(May 15, 2019) Narrative Night 2019 took place at Arguello Restaurant in San Francisco’s Presidio and featured readings by Tobias Wolff, George Saunders, Paisley Rekdal, Javier Zamora, as well as a tribute to Narrative’s editors Carol Edgarian and Tom Jenks. Leah Garchik, a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, wrote: “Despite its utilization of tech tools, 15-year-old Narrative magazine, one of the first digital literary endeavors, is based on a primitive urge: Tell me a story. On a rainy night last week, supporters of the magazine gathered at the Presidio in Traci Des Jardins’ Arguello restaurant to do what storytellers and story-recipients like to do: Eat (tacos) and drink (margaritas), sit shoulder to shoulder, and listen.”
(December 3, 2018) Gentry Magazine featured Narrative’s Voices of a New Generation event in their December issue, highlighting “Narrative’s programs providing an expansive, free digital library of literature as well as mentorship of young writers in underserved schools across the world.”
(October 17, 2018) The Nob Hill Gazette writes that “Narrative Magazine honored esteemed authors alongside the Bay Area’s literary up-and-comers at its inspiring Narrative Voices of a New Generation event. . . . Acclaimed journalist and best-selling author Susan Orlean discussed her latest mystery, The Library Book, with the magazine’s founder Carol Edgarian, in front of the crowd. Makee Anderson, Castilleja School senior and winner of Narrative’s ‘Tell Me a Story’ contest, also captured the audience with her moving speech. Narrative Voices of a New Generation guests raised funds for the organization’s Narrative in the Schools program, which aims to support teachers and students worldwide.”
(September 26, 2018) The editors of Narrative have awarded Paisley Rekdal the Narrative Prize, given annually for the best work by an emerging writer published in Narrative. Rekdal, who grew up in Seattle and now teaches at the University of Utah, receives the award for a trilogy of poems—“Quiver,” “Telling the Wasps,” and “The Olive Tree at Vouves,” which combine Keatsian lyricism with a mortal questioning of the nature of memory in the modern age.
(May 9, 2018) Celebrating fifteen years at the vanguard of digital publishing, Narrative announced today that Makee Anderson, a junior at Castilleja School (Palo Alto), has won first place in the Third Annual Narrative “Tell Me a Story” High School Contest for her essay “When Everything Changed.”
(October 11, 2017) The editors of Narrative Magazine announced today that poet Javier Zamora is the winner of the 2017 Narrative Prize for the best work by a new or emerging writer published this past year in Narrative.
(April 17, 2017) The editors of Narrative Magazine announced today that Scarlett Akeley, a sophomore at the Castilleja School, has won First Prize in the Narrative “Tell Me a Story” High School Contest for her essay “Dear America.”
(December 12, 2016) The work of Narrative editor and cofounder Tom Jenks was highlighted in Poets & Writers’ “The Practical Writer” feature. In the article “Learning from No: Finding Inspiration in Rejection,” Michael Bourne recalls a series of emails exchanged with Jenks, which began as a kind rejection of Bourne’s story and grew into a more thorough discussion of what might be improved in the work. Bourne credits Jenks’s criticism as essential to the story’s evolution and notes how even in a situation where a story is not accepted for publication, a generous editor may provide invaluable writing feedback and criticism.
(October 5, 2016) The editors of Narrative Magazine announced today that writer Sara Houghteling is the winner of the 2016 Narrative Prize for the best work by a new or emerging writer published this past year in Narrative.
(December 7, 2015) The editors of Narrative Magazine announced today that Charley Burlock, a senior at the Urban School of San Francisco, has won the first annual Narrative High School Essay Contest. This year’s contest theme was “Where I’m From and Where I’m Going.”
(September 29, 2015) The editors of Narrative Magazine announced today that poet Ocean Vuong is the winner of the 2015 Narrative Prize for the best work by a new or emerging writer published this past year in Narrative.
(September 15, 2014) In his article “Narrative Magazine Keeps Evolving,” Washington Post book editor Ron Charles describes how Narrative has thrived even while offering the magazine for free and paying writers fairly for their work.
