Black Warrior Review Awarded National Literary Magazine Prize

The cover of the Black Warrior Review pasted over the faces of three men in suits.
The Black Warrior Review

From the August 2019 Desktop News | The Black Warrior Review, a literary magazine run entirely by UA graduate students, was recently awarded a Whiting Literary Magazine Prize, the largest national prize for nonprofit literary magazines.

“It’s very impressive and welcome news that the Whiting Foundation took notice of this student publication here at UA and wanted to reward it with this grant and support it to keep doing the work that they’re doing,” Joel Brouwer, the chair of UA’s English department, said. “There were only five magazines that received one of these grants, and there are probably hundreds of literary magazines nationwide. So it’s quite an honor to be singled out in this way.”

Over the next three years, the Black Warrior Review will receive up to $15,000 from the Whiting Foundation. The first year, the literary magazine will receive $5,000, and, each of the following years, the foundation will match any funds that the Black Warrior Review raises up to $5,000. This, according to creative writing graduate student and Black Warrior Review managing editor Jackson Saul, will help invigorate fundraising processes in the magazine, setting a new trend for future editorial boards.

This grant, according to managing editor and creative writing graduate student Jackson Saul, will allow the Black Warrior Review to publish a new online issue, known as Boyfriend Village, which goes into production this fall. It will also allow the magazine to achieve some of its other goals, such as producing standalone chapbooks, increasing contributor pay, improving their website, and creating a more accessible submissions process with lower or eliminated fees.

In addition, the Black Warrior Review’s editor-in-chief and managing editor will have the opportunity to travel to the Whiting Foundation’s headquarters in New York City, where they will be able to meet and learn from their peers, as well as promote the magazine around the city.

“The foundation is set up to be a wonderful advocate for us,” Saul said. “In September, we’re going to New York, around the time of the Brooklyn Book Festival. There’s also going to be a gathering that the Whiting Foundation organized for people who won. We’ll be able to trade notes on our challenges and our ambitions, and make some great contacts for the magazine.”

Saul, who worked for the magazine for two years before becoming managing editor, said the Black Warrior Review’s groundbreaking and cutting-edge material have kept it a nationally-recognized literary magazine, publishing pieces and interviews with names such as Toni Morrison, John Irving, Margaret Atwood, Josh Cohen, and Roxane Gay, among others. This tradition of excellence has been a foundation on which the team is building the newest iteration of the magazine.

“We are very well reputed in the literary community, and that’s because of the editors that came before us,” Saul said. “We are renowned for a lot of avant-garde, experimental work. We prioritize marginalized voices, whether that’s femme people, queer people, people of color, or other groups. And we’re always trying to give space for pieces of literature that are the highest quality, but maybe would not have a place elsewhere.”

The Whiting Foundation, a private foundation headquartered in New York, was established to support artists, writers, and other humanitarians through financial support. The Literary Magazine Prizes were created to “acknowledge, reward, and encourage the journals that play such a crucial role in championing extraordinary writers and writing.” For more information about the Whiting Foundation, visit