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Awards

Past awards given by AGNI

These $300 prizes for fiction, poetry, and translation were given from 1999 to 2001 to honor writers for important work published in AGNI the previous year. From 2000 to 2002, we also awarded a $300 prize for literary editing outside of AGNI, and in 2000, with the help of a now-depleted grant from the Harvard University Ukrainian Research Institute, we added an annual $1,000 Solomea Pavlychko Prize for Literary Criticism, in memory of one of our contributing editors, who died tragically on New Year’s Eve, 1999.

Award winners

The John Cheever Award for Short Fiction

  • 2001: Julia Thacker for “The Funeral of the Man Who Wasn’t Dead Yet,” AGNI 51
  • 2000: John R. Keene for “An Outtake from the Ideological Origins of the American Revolution,” AGNI 50
(Honorable mention to Perrin Ireland for “Night Shift,” AGNI 49)
  • 1999: Pamela Painter for “Sympathy,” AGNI 47 
(Honorable mention to Chuck Bock for “The Next Big Thing,” AGNI 47)

The Anne Sexton Poetry Award

  • 2001: John Peck for “A Metal Denser Than, and Liquid,” AGNI 51
  • 2000: Philip Levine for “Keats In California,” AGNI 49
(Honorable mention to Patricia Spears Jones for “Sapphire,” AGNI 49)
  • 1999: Peter Viereck for “Small Fry,” AGNI 47
 (Honorable mention to Larissa Szporluk for “Harness,” AGNI 47)

The William Arrowsmith Translation Award

  • 2001: Louis Bourne for his translations of five poems by Rafael Alberti, AGNI 52
(Honorable mention to Elizabeth Oehlkers Wright for her translations of eleven German poems from the 2000 Jahrbuch Der Lyrik, AGNI 53)
  • 2000: Byron Lindsey for his translation of Victor Pelevin’s “Three Greek Versions,” AGNI 48
  • 1999: David Ferry for Virgil’s “First Eclogue,” AGNI 48
(Honorable mention to J. Kates and Bohdan Boychuk for “In Memory of Paul Celan” by Moishei Fishbein, AGNI 48)

The Ed Hogan Award for Literary Editing (established in 2000)

  • 2001: George Hitchcock for his work at Kayak
  • 2000: Alexander Taylor and Judith Doyle for their work at Curbstone Press

The Philip Guston Prize (for a combined work of writing and photography)

  • 1999: Eric McHenry, writer, and Gary Logan, artist, for “Witness, Building, Living Room, and Collision” (Honorable mention to David Ryan, writer, and Susan Breen, artist, for “The Women”)

The Solomea Pavlychko Award for Literary Criticism (est. 2000)

  • 2002: James Wood
  • 2001: John Leonard
  • 2000: Susan Sontag

Awards/Honors received by AGNI

The 2001 PEN/Nora Magid Award for Magazine Editing (awarded to then-Editor Askold Melnyczuk)

This biennial award, which “honors a magazine editor whose high literary standards and tastes have, throughout his or her career, contributed significantly to the excellence of the publication he or she edits,” was conferred with a $2,500 prize in New York City before a standing-room-only crowd of some 1,000 people.

Text of the award:

Thirty years ago, as a high-school student, Askold Melnyczuk founded an underground newspaper that he reproduced on a ditto machine in the attic of his family’s house. During his time as an undergraduate at Antioch College, this paper gradually morphed into a literary journal, now set by hand in a printing class and printed on a college press. In the twenty-some years since then, the journal that Melnyczuk named AGNI after 'the Vedic god of fire and guardian of humankind' has become a beacon of international literary culture, shining into even the darkest corners of its hometown of Boston, Massachusetts. Among readers around the world, AGNI is known for publishing important new writers early in their careers, many of them translated into English for the first time. In Boston, AGNI is known also for the reading series that brings writers famous and not so famous to the city, and for the Burke High School Writing Center that Melnyczuk founded and continues to support. AGNI has become one of America’s, and the world’s, most significant literary journals, and it is fitting that it and Askold Melnyczuk should be honored this year with the PEN/Nora Magid Award for Magazine Editing.

Reprints and Mentions in Prize Anthologies:

The Pushcart Prize anthologies: Best of the Small Presses

  • 2017: “Tolstoy and God” by Brian Morton, from AGNI 84, and “The Plate-Spinner” by Steve Stern, from AGNI 83
  • 2015: “Book of Forget” by Rebecca Hazelton, from AGNI 75
  • 2014: “Cadiz, Missouri” by Robert Long Foreman, from AGNI 75
  • 2013: “Azeroth” by Jen Percy, from AGNI 74
  • 2011: “things we’ll need for the coming difficulties” by Valerie Vogrin, from AGNI 69, and “Barter” by Ravi Shankar, from AGNI 70
  • 2009: “Bendithion” (essay) by Harrison Solow, from AGNI 66
  • 2008: “Blessing the New Moon” (essay) by A. P. Miller and “Confession for Raymond Good Bird” (story) by Melanie Rae Thon, from AGNI 63
  • 2006: “Glaciology” (essay) by Lia Purpura and “After Herodotus” (poem) by Tom Sleigh, from AGNI 60
  • 2003: “Bi Bi Hua” (essay) by M. Elaine Mar, from AGNI 55
  • 2002: “The Lives of Strangers” (story) by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, from AGNI 53
  • 1988: “Menses” (poem) by Marie Howe, from AGNI 24/25