“Narrative has been a dogged survivor, evolving with each new technological shift. It was one of the first magazines available on the Kindle and one of the first to offer an app. And this month, Narrative launches a classy redesign that demonstrates it can play in the social media world without losing its foundation in high-quality, substantial literature. Somehow, these editors have attracted an audience that wants to read William Carlos Williams and Chekhov on an iPhone.”
(September 11, 2014) Narrative’s redesign and iStory Contest, hosted by Ann Beattie, has been highlighted in SFGate.com. In the article “Narrative Magazine unveils new look,” editor and cofounder Carol Edgarian explains, “The new site is designed to be bold, easy to navigate, and to showcase what Narrative is all about.”
“Elegant and uncluttered, the magazine’s redesigned site allows readers to view content on a variety of devices. The site is also unveiling new features, including the Narrative 10, a biweekly Q&A with authors, and the 7-Minute Read, essays with timely themes. And all the magazine’s content—including its archive—is free.”
(March 13, 2013) Narrative’s own Tom Jenks was recently interviewed by StoryinLiteraryFiction.com’s William H. Coles. Jenks discusses his thoughts on storytelling, the craft of literature, inspiration, and the future of publishing.
“In our time, there’s a sense in the adult world that everybody is creative and everybody can be creative. Everybody is equal. The Internet helps reinforce this sense of creative equality—whatever anyone writes is equal to what anyone else writes, and anyone’s opinion of what anyone writes is equal to whatever else anyone has to say on the subject. Art is not democratic. Reading is democratic. Viewing is democratic. It’s meant to be, and should be, accessible to all. But the creation of art is not really democratic.”
(March 4, 2013) James Salter has been named one of the first recipients of the Donald Windham–Sandy M. Campbell Literature Prizes at Yale University for his outstanding achievement in fiction. Salter’s award is one of nine Windham Campbell prizes of $150,000 awarded this year, one of the largest literary prizes in the world. Selections from Salter’s work, including audio and video readings, essays, and a novel excerpt, can be found in Narrative’s archives. For an intimate look into Salter’s life and work, Andrew Southam’s exclusive gallery on the award-winning author “A Writer’s Life” is available in Narrative Backstage.
(February 21, 2013) Narrative is highlighted in Arizona State University’s online literary magazine, Superstition Review. Narrative is due to celebrate the tenth anniversary of its founding this year. Read Narrative’s first issue, from fall 2003, to see how far we’ve come in a decade.
Looking ahead to what the next ten years may bring for Narrative, Jenks said, “Ha! Where’s my crystal ball? As a kid growing up in the 1950s and ’60s and hearing about the Soviet Union, the five-year plan always struck me as a good model, provided you didn’t have to adhere to it rigidly. That is, you can chart the future, knowing that as you reach each milestone the landscape looks somewhat different than imagined, and the chart must be adjusted again and again as you go forward. But Narrative’s primary goals remain the same as when we started: Expand the readership for good writing; support writers by paying them as well as possible and by providing keen editorial encouragement; train young publishing professionals in the best traditional values and new practices; help shape the future of literature within the new media.”
(December 2, 2012) Shortly after the premiere of Narrative author Mermer Blakeslee’s new novel, When You Live by a River, WSKG’s “Off the Page” radio program interviewed Blakeslee and gained some exclusive insights into her poignantly written historical novel. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that “Blakeslee’s world, lyrical and mythic, is filled with magic, visions, and dreams.” Listen to the interview for a peek into Blakeslee’s world.
Open the spigot on the water faucet over any sink on Manhattan’s Park Avenue or in Harlem or The Bronx and clear, unfiltered water from Upstate New York will come pouring out. Reservoirs in the Catskills provide parts of the USA’s biggest city with reputedly the finest water supply on Earth. City folks with little knowledge of the Upstate regions still recognize names like Ashokan and Cannonsville, reservoirs that trickle 15 billion gallons of water a day to Gotham, the sites under constant surveillance by a special branch of the NYC Department of Environmental Protection Police and now further protected by political power against incursion by gas drilling. To build these reservoirs many miles of farmland had to be sacrificed and personal lives altered That is some of the background for Mermer Blakeslee’s new novel When You Live By a River, which opens in 1931 just as the city was planning to expand its water supply. The farmers and those who dwell along the East Branch of the Delaware are “not on edge, but on watch”.
