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 up to six works they have featured.[2] Anthologies of the selected works have been published annually since 1976. It is supported and staffed by volunteers.



The founding editors were 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]

Many guest editors have served this collection over the years. They are listed in each edition that they edited. Over 200 contributing editors make nominations for each edition. They are listed on the masthead.



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

Among the writers who received early recognition in Pushcart Prize anthologies were: Kathy Acker, Steven Barthelme, Rick Bass, Charles Baxter, Bruce Boston, Anne Carson, Raymond Carver, Joshua Clover, Junot Diaz, Andre Dubus, William H. Gass, Suzanne Kamata, 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, Kaveh Akbar and Wells Tower.[7]



The anthology has earned national recognition. Kirkus Reviews praised it as "[m]ust reading for anyone interested in the present and future of America's arts and letters".[8][better source needed] 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]


  1. ^ "Welcome to Pushcart Press: Publishers of The Pushcart Prize".
  2. ^ Nomination Process for the Pushcart Prize.
  3. ^ "Welcome to Pushcart Press: Publishers of The Pushcart Prize". Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  4. ^ Lask, Thomas (January 7, 1979). "The Making of a Big Book on Little Magazines". Lawrence Journal-World. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
  5. ^ "UI PROFESSOR HONORED WITH PUSHCART PRIZE". The Spokesman Review. Archived from the original on November 5, 2012. Retrieved March 4, 2011.
  6. ^ "Pushcart 2012: Miha Mazzini, "That Winter" from Ecotone 9, Spring 2010". A Just Reconpense. 22 January 2012. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
  7. ^ Mari, Francesca (January 7, 2011). "Anthology Review: 'The Pushcart Prize XXXIII'". San Francisco Chronicle.
  8. ^ "Welcome to Pushcart Press: Publishers of The Pushcart Prize". Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  9. ^ "National Book Critics Circle: sandrof". Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  10. ^ "Writers for Writers Award, Editor's Award | Poets and Writers". 12 February 2008. Retrieved August 26, 2016.