10 Best Literary Magazines & Journals 2021

Was it difficult to rate the literary magazines on our list below? Yes.

We realize that everyone has different criteria, ranging from the number of times a story published in one has been featured in the Best American Short Stories to the number of years that they’ve been publishing (not to mention the quality of the content).

Based on our research, we were able to choose a variety of the best literary magazines for both readers and writers alike.

We know that the list could be much longer than 10, but this is the best place for you to start.

Once you’re familiar with these, then you dive further into the literary magazine and journal world. You certainly aren’t lacking choices!

For the Reader

As a reader, you’re probably more interested in the quality of the articles and the type of content the magazine prints.

Look for literary magazines that feature great writing about the things you love (art, history, science, writing genres, comics, etc.)

You have options!

For the Writer

As a writer, you have a different approach to the literary magazines since you probably want to submit an article and you aren’t sure which one is right for you.

There are numerous things to consider as you compare and contrast. If you’re a new writer who has never been published, your criteria will differ from that of an experienced writer.

Here are a few ideas.

  • Find out what agents are reading and aim to get your work in front of their eyes.
  • Look for magazines that have a reputation for publishing new writers’ work. Start small and work your way up!
  • Make sure your writing fits with the magazine’s message (so make sure you read a few issues before you submit!)
  • Submit the genre of writing that they publish (poetry, fiction, etc.)

More Tips

Here are a few more tips for those looking to have their work published.

  • Put Yourself in Their Shoes. In order to avoid the frustration and disappointment of rejection, it’s crucial that you try to look at publishing from the publisher’s point of view.

Their job it to organize and print quality content for their readers, not to giving writers a step in the world.

Head to the literary magazine’s website and read their “About” section to get a good sense of where they come from, who they are and what their goals are.

  • Time Is of the Essence. If there’s one thing a literary magazine is short on, it’s time.

You can’t expect them to read every single piece that sits on their “to-read” pile from front to back.

As a submitting writer, that means that you need to send the final (and we mean triple/quadruple checked final) version of your work and to make sure that you’ve followed the submission rules.

  • Be Patient. Being patient is key. If you are persistent and learn from the rejections rather than taking them to heart, you’re off to a great start to getting your work published!

Top 10 Best Literary Magazines & Journals Complete Table

PictureNamePriceRating (1-5)
Rating (1-5)
1. The New Yorker All Access $4.6
2. Harper's Magazine $$$$4.6
3. Bookmarks $$$4.5
4. The Atlantic $$4.4
5. Tin House $$$$4.3
6. Poets & Writers Magazine $$4.3
7. The Strand $$4.3
8. Ellery Queens Mystery Magazine $$$$4.1
9. Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine $$$$4.0
10. The Writer $$$3.9

Top 3 Best Literary Journals Reviews

Are there more literary journals out there? Of course

Can we guarantee that you’ll like the ones on our list? No.

We just offer you an excellent place to start!

Have a look at the top three below and if they’re not quite what you were looking for, then check out the other great options on our list.

1. The New Yorker All Access

The New Yorker has been one of the most honored literary magazines since it first debuted in the mid 1920’s, so, respectfully, we also consider it one of the best literary magazines for both readers and experienced writers.

On its pages, you will find a mixture of book reviews, commentary on pop culture, art, and political cartoons. Rightfully so, the short stories and essays are very much focused on the NYC lifestyle, but this doesn’t present a problem. New York is so appealing and intriguing that the magazine easily attracts to both national and international readers alike!

Reading it is a pleasure and having your writing featured in it is an honor.

The best of the best!

2. Harper’s Magazine

This is an important literary magazine that appeals to serious readers that has been around since 1850.

In it, you’ll read about literature, culture, art, politics and finance in a variety of forms: essays, short fiction, in-depth reporting and book reviews.

Of course, there are those who like it and those who don’t, but it is one of the oldest continuously published monthly magazine in the U.S., and that alone speaks for itself!

Not something that an emerging writer would probably submit to, however it does make an excellent learning tool for both readers and writers alike.


Bookmarks is a popular magazine whose staff dedicates their time to reading book reviews so that you don’t have to yourself!

What they read is summarized and then printed in the magazine, so what you get is a handy guide of opinions from the top newspapers and magazines that look at fiction, non-fiction and children’s books.

It is an original idea and one that has had much success since they first published back in 2002. They use each issue to discuss two noteworthy authors and give you details about their lives and their most important works. They also choose a topic each issue and feature a panel of experts who weigh in on which are the best books on that topic.

A wonderful resource for readers and something that will provide plenty of insight into the publishing world for emerging writers.

A very useful resource!