(November 29, 2012) Narrative author Will Schutt has been named a winner in the 2012 Yale Series of Younger Poets competition. Yale University Press will publish Schutt’s poetry collection, Westerly, in April 2013. His poem “Beach Lane” can be found in Narrative’s Winter 2012 issue.
(October 23, 2012) Narrative author Anthony Marra has received this year’s prestigious Whiting Writers’ Award, which every year provides $50,000 each to ten emerging authors, allowing them to write. Established in 1985 by the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation, the award has also honored writers such as Denis Johnson, David Foster Wallace, Ruth Stone, Tobias Wolff, Tony Kushner, Mary Karr, Ann Pancake, Jeffrey Eugenides, and Sherwin Bitsui.
(October 12, 2012) The Daily Beast, in their "Rare Letters and Emails" collection, published a series of editorial emails between our own Tom Jenks and Jayne Anne Phillips. The email exchange shows the non-trivial work involved in finding a moving, self-contained excerpt from a novel for publication in Narrative Magazine. Titled “Language Immersion Seoul,” the excerpt from Phillips’s novel Lark and Termite is available on our site for free here.
(May 10, 2012) Bob Lehrman, the winner of Narrative’s Winter 2012 Story Contest, received warm congratulations on his achievement from American University, where he teaches at the School of Communication. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Lehrmann is now returning to writing fiction after a twenty-year career in speechwriting and teaching. The author brings to the page his years of experience in a highly charged political environment and in academia. The article goes on to note that “Narrative has become known for its innovative approach to furthering literary fiction, as well as its policy of publishing both well-known and new writers.” We are delighted to welcome Bob Lehrman back into the fold of fiction.
(March 12, 2012) Narrative Night 2012 took place at Cowell Theater in San Francisco this year and featured readings by poet Matthew Dickman, novelist Melanie Gideon, and novelist and master storyteller Abraham Verghese. Leah Garchik, a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, wrote: “Silence is an absolute concept, but while Verghese told his tale, the silence of listeners became more silent. Interested became rapt. If there’d been coughing, it stopped; if there’d been rustling, that stopped, too. In an evening about the power of storytelling, that response told its own story.”
(December 29, 2011) It heartens us at Narrative Magazine to see that the work we love inspires writers to create their own. A poet and blogger Carol Despeaux has studied a recent Poem of the Week “Provenance” by Joseph Stroud and proposed, as a craft excercise, to write a poem that follows his example: “If you want to see how a great poem is put together, study this poem. Read it out loud. Allow the words to wrap around you, feel their weight on your tongue, in your heart.”
(November 13, 2011) Narrative’s Fall 2011 issue received a full five-star review from literary journal rating website The Review Review. Rudy Oldeschulte concludes her article with praise for Narrative’s ongoing contribution to literary publishing in the digital age:
(December 26, 2010) Narrative Magazine’s dedication to pushing the boundaries of literary publishing was recently recognized by MSN’s digital magazine Glo.com. In their annual round-up of the year’s best new products, the Narrative App was named one of 2010’s top ten must-use apps. Dubbed “the intellectual’s eReader,” the Narrative App is available now for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Download it here today!
(October 4, 2010) Narrative Magazine was recently highlighted in an article featured on PBS’s digital media blog MediaShift. Focusing on Narrative’s unique approach to the future of digital publishing, the article even includes a special preview of upcoming content customization features. The article is a great read for anyone interested in how Narrative Magazine will continue to usher storytelling into the digital age.
(April 10, 2010) In their first quarterly issue of 2010, the National Endowment for the Arts featured an article on the business of books, with Narrative Magazine’s digital publishing model a key focus. Providing a behind-the-scenes look at the way in which Narrative functions and thrives, it is an essential read for anyone looking to learn more about the current state of publishing both in the print and digital arenas.
(March 15, 2010) Narrative Night 2010 recently concluded after a dazzling night of great wine and even better literature. Master storytellers Ann Beattie and James Salter, along with emerging author Anthony Marra, read for an enraptured audience at Fort Mason on the night of March 10, after a dazzling cocktail buffet on Telegraph Hill. Thanks in no small part to the generosity and passion of our honored readers and guests, the night was a smashing success, and as the San Francisco Chronicle’s own Leah Garchik pointed out in her recent write-up of the event, “Everybody loves a happy ending.”