The Best American Short Stories

  • 2016 (Other Distinguished Stories): “Desire and Other Isms” by Heather Abel, from AGNI 82
  • 2015 (Other Distinguished Stories): “Romaine Remains” by Megan Mayhew Bergman, from AGNI 79
  • 2014: “Medium Tough” by Craig Davidson, from AGNI 77
  • 2013 (Other Distinguished Stories): “Tics” by Wendy Rawlings, from AGNI 76
  • 2013 (Other Distinguished Stories): “Stone” by Edith Pearlman, from AGNI 75
  • 2012 (Other Distinguished Stories): “Implanted Devices” by Gabriel Brownstein, from AGNI 74
  • 2011: “A Bridge Under Water” by Tom Bissell, from AGNI 71
  • 2011 (Other Distinguished Stories): “The Boys’ School, or The News from Spain” by Joan Wickersham, from AGNI 72
  • 2011 (Other Distinguished Stories): “Wolf” by Marjorie Sandor, from AGNI 71
  • 2010 (Other Distinguished Stories): “All the Black Hearted Villians” by Tamas Dobozy, from AGNI 70
  • 2010 (Other Distinguished Stories): “The Indifferent Beak” by Giles Harvey, from AGNI 70
  • 2010 (Other Distinguished Stories): “Caiman” by Bret Anthony Johnston, from AGNI 69
  • 2009: “The Farms” by Eleanor Henderson, from AGNI 68
  • 2007 (Other Distinguished Stories): “Monsieur le Genius” by Paul Eggers, from AGNI 63
  • 2006 (Other Distinguished Stories): “Poster Child” by Nicholas Montemarano, from AGNI 62, and “On Junius Bridge” by Edith Pearlman, from AGNI 61
  • 2005 (Other Notable): “My Father, the Perfect Man” by Vivek Narayanan, from AGNI 59
  • 2002: “The Sugar-Tit” by Carolyn Cooke, from AGNI 53
  • (Honorable Mention for Chitra Divakaruni’s “The Lives and Strangers” and Lynne Sharon Schwartz’s “Sightings of Loretta,” both from AGNI 53)
  • 1999: “Interpreter of Maladies” by Jhumpa Lahiri (winner of the 2000 Pulitzer Prize and The New Yorker Prize for Best Debut Book of Fiction), from AGNI 47
  • 1990: “The Wizard” by C. S. Godshalk, from AGNI 28
  • 1988: “All Friends, No Strangers” by Lucy Honig, from AGNI 24/25

The Best American Poetry

  • 2017: “Elegy with a Gold Cradle” by Cyrus Cassells, from AGNI 83
  • 2014: “My Father’s Soul Departing” by David Wojahn, from AGNI 76
  • 2013: “Book of Forget” by Rebecca Hazelton, from AGNI 75
  • 2011: “To My Lover, Concerning the Yird-Swine” by Julianna Baggott, from AGNI 72
  • 2011: “Drunk at a Party” by Lee Upton, from AGNI 69
  • 2011: “A Hundred Bones” by C. K. Williams, from AGNI 72
  • 2009: “A Sea-Change” by Derek Walcott, from AGNI 67
  • 2009: “At the Pool” by Tom Sleigh, from AGNI 65
  • 2008: “from Hallelujah Blackout” by Alex Lemon, from AGNI 65
  • 2002: “Self-Portrait with Critic,” by Ira Sadoff, from AGNI 53
  • 2001: “T.A.P.O.A.F.O.M.” by Thomas Sayers Ellis, from AGNI 52
  • “The Singers Change, the Music Goes On” by Linda Gregg, from AGNI 52
  • 2000: “A Metal Denser Than, and Liquid” by John Peck, from AGNI 51

