Our Favorite Literary Magazines

Being a fledgling literary magazine doesn’t just mean reading our own submissions and publishing pieces in our tiny little corner of the internet. It means participating in the wild, wooly, and wonderful world of literary journals and magazines. At AWP, I loved putting faces with names and meeting fellow editors of both new and established literary magazines. It’s great to be a member of this giving, enthusiastic community. So it’s about time we highlighted here at Two Cities what magazines we read, what we love, what we’re always excited to see popping up in an RSS feed or in a mailbox.

One Story

Aside from having the single best concept in the lit mag business, One Story consistently delivers fiction that surprises, angers, delights, and moves me. As a subscriber, you get one slim, beautifully designed little story in the mail every three weeks, from the best writers in the business as well as emerging writers you’ll be happy to discover. One Story has published work by Anne Beattie, Maggie Shipstead, B.J. Novak, Jim Shepard, Aimee Bender, Caitlin Horrocks, Claire Vaye Watkins…basically, the who’s who of cool contemporary writing today. But the focus is always on making one absolutely standout story that is the perfect length to read on your subway ride home or while drinking a cup of tea. In full disclosure, I interned with these wonderful people several years ago, and learned a tremendous amount about the inner workings of a literary magazine. The skills I learned there are continuing to stand me in good stead for Two Cities!


Bodega magazine is the magazine you wish you’d known about already, because it’s that cool. Started by NYU MFA alums Emily Pan, Melissa Swantowski, and Cat Richardson, it’s an online-only, monthly dose of startling experimental fiction, poetry, and interviews. Bodega usually features just one work of fiction and a handful of poems; again, the perfect dose of literature on the cutting edge. On top of that, the site is gorgeous and the reading experience delightful. It’s easy to subscribe for free to this one, so what are you waiting for?


I’d be amiss not to report on the lovely online and print magazine Bluestem, which has the rare distinction of having published work by both editors of Two Cities Review! You can see nonfiction from Olivia here and fiction from me here. But on top of that, both of us submitted because we really enjoy this journal’s thoughtful, unusual prose and poetry. There are little jolts and flashes of excellence all over the page on this journal’s site and in print.

Gigantic Sequins

I had the pleasure of discovering this magazine for the first time when I visited AWP, and I’m excited enough about it to want to report on it right now. Gigantic Sequins publishes short, delectable chapbook-like issues regularly, and it also has a vibrant, fascinating editor’s blog on all thoughts literary. Its stories and poems are sexy and surprising — what more could you want from a reading experience?