Dispatches | November 10, 2009

Check out this cool little article over at The Millions that talks about the newest issue of the Best American Short Story Series. I’ve read this series, along with the Best American Nonrequired Reading and Best American Comics lines, for the past few years, and I always look forward to its release. This post also contains a link to a spreadsheet that details every story the series has published, including the number of stories each author has had published in the line’s thirty year run. Alice Munro tops the list with 18 stories, the next closest is Joyce Carol Oates and John Updike who both have 9. In total, authors who have been included in the anthology more than once make up 52% of the collections sizable history, which means that first time selections make up about 48%. I don’t know about you, but that seems like a great split to me. I think this is due, at least in part, to the distinguished guest editors that put the book together each year and make the final decisions on who is included. Each year, when I read the book, I sincerely believe that they are looking for the best stories, not recognizable names. I’ve also think they’ve done a great job again this year.

This article also includes a link to a breakdown of The New Yorker‘s fiction statistics. The magazine has long had the reputation for publishing stories by only a select few authors (Alice Munro also tops their list, with 12 stories), but, even though their stats are not as good as Best American, they’re better than I thought. Take a look at the story Here.

Having said all this, I should point out that The Missouri Review also has a strong reputation of publishing developing authors who haven’t published anything previously. We’re still wrapped up in your contest entries, including many from unknown or unpublished authors, and I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them ended up a winner.