Submit to our 2019 Literary Awards!

This year's Literary Awards are now open for submissions. Our esteemed guest judges are Kristen Arnett, fiction; Anna Leahy, creative nonfiction, and R. A. Villanueva, poetry.

Winners in each category will receive $1000 and publication in Ninth Letter. All entrants will receive a one-year subscription.

Go here for complete guidelines and to submit your work!

Some Kind of Second Heart: New Bulgarian Writing


Journal – No. 4

Fall/Winter 2005 – Vol. 2, No. 2

Sample Spreads




Matthew Yapchaian


Brian Evenson, Ismail Kadare (trans. by David Bellos), Alan Rossi, Keith Lee Morris, Will Boast and Mary Austin Speaker, Dana Johnson, H.G.Carrillo, Eleanor Henderson


Jeremy Huggins, Floyd Skloot, Catherine Jagoe, Jim Kaler, Penny Susan Rose, Lynn Kilpatrick


Christopher Cunningham, Claire Bateman, David Kirby, T.R. Hummer, David Wyatt, Henry Israeli, Joanna Goodman, Sharmila Voorakkara, Ben Lyle Bedard (Booklet), Sarah Maclay, Matthew Gavin Frank, Shirley Stephenson, Stefi Weisburd, Tim Kahl

Editor's Note

The opening pages of this, our fourth issue and the culmination of two volumes of Ninth Letter, seem the perfect place for me to indulge in a little self-congratulations on behalf of the magazine. We have been fortunate to publish many extraordinary works of prose and poetry by emerging and established writers, including the following award-winners:

"A Taste of Dust," a short story by Lynne Sharon Schwartz, published in our Spring/Summer 2004 issue (our premiere), which was selected by Michael Chabon for The Best American Short Stories 2005

"Terra Firma" by Amy Lingafelter and "Traveler," by Janice N. Harrington, poems appearing in our Fall/Winter 2004, each of which received a Literary Award from the Illinois Arts Council

Ismail Kadare, author of the novel The Successor from which "The Autopsy" in this issue is excerpted, was awarded the inaugural Man-Booker International Prize for achievement in fiction.

Congratulations to these writers, and my personal thanks to the editorial staff of Ninth Letter for striving and succeeding in finding the best writing imaginable to appear in our pages.

And congratulations and thanks, too, to our fine design team, who took home not a few accolades themselves in the past year for their work on this journal. The premiere issue of Ninth Letter won two gold medals in the 2004 Annual Design Competition of the University & College Designers Association, for Cover Design and for Magazine Design as a Complete Unit. The journal was also a winner in the Type Directors Club's annual competition for the best work in typography and type design, and will appear in Typography 26, forthcoming from HarperCollins at the end of 2005. And our companion website, www.ninthletter.com, was a finalist in the art section of the 2005 South by Southwest Interactive Festival. Kudos to all the artists and designers who toil and slave for Ninth Letter.

And thanks to you, readers, for hanging with us. Turn the page and see what other delights are in store.

— Jodee Stanley


HOW Magazine's International Design 2006

Editorial Merit award for design

Print Magazine Regional Design Annual 2006

Pushcart Prize 2006

For Sharmila Voorakkara?s poem "The Eternal Immigrant"



Jodee Stanley

Creative Nonfiction Editor

Steve Davenport

Fiction Editor

Philip Graham

Poetry Editor

Michael Madonick

Art Editors

Joseph Squier and Nan Goggin

Art Director

Jennifer Gunji-Ballsrud

Photo Editor

Tirzah Rose


Aditya Bhargava, Patrick Doran, Angela Egan, Fabiola Elias, Daniel Goscha, Mark Hauge, Joohyun Kang, Katelyn Kappel, Jennifer Mahanay, Jeffrey Merrick, Kacey Morrow, Katie Quinn, Annette Rotz, Nikita Sorokin


Cristen Leifheit, Jennifer Mahanay, Tirzah Rose

Assistant Editors

Laura Bandy, Kristen Davidson, Patrick Lane, Jacqueline May, Robert McCarthy, Harmony Neal, Anne Owen, Rick Pierce, Ben Stephens, Rebecca Weber

Editorial Assistants

Christine Bryant, Laura Koritz, Paul Riegel, Ted Sanders, Leslie Singleton, Erin Elizabeth Smith


Erich Hehn, Linus Gog, Emma Ott, Jessica Rubennacker

Current Web Edition: Winter 2019

Tower tarot card

Featuring Kara Vernor, Aiden Baker, Robert Fillman, Natalie Wee, Rhonda McDonnell, Darci Schummer, Colin Pope, Beth Gilstrap, Kevin Hyde, E. Kristin Anderson, Lauren W. Westerfield, Ted Mathys, Kerry Donoghue, Jessica Lynn Suchon, Collin Callahan, and Cheyenne Nimes  


Now Available! Volume 15, no. 2 - Fall/Winter 2018-19

Featuring new work from: Tom Howard, Matthew Gavin Frank, Teresa Dzieglewicz, Leila Chatti, Cortney Lamar Charleston, Whitney Collins, TaraShea Nesbit, and more! Plus: 2018 Literary Award Winners Ashley Farmer, Zachary Hester, and Pascha Sotolongo!

cover, volume 15 number 2


An Interview with Ayelet Tsabari

Ayelet TsabariIsraeli-Canadian-Yemeni author Ayelet Tsabari (The Art of Leaving, 2019; The Best Place on Earth, 2013) talks with Brett Ashley Kaplan, Director of the Initiative in Holocaust, Genocide, Memory Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, about her life and work


Call for Submissions

Ninth Letter is accepting submissions of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for a special online edition to be published at ninthletter.com in Winter 2019.  Submissions will be open from February 10 to April 8, 2019.

The theme of this issue is Origins. We all come from home, and our associations with those spaces range from the warm and secure to the distant or fearful. Then, as we grow, leave or stay, and move into the world around us, we see our homes from new or distant vantages. Localities grow and evolve, or wilt in a changing global economy. When our cities and homesteads don’t look the way we remember them, have we left those people and places behind, or were we bypassed in their rush into the future? How do our origins transmogrify our explorations of the world? How does both a sense of belonging and detachment – to people, places, things, and the past – inform the decisions we make in our local but also our highly connected lives?

For more info, check out our web edition guidelines.

Featured Writer: Kate Angus

  © Ninth Letter, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.