(February 28, 2010) Featured Narrative author Richard Bausch’s latest story collection, Something Is Out There, received plaudits in this Sunday’s New York Times Book Review. Reviewer Maria Russo, writing about the story “Sixty-five Million Years,” commented,
With its movement away from ego and vanity, this brave, deceptively modest story tempts you to see a bit of the priest in Richard Bausch’s own vocation as a writer. Again and again, he excavates the darkest corners of his characters’ lives without giving in to despair.
(February 17, 2010) Narrative Library’s debut novella publication, Rick Bass’s The Blue Horse, received positive buzz from The Washington Post this week. Opening a brief history of Narrative Magazine’s progressive publishing strategies, Stephen Lowman goes on to praise The Blue Horse as “a fine, old-fashioned hunting story” written with an “artist’s eye for detailing landscape and conveying its splendor.” Order your copy of The Blue Horse HERE.
(December 5, 2009) Cofounding Editor Carol Edgarian and Narrative author Katayoon Zandvakili represented Narrative at a San Francisco’s reading series, Babylon Salon (which is partly run by Assistant Editor Tim Rien). Zandvakili read from her book in progress, In the Lap of the Gods: My Eight-&-a-Half-Month Marriage to an Impostor, while Edgarian’s warm introduction prompted questions such as, “What is the secret to inner peace” from an attending SF Examiner reporter. Missed it? Watch the videos HERE.
(November 16, 2009) Narrative sponsored “Dangerous Places and Dangerous Stories: The Writer as Environmental Activist” at the California Academy of Sciences. Authors and environmental activists Rick Bass and James G. Workman talked with Carol Edgarian, cofounder and coeditor of Narrative, about the challenges and compromises facing environmental activists who use the pen as their sword.
(November, 2009) The Intersection of the Arts 2009 James Duval Phelan Literary Award was bestowed upon Narrative author Edan Lepucki of Los Angeles, California, for her fiction manuscript “Days of Insignificance and Evil.” The Intersection of the Arts is a nonprofit art space located in San Francisco that promotes the intersection of artists and audiences.
(October, 2009) A warm round of applause to 2008 Narrative Prize winner Alexi Zentner for penning a book deal with W. W. Norton (with various foreign rights in the UK, Holland, Italy, Canada, and Israel) for his forthcoming novel Touch. The novel is set in and around the world of “Trapline,” Zentner’s short story that won him the Narrative Prize. Fingers crossed for a publication date of Spring 2011.
(October 17, 2009) Narrative debuted at Litquake’s Lit Crawl with six Narrative authors whose work has helped us become the gold standard of online literary magazines. Tom Barbash, Melanie Gideon, Charlie Haas, Kara Levy, and Matthew Zapruder read about the Seven Deadly Sins, with some of them sinning a bit more than the others.
(April 20, 2009) Narrative was named Best Online Publication by storySouth’s yearly recap of online publications and stories. Narrative was also given kudos for being the best publisher of novella-length fiction, and eight Narrative pieces were cited in their Million Writers Awards as notable stories: “Little Fuckers” by Robert Olen Butler, “Stones” by Jeanie Kortum, “Superhero” by Reese Kwon, “Animals” by Edan Lepucki, “Magic Words” by Jill McCorkle, “The Structure of Bubbles” by Emily Raboteau, “The Royal Reykjavík Sex Tour” by Scott Spencer, and “Interview with a Moron” by Elizabeth Stuckey-French. Congratulations to the writers!
(March 13, 2009) 7x7’s Catherine Bigelow found readers and writers in a celebratory mood at the annual Narrative Night, which featured writers Robert Stone, Jennifer Egan, Tobias Wolff, Kara Levy, and photographer Alison Yin. Stone’s wife, Janice, summed up the vibe of the night when she said, “Whatever makes people read, even if it’s on a lighted plastic screen . . . Well, then, God bless them!”
(February 17, 2009) Cofounding Narrative editor Tom Jenks talks to Judy Darley at essentialwriters.com about opening the mail, enlarging our view of ourselves and the world, and the wisdom to be found in eating oysters with friends.
(February 9, 2009) Across the pond, The Belfast Telegraph looks at the brave new world of brave new media (of which Narrative is glad to be a part).
