Awards and Honors, Institutional News

Bennington Review Wins 2022 Whiting Literary Magazine Prize

The Bennington Review has been awarded the 2022 Whiting Foundation’s Literary Magazine Prize.

Whiting prize bennington review

Bennington Review, originally founded in the 1960s, relaunched in 2016 after a thirty-year hiatus to reinforce the value of a carefully curated print literary journal in an age of digital media, with a focus on aesthetic and cultural inclusivity and a dedication to championing vibrant and idiosyncratic poetry and prose that is as graceful as it is reckless. 

“The Whiting Literary Magazine Prize will enable us to increase what we are able to pay our contributors, expand our readership, and launch new initiatives,” said Michael Dumanis, director of Poetry at Bennington, literature faculty member and editor of Bennington Review. “We are grateful to the Whiting Foundation for honoring our efforts to support innovative contemporary literature."

The Whiting Foundation provides targeted support for writers, scholars, and the stewards of humanity’s shared cultural heritage. Since 2018, a total of twenty-three literary magazines have won the Literary Magazine Prize for excellence in publishing, advocacy for writers, and a unique contribution to the strength of the overall literary community. Now in its fifth year, this prize awards are given annually to five print and digital magazines that are among the most innovative and essential publications at the forefront of American literary culture.

The fifteen finalists were chosen from a pool of over eighty applicants, each of which received three reviews from experts in the field. In the print categories, the judges marveled not only at the polish and verve of the writing the magazines publish, but also their sleek, gorgeous design. In the digital categories, the judges lauded how the online publications dissolve barriers to literature and have sprouted communities of loyal readers. 

“This prize was designed to create cohorts capable of tackling shared challenges with mettle and imagination, and it’s thrilling to picture the conversations that these terrifically varied magazines will have,” said Courtney Hodell, director of literary programs. “We look forward to learning with and from them.” 

Bennington Review is one of three recipients in the print category, alongside ZYZZYVA (San Francisco, CA) and American Chordata (Brooklyn, NY). Digital prize recipients include Apogee and Electric Literature.

The support for all prize winners unfolds over three years. To help the magazines strengthen their network of support and ability to fundraise, the awards in the second and third years are made as matching grants, in which the Foundation doubles or triples new gifts. Each magazine will also receive time with an expert fundraising consultant and other professional development support throughout the year. 

The Whiting Literary Magazine Prizes were launched in 2018 to acknowledge, reward, and encourage publications that actively nurture the writers who tell us, through their art, what is important. The purpose of the prizes is first and foremost to recognize excellence, and also to help outstanding magazines reach new audiences, find new sources of revenue, grow their professional network, and travel the path to sustainability. The matching grants in years two and three are intended to give these publications enough runway to make serious progress toward achieving these goals. 

From The Whiting Foundation: 

Bennington Review brings together writing that is as playful as it is probing through a geographically broad and culturally rich array of voices, whether prominent, up-and-coming, or new. First published in 1966, it relaunched in 2016 as a faculty-edited teaching publication that gives undergraduate editorial assistants at Bennington College hands-on experience working on a distinctive national magazine. This biannual print journal publishes poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and film writing that is at once innovative, intelligent, and moving, under wonderfully elastic themes such as “Misbegotten Youth,” “Kissing in the Future,” and “Return to a Meadow.” It celebrates the unique pleasures of a bound print journal as an intimate, immersive reading experience. 

From the judges:

With an editorial vision that is razor-sharp and whimsical all at once, Bennington Review foretells the future of literary magazines. Each issue is a jewel box of unabashedly intelligent and singular fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, not to mention an uncommonly ample devotion to film criticism and work in translation. Its design is handsome and bold, its impact on readers and writers profound. Literary talent will radiate out of Bennington Review for years to come. 

In the Media

"Bennington Review, college's literary magazine, wins prestigious publishing honor,Bennington Banner

"A Vermont-based literary journal wins national award," WAMC

"Bennington Review Wins Prestigious Literary Prize," Seven Days

 

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Bennington Review is a national biannual print journal of innovative, intelligent, and moving poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and film writing, housed at Bennington College. In 2017, the Bennington Review was awarded the Firecracker Award from the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses for Best Debut Literary Magazine. 

Work from Bennington Review has been reprinted in multiple editions of Best American Poetry and The Pushcart Prize Anthology, and has been listed as notable in past editions of Best American Short Stories and Best American Essays. Contributors include National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle, NAACP Image Award, and Pulitzer Prize winners and finalists. Notable contributors include Kaveh Akbar, Kathleen Alcott, Rae Armantrout, Meena Alexander, Jericho Brown, Timothy Donnelly. Aracelis Girmay, Leslie Harrison, Donika Kelly, Porochista Khakpour, Shane McCrae, Rick Moody, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Diana Khoi Nguyen, David James Poissant, Justin Phillip Reed, Mary Ruefle, Lore Segal, Tracy K. Smith, and Deb Olin Unferth.

Bennington Review is published twice a year in print form. Submissions are customarily read every fall, winter, and spring. The next submissions period will be from September 1, 2022 to January 9, 2023

Bennington Review is available to purchase online and at Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and select independent bookstores around the country. If you would like your local bookstore to carry Bennington Review, or if you are a bookseller looking to order copies of the magazine, please contact us at benningtonreview@bennington.edu.