The Best American Essays

  • 2014 (other notable essays): “On Practice, School Buses, Hummingbirds, Rumi, and Being Led” by Carol Ann Davis, from AGNI 79
  • 2014 (other notable essays): “Castle Hill” by K. E. Duffin, from AGNI 80
  • 2013 (other notable essays): “On Pointing” by William Eaton Warner, from AGNI 75
  • 2013 (other notable essays): “Go Tell Your Father” by Martha Cooley, from AGNI 76
  • 2013 (other notable essays): “It Wants to Find You” by Sven Birkerts, from AGNI 76
  • 2012: “A Beauty” by Robert Boyers, from AGNI 74
  • 2011 (other notable essays): “The Knife Handler” by Phyllis Barber, from AGNI 71
  • 2010 (other notable essays): “Walking: An Essay on Writing” by Peter LaSalle, from AGNI 70
  • 2010 (other notable essays): “When History Gets Personal” by Mimi Schwartz, from AGNI 70
  • 2008 (other notable essays): “Shadowboxing: Daytripping Chatila” by Askold Melnyczuk, from AGNI 66
  • 2008 (other notable essays): “The Thinker in the Garden” by Sven Birkerts, from AGNI 65
  • 2008 (other notable essays): “Letter from a Japanese Crematorium” by Marie Mutsuki Mockett, from AGNI 65
  • 2008 (other notable essays): “The Lustres” by Lia Purpura, from AGNI 65
  • 2007 (other notable essays): “Florence of Paterson” by Garret Keizer, from AGNI 64
  • 2007 (other notable essays): “Spectacular Mistakes” by Wendy Rawlings, from AGNI 64
  • 2007 (other notable essays): “Of Emptiness, Nothingness, and Asymptotic Freedom” by Christopher Livaccari, from AGNI 63
  • 2007 (other notable essays): “Blessing the New Moon” by A. P. Miller, from AGNI 63
  • 2007 (other notable essays): “A Study in Sequins” by Ben Miller, from AGNI 63
  • 2006 (other notable essays): “Romancing the Dankerts” by Ben Miller, from AGNI 61
  • 2005 (other notable essays): “Glaciology” by Lia Purpura, from AGNI 60
  • 2005 (other notable essays): “Domains” by Donald Hall, from AGNI 59
  • 2004 (other notable essays): “Message from Room 101” by George Scialabba, from AGNI 57

The Best American Nonrequired Reading

  • 2011: “Homing” by Henrietta Rose-Innes, from The AGNI Portfolio of African Fiction (AGNI 72)
  • 2011: “The Boys’ School, or The News from Spain” by Joan Wickersham (AGNI 72)
  • 2010 (“Notable Nonrequired Reading”): “things we’ll need for the coming difficulties” by Valerie Vogrin, from AGNI 69
  • 2007: “Humpies” by Mattox Roesch (his first published story), from AGNI Online
  • 2007 (“Notable Nonrequired Reading”): “What Gets Buried” (essay) by Betsy Johnson-Miller, from AGNI Online
  • 2004 (“Notable Nonrequired Reading”): “A Cup of Coffee in the Café on Ostozhenka” (fiction) by Yevgeny Shklovsky, translated by John Mason and Byron Lindsey, from AGNI 58

The Best American Travel Writing

  • 2011 (“Notable Travel Writing”): “The Knife Handler” by Phyllis Barber, from AGNI 71
  • 2010: “Walking: An Essay on Writing” by Peter LaSalle, from AGNI 70
  • 2005 (“Notable Travel Writing”): “Truth in Oxiana” by Tom Bissell, from AGNI 60
  • 2004 (“Notable Travel Writing”): “Metaphysical Messages: With J. L. B. in Buenos Aires” by Peter LaSalle, from AGNI 58

The Best Creative Nonfiction

  • 2009: “Letter from a Japanese Crematorium” by Marie Mutsuki Mockett, from AGNI 65

The Best New Poets

  • 2017: “From the Lost Letters to Matias Perez, Aeronaut” by Andres Rojas, from AGNI 85
  • 2010: “The Moon Speaks of Polar Bears” by Hailey Leithauser, from AGNI Online
  • 2008: “Traveling by Train” by Malachi Black, from AGNI Online
  • 2006: “Dry Lake, Nevada, 1983” by Autumn Eve Watts, from AGNI Online
  • 2005: “The Fly” by Paula Bohince, from AGNI 59

The Best of the Web

  • 2010: “Instructional Ghazal” by David Welch, from AGNI Online
  • 2009: “The World As You Left It” by Helen Wickes, from AGNI Online

The Pushcart Book of Short Stories: The Best Short Stories from a Quarter-Century of The Pushcart Prize

  • “My Best Soldier” by Ha Jin, from AGNI 33

The O. Henry Prize Stories

  • 2016: “A Simple Composition” by Shruti Swamy, from AGNI 81
  • 2006 (Recommended Stories): “Crackers” by Charles Haverty, from AGNI 60
  • 2002 (Short-listed): "The Sugar Tit" by Carolyn Cooke, from AGNI 53
  • 2002: “The Lives of Strangers” (story) by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, from AGNI 53
  • 1999: "Interpreter of Maladies" by Jhumpa Lahiri, from AGNI 47

New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best

  • 2010: “Caiman” by Bret Anthony Johnston, from AGNI 69

Other awards

Top Ten Online Stories (The storySouth Million Writers Award)

  • 2008: “The Whale Hunter” by Steinur Bell
  • 2007: “Do Not Hate Them Very Much” by Matthew M. Quick
  • 2006: “A Letter from Home” by E. C. Osondu
  • 2005: “Light at the End of the Tunnel” by John J. Clayton
  • 2004: “Bone on Bone” by Jai Clare

The Caine Prize for African Writing

  • 2007 (finalist): “Jimmy Carter's Eyes” by E. C. Osondu

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