 9, 2012 § 2 Comments

Travis Kurowski offers up a compelling critique of The Pushcart Prize – Best of the Small Presses 2012 over at Luna Park.  Travis, as we do, values all of the work Bill Henderson has put into the series over the years, but worries about a bias against online work:

The problem was the severe limitation of the anthology’s scope, an anthology ostensibly offering up the “Best of the Small Presses.” This is a shortcoming most significantly represented by Henderson’s disparagement of any and all online and electronic publishing venues. (Only one online publication was chosen from for this 2012 anthology.)


When the Pushcart Prize began in 1976 it was the anti-establishment (for lack of a better word). Anais Nin, Buckminster Fuller, Charles Newman, and Ishmael Reed were all prominent supporters from its inception. Maybe today things have changed? Not only are electronic and online publications nearly missing, but so are most cutting edge literary magazines and presses—Conjunctions and n+1 are about as avant garde as it seems to get this year. The anthology begins with work by Steven Millhauser and John Jeremiah Sullivan, two stunning authors, but also ones we can easily find in the glossies. Most of the publications with work chosen from them are largely mainstream, lit mag industry staples: Georgia Review, Harvard Review, New Letters, New England Review, Poetry, Third Coast, Tin House, and so forth. Again, these are largely great magazines; what’s lacking in the anthology is greater diversity and real coverage of the best being published in the indie presses.

Of course I’ll buy next year’s anthology, and the following year, and the year after that. And if I run into Henderson I’ll try to remember to introduce myself and thank him for all the great work he’s done for literature over the decades. The Pushcart anthologies are overall great publications, probably the best out there for representing and promoting what’s going in indie literature. I’m just hoping for a bit more electricity in the future.

You can read his full post here.

Which Magazines Earn the Most Pushcart Prizes in Nonfiction?

October 24, 2011 § 5 Comments

For the first time, Clifford Garstang has added nonfiction to his annual listing of literary magazines ranked by numbers of Pushcart Prizes and Special Mentions. He discusses the process below, with links to his full list:

Several years ago, wanting to be systematic about my short fiction submissions to literary magazines, I came up with the idea of ranking magazines based solely on the number of Pushcart Prizes and Special Mentions they had received. The ranking, I imagined, would give me an idea of the relative strength of the magazines and help me decide where to send my work. I analyzed ten years of Pushcart Prize anthologies, applied a simple formula (so many points for each Prize, so many for a Special Mention), and generated the list, which I then published on my blog, Perpetual Folly.

The list attracted a lot of attention, and so the next year when the new volume came out I updated the ranking. I didn’t look at other anthologies such as Best American Short Stories or the O. Henry Prize because it seemed to me that the magazines from which Pushcart draws represent a broader cross-section of the publishing world. And I didn’t consider any other factors—reputation, payment, circulation—because I wanted to keep the data simple, objective, and verifiable.
Friends and readers of my blog have asked me over the years to do the same thing with the poetry and nonfiction Pushcart Prizes, and finally this fall I began that analysis. The result for nonfiction is now posted on my blog: 2011 Nonfiction Pushcart Prize Ranking. (Poetry will be coming in early 2012.) The list covers the period 2002-2011 and will be updated with 2012 data when the new volume arrives in November. There were some surprises.

Ploughshares, which dominates the Fiction Ranking, is 20th on the Nonfiction Ranking. Georgia Review tops the Nonfiction Ranking by a wide margin, but isn’t in the Top Ten in Fiction. Orion, a beautiful magazine that many fiction writers have never heard of, is second on the Nonfiction Ranking and would be first if we looked only at the last five years. As with my Fiction Ranking, I stress that this is not an attempt to judge absolute quality. For one thing, online magazines are vastly underrepresented in the Pushcart anthologies and there are many fine magazines online. For another, I am in no position to judge the quality of the hundreds of magazines that are published. I have simply created lists that are useful to me and that I believe others may find to be a handy guide to the markets for short fiction and essays. I’ve done it for my own edification and I’m happy to share it with others.


Clifford Garstang is the author of a collection of linked short stories, In an Uncharted Country (Press 53, 2009), and a novel-in-stories, What the Zhang Boys Know (forthcoming from Press 53, September 2012).

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