Pushcart Prize

The Pushcart Prize is an American literary prize published by Pushcart Press that honors the best "poetry, short fiction, essays or literary whatnot"[1] published in the small presses over the previous year. Magazine and small book press editors are invited to submit[2] up to six works they have featured. Anthologies of the selected works have been published annually since 1976.

The founding editors are Anaïs Nin, Buckminster Fuller, Charles Newman, Daniel Halpern, Gordon Lish, Harry Smith, Hugh Fox, Ishmael Reed, Joyce Carol Oates, Len Fulton, Leonard Randolph, Leslie Fiedler, Nona Balakian, Paul Bowles, Paul Engle, Ralph Ellison, Reynolds Price, Rhoda Schwartz, Richard Morris, Ted Wilentz, Tom Montag, Bill Henderson[3] and William Phillips.[4]

Among the writers who received early recognition in Pushcart Prize anthologies were: Kathy Acker, Steven Barthelme, Rick Bass, Charles Baxter, Bruce Boston, Raymond Carver, Joshua Clover, Junot Diaz, Andre Dubus, William H. Gass, Seán Mac Falls, William Monahan, Paul Muldoon, Tim O'Brien, Lance Olsen,[5] Miha Mazzini,[6] Peter Orner, Kevin Prufer, Kay Ryan, Mona Simpson, Ana Menéndez, Ladette Randolph, and Wells Tower.[7]

The Pushcart Prize celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2016. It is supported and staffed by volunteers. The founder and editor is Bill Henderson.

The anthology has earned national recognition. “Must reading for anyone interested in the present and future of America’s arts and letters.” — Kirkus Reviews[8] Pushcart Press was awarded the 1979 Carey Thomas Prize for Publisher of the Year by Publishers Weekly.

The Pushcart Prize series was honored with the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Book Critics Circle in 2005,[9] and the Poets & Writers/Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers award in 2006.[10]

Winners Since 1976

Each edition of the Pushcart Prize includes a complete index of presses and writers reprinted in the anthology since 1976. Over 2,000 writers and 600 presses have been selected.

Guest Editors

Many guest editors have served this collection over the years. They are listed in each edition that they edited.

Contributing Editors

Over 200 contributing editors make nominations for each edition. They are listed on the masthead.

Reviews & Comments

"This book is essential."—Library Journal[11]

"Those who despair of finding good writing in mass media America need look no further than the Pushcart Prize."—Booklist[12]

"A fascinating peek at the vast and largely hidden world of non-commercial publishing."—Time[13]

"Striking in its literary breadth and accomplishment."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)[14]

"Of all the anthologies, Pushcart's is the most rewarding to read straight through."—Chicago Tribune[15]

"Of inestimable value."—Village Voice

"A distinguished annual literary event."—New York Times[16]

"When the future wants to know about our arts and letters, this is the publication it will turn to."—Sherod Santos[11]

"Urgent and absolutely necessary."—Mary Karr[17]

"A treasure trove."—Joyce Carol Oates

"A heroic work."—T.C. Boyle[17]

"This is the anthology that the writers read."—Russell Banks[17]

"A revolution, a Great Ear, a voice braiding many voices."—Cynthia Ozick[8]


  1. Pushcart Prize website
  2. Pushcart Prize website Nomination Process for the Pushcart Prize
  3. "Welcome to Pushcart Press: Publishers of The Pushcart Prize". www.pushcartprize.com. Retrieved 2016-04-26.
  4. Lask, Thomas (January 7, 1979). "The Making of a Big Book on Little Magazines". Lawrence Journal-World. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  5. "UI PROFESSOR HONORED WITH PUSHCART PRIZE". The Spokesman Review. Retrieved 2011-03-04.
  6. "Pushcart 2012: Miha Mazzini, "That Winter" from Ecotone 9, Spring 2010". A Just Reconpense. Retrieved 2014-04-24.
  7. Mari, Francesca (2011-01-07). "Anthology Review: 'The Pushcart Prize XXXIII'". San Francisco Chronicle.
  8. 1 2 "Welcome to Pushcart Press: Publishers of The Pushcart Prize". www.pushcartprize.com. Retrieved 2016-04-26.
  9. "National Book Critics Circle: sandrof". bookcritics.org. Retrieved 2016-08-26.
  10. "Writers for Writers Award, Editor's Award | Poets and Writers". www.pw.org. Retrieved 2016-08-26.
  11. 1 2 "The Pushcart Prize: Praise for the Prize". Pushcartprize.com. Retrieved 2016-08-26.
  12. Henderson, Bill. The Pushcart Prize 2001 XXV: Best of the Small Presses. Pushcart Press, 2001.
  13. Henderson, Bill (2001). The Pushcart Prize 2001 XVII: Best of the Small Presses. The Pushcart Prize via GoogleBooks.
  14. "Fiction Book Review: Pushcart Prize: Best of Small Presses, 1994-1995". PublishersWeekly.com. Publishers Weekly. 1994-10-01. Retrieved 2016-08-26.
  15. Coates, Joseph (1991-03-14). "Big Reading From The Small Presses". articles.chicagotribune.com. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2016-08-26.
  16. Tyler, Anne (1977-06-19). "Repeat Performance". nytimes.com. The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-08-26.
  17. 1 2 3 "The Pushcart Press: Praise for the Prize". pushcartprize.com/praise. The Pushcart Prize. Retrieved 2016-08-26.
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