(February 5, 2009) Sarah Weinman, freelance writer and critic, comments on the nuances recent Narrative authors David Corbett, Andy Gross, John Lescroart, and Daniel Woodrell bring to their work. Weinman explores the fine, but blurry, line between observation and participation where writers often perch, or as Corbett puts it in his Narrative essay, “At what point does observation fail us; that is, when do we begin to imagine, and why?”
(February 2, 2009) Blogger Maud Newton talks with Narrative cofounder and editor Tom Jenks about where and how fiction meets technology, what to do about it, and what not to do about it. Newton also addresses the opportunities of story submission fees.
(January 28, 2009) Every Writers Resource, a Web-based reference site for writers and readers, released their Top 20 survey of online literary magazines. Culled from hundreds of distinguished publications, Narrative Magazine received number one accolades for “both their content and their vision.”
(January 22, 2009) Esquire magazine looks to the future of publishing . . . and likes what it sees. Writer Kristin O’Toole demands respect for online literary magazines; we concur, though not necessarily because she tags Narrative “the gold standard for online literary magazines.” But if Narrative had a “Women We Love” list, O’Toole would lead the pack.
(January 9, 2009) Jacket Copy, the book news and information blog at the Los Angeles Times, encourages its readers to download Narrative to their Kindle.
(January 8, 2009) Narrative is the first and only literary magazine now on Amazon’s electronic reading device, Kindle. Gary Clarke, head of Kindle’s periodical division, noted that Narrative sets the standard for literature online and shares Amazon’s enthusiasm for providing readers with distinctive quality material with affordability and ease. Click here to get Narrative on Kindle, or download the Narrative Kindle Release.pdf.
(October 19, 2008) Narrative receives a nod from Maine writer Raymond Brunyanszki for being the first to publish an excerpt from Chandler Burr’s book “You or Someone Like You” years ago. More recently, Narrative published a review of “The Perfect Scent: A Year Inside the Perfume Industry in Paris & New York,” Burr’s behind-the-scenes book about the perfume industry. As Narrative goes, so goes the nation.
(September 15, 2008) Maud Newton spreads the good news that she and her “publication sibling” and friend Alexi Zentner each have a story in Narrative. Newton’s memoir “Conversations You Have at Twenty” was one of Narrative’s Love Story Contest winners in the Spring 2008 issue, and Zentner’s story “Trapline” made its debut on September 17, 2008. Encore!
(August 13, 2008) Author Robert Grudin extols Narrative’s “squadron of international writing stars” in a post on digital literary salon Red Room. Grudin notes that, like Red Room, Narrative “seeks to turn the Internet into a medium of literacy and inquiry.” We couldn’t agree more.
(July 2008) San Francisco magazine’s Pamela Feinsilber thinks publishers have created a self-fulfilling prophecy and laments the industry preference of the “ordinary novel” over the “unforgettable short story.” Citing Narrative as a source for quality literature on the Internet, Feinsilber is optimistic about the resurgence of short stories and the future of reading.
(July 24, 2008) Narrative puts its money where its mouth is and proves its commitment to supporting writers by offering “lucrative” prize money in its contests. The Los Angeles Times’s blog, Jacket Copy: Book News and Information, recently noted this financial fount for writers after Narrative launched its First-Person Contest. Blogger Carolyn Kellogg tells her readers that Narrative is “spreading the money love around” and encourages writers to get in on the action.
(July 14, 2008) Michael Krasny hosted a discussion on San Francisco KQED’s Forum about the future of the short story, calling on Tom Jenks to illuminate what lies ahead for short story authors amid a general sense that the publishing industry prefers to support novels. Jenks describes how the short story is not only welcome at Narrative but flourishing. San Francisco magazine’s Pamela Feinsilber and author Tobias Wolff join in on the fun.
(June 25, 2008) The pleasures of Narrative’s Summer 2008 issue has Matt Ellsworth thinking of the “flavor–drowsy, maybe playful, a little menace beneath the ease…” torpor of hot summer days; Ellsworth concludes the poetry of Alberto Álvaro Ríos captures this essence. As for the rest of the issue? Ellsworth writes, “Like always, it’s well-stocked with splendid employment of the latest word processing software.”
