The Wide World of Online Literary Journals

A guide to literature on the web


| August 9, 2007



Since online literary journals first started making their mark on the internet, controversy has been smoldering -- and sometimes flaring -- about the publications' legitimacy and how they stack up to traditional venues. Publishing online is often free, easy to access, and sometimes more popular than many print literary journals. But some literary critics continue to deride online publishing as not the 'real thing.' It's true that the world of online literature contains plenty of duds, but, at its best, the only thing an online literary journal lacks is paper.

A good place to get acquainted with the e-literary world is the Million Writers Award, an online fiction contest started by an editor of the online publication storySouth in which readers vote for their favorite stories. Simon Owens at Bloggasm reports that the Million Writers Award was started after a print editor asserted that storySouth wasn't a 'real' publication. Now, the awards are gaining notoriety and acclaim. Last year's winner of the best short story, Catherynne M. Valente, says 'Most of those people would never have seen it otherwise, and that's a fantastic result.'
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Great publications recognized by the Million Writers Award include:

  • Clarkesworld Magazine, the proud home of Valente's prize-winning story, 'Urchins, While Swimming.' This publication is devoted to science fiction, fantasy, and horror short stories.
  • Storyglossia took home the award for best online publication after six of its short stories received nominations in 2006.

For other great literary journals, be sure to check out:

  • The Big Ugly Review for writing, photography, film, and music. The publication recently posted its sixth installment since 2004, the Body Issue.
  • The Wild River Review publishes an array of genres, including comics and some exceptionally interesting interviews. The review has a decidedly global slant, featuring writers from diverse backgrounds and a section of travel essays called 'Airmail.'
  • Terrain.org is for the ecominded literary fan, publishing poetry, fiction, and even case studies related to its overarching theme of development and sustainability.

Go there >> The Million Writers Award: Raising the Profile of Online Literary Journals

Go there, too >> storySouth

And there >> The Big Ugly Review

joe dugan
11/23/2008 9:59:27 PM

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