Harvard Review Contributors Receive Literary Honors

Harvard Review

Selections from issue 34 of Harvard Review have
been nominted for the prestigious Pushcart Prize,
and selected for inclusion in the Best American

April 16, 2009 - For the seventh of eight years running, literary works first published in Harvard Review have been selected for inclusion in the highly-selective Best American series, and have been nominated for a prestigious Pushcart Prize.

Featured in issue 34, Kevin Moffett's short story "In the Pines" was recently nominated for the Pushcart Prize, which recognizes the best short stories, poems, and essays published by small presses. James Marcus's essay "Faint Music," which appeared in the same issue, was recently selected by the editors of the Best American Essays 2009. Published since 1915, the Best American series is a showcase for the year's finest poetry, short stories, and essays.

Marcus's essay had a somewhat unusual provenance, owing its publication as much to the modern technology of blogging as to more traditional publishing pathways, said Harvard Review editor Christina Thompson.

"I had been looking around in the blogosphere, trying to figure out which literary bloggers I wanted to read, and I came across a piece by James Marcus about a party thrown by the Atlantic Monthly," Thompson said. "The publishers had hosted a party on the stage of a theatre, and invited people to come and watch. He wrote a piece about being in the audience, and after I read it I wrote to him to say I thought it was very funny. We began corresponding, and I invited him to contribute something to Harvard Review.' He sent us this very witty essay about fainting. But, it was the first time I had discovered a writer in quite this way.  

For both writers and the journal, the benefits of such high-profile recognition are incalculable, Thompson said.

 "For the writers, this sort of recognition is a huge step up. In many cases, it's been younger writers that we've managed to propel onto this stage, and if we get them at a certain point in their careers, it can make a big difference in how easily they make the jump to the next level, which is signing a book contract."

"For us, on the other hand, a series like Best American is the one of the only places we can get national recognition, and it's an affirmation that what we're printing is comparable to other national-level journals," Thompson said. "It's also helpful to me, because it confirms the fact that the material I'm selecting is on a par with that published by our peers."

Harvard Review is published twice yearly, in spring and fall, and subscription information can be found at http://hcl.harvard.edu/harvardreview. The journal can also be purchased for $10 from the Harvard Coop, the Harvard Book Store, or directly from the Harvard Review office in Lamont Library. (For a list of additional bookstores that carry the journal, contact the office at harvrev@fas.harvard.edu or 617-495-9775.) The staff includes Christina Thompson, editor; Matthew Hotham, managing editor; Major Jackson, poetry editor; Nam Le, fiction editor; and Judith Larsen, visual arts editor.