(June 15, 2008) The three guys of the Three Guys One Book Blog review the winning pieces in Narrative’s Love Story Contest within the scope of the rhetorical question, ‘who knows more about love than guys?’ Apparently, Narrative writers do. Jason Rice declares “these tightly focused tales of woe” cleverly combine humor and discomfort, (the recipe for most love stories, alas) while Jason Chambers says Elizabeth Stuckey-French’s prize-winner “examines the struggle between brotherly rivalry and affection.” Dennis Haritou closes his review of Janet Burroway’s “Blackout” with his simple exhortation: “Read the damn story.” Narrative suggests you read them all (available in our Archive).
(June 5, 2008) Blake Wilson, in his New York Times’s Book Blog, Paper Cuts, likens Narrative to a “little walled garden” where everything receives the utmost care and attention. He hails it as an exemplary literary oasis on the web.
(May 18, 2008) Writer and Exile on Ninth Street blogger Todd Glasscock remembers the spirit of encouraging words from Tom Jenks on his writing (the actual words themselves, lost among moving boxes over the years). He compares the Spring 2008 issue of Narrative Magazine to Jenks’s comments; supportive, optimistic, and memorable.
(May 18, 2008) Maud Newton’s incisive blog is an indispensible source for literary news (or as she puts it, “occasional literary links, amusements, politics, and rants”) on the Web; in May Narrative received a nod for its new Works in Progress feature, which reveals well-known authors’ works in progress and the people and ideas behind them.
(March 19, 2008) In a post at Red Room, author Fran Moreland Johns remarks on the convivial atmosphere at the Narrative event in San Francisco last March, which featured wonderful readings from both Tobias Wolff and Amy Tan. Joking good-humoredly with the audience, Wolff commented on the crowds Tan draws at her readings: “You have to love someone a lot not to want to kill her when the waiting line stretches all the way around the block.”
(March/April 2008) “We view the future of literature as being digital,” Tom Jenks declares in Poets & Writers magazine. In the article, Kevin Larimer ponders the future of the literary magazine (will it be a print future, or online only?), and notes Narrative Magazine’s working model: an emphasis on the online format, while providing printed editions for readers who prefer the hard copy. Narrative’s bold new venture, Narrative Library, will publish titles in a variety of digitally based formats and promises further innovation. Stay tuned.
(March 6, 2008) “I don’t think there’s ever been a greater period of opportunity for writers, for literary work,” Tom Jenks tells Tamara Strauss in a profile of Narrative for the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle’s Arts section. Founders Carol Edgarian and Tom Jenks discuss this revolutionary period for publishing in an extensive interview that covers everything from how they met to their vision for Narrative and online publishing.
(2008) In the crowded landscape of online publications, Jack Smith singles out those whose credentials and quality render publication therein an authentic coup for writers; Narrative’s quickly established reputation for high-caliber work makes it a standout on that shortlist.
(December 27, 2007) The talented Alicia Gifford won first place in Story South’s 2005 “Million Writer’s Award” for “Toggling the Switch,” published in Narrative. Story South has recognized Narrative in this contest every year since 2004, naming Narrative the best new online journal (2004) and best online publisher of longer-length fiction (2006). Narrative appears at the top of Story South’s 2007 ranking of the best online journals and magazines.
(November 7, 2006) John Marshall, in a laudatory article for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, chronicles Narrative’s modest beginnings and swift growth at a time when literary fiction is verging on extinction. As traditional outlets like Esquire, the Atlantic, Harper’s and The New Yorker scale back their publication of literary fiction, Narrative supports writers with competitive compensation and an old-fashioned regard for the value of reading.
(October 8, 2007) Prior to a Narrative Night event in Santa Fe featuring Robert Olen Butler, Dan Gerber, Ann Beattie, and Arthur Sze, Narrative founders and editors Tom Jenks and Carol Edgarian spoke with Santa Fe Radio Café about story-telling in the digital era. Host Mary-Charlotte Domandi discovered that reading Narrative made her breathe more slowly (unlike most Internet experiences) and that a literary community can be a global notion.
Blogger Terry Bain marvels at the talent of Narrative writer Pia Z. Ehrhardt, whose gifts are in full bloom in “Famous Fathers.”