The 2017 VIDA Count

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The 2017 VIDA Count

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“This isn’t who we are.” “It seems like no one is innocent these days.”

These kinds of statements tend to serve, however unwittingly, as blanket denials and erasures of America’s and the Anglophone world’s treatment of women, gender minorities, people of color, and those who are oppressed. Drumpf’s tent cities harken back to the separation of African-American children from their parents at the Wall Street slave market and even further to Residential Schools that stole indigenous children from their parents.

The grand narrative of America would not exist, but for the way we’ve turned our backs on the truths behind white men’s bigotry, sexual misconduct, and abuses of power. The glossing over, and inevitable pardoning, of such atrocities has enabled the great “heroes” of literature, from Thomas Jefferson to Walt Whitman to Salinger and Ezra Pound, right up to contemporary heroes like David Foster Wallace and dabbling poet James Franco–all allegedly bigots or abusers–to continue on, unscathed and beloved in the literary world.

In this current political climate, amid the #MeToo era, we must ask if abuse and bigotry are anything but the norm in the world of American arts and letters.

It takes no effort at all to locate lists of the degradations and atrocities the current regime has committed since being sworn in more than a year ago (see Amy Siskind’s “The Weekly List” for starters). Bias has never been so blatantly pronounced until now–at least, for those mostly untouched by its enactment.

But what stands out upon closer consideration with these kinds of lists is the repeated notion that there is a “new normal” or that the goal posts for “normalcy” have been dramatically shifted.

An acceptable version of “normal” that fits everyone has never existed, especially not in the world of literature and arts, unless you believe the lack of parity in publishing reflects the value of voices both heard and disregarded.

While racists and homophobes are feeling emboldened to be more public about their biases, the fact remains that they did not spring fully-formed from Drumpf’s thigh two years ago. They’ve been ever present, just as hate and biases have always been guiding forces, maintaining what we refer to as the “status quo.”  The “new normal” is not new at all but rather an illumination of the murky history that has been the core of American exceptionalism both in publishing and society at large.

What is “normal” about the Nobel Prize in Literature being cancelled for this first time since World War II because the Swedish Academy has been unable to resolve sexual harassment and abuse allegations?

What is “normal” about an alleged sexual predator remaining as fiction editor of a major literary journal?

We’re told that we’re going to lose all of our male “geniuses,” and yet, magazines are still filled by the words of men.

Despite this, we believe VIDA really is making a difference. The numbers may not radically change year to year, they may reach parity for some publications one year and fall back the next, but we can see the impact of our work beyond VIDA’s numbers. Other outlets are finally embracing and taking up the kind of work that we’ve been doing since 2009. More groups are coming together to count women in a variety of industries such as audio production, at the Oscars and Tonys, in tech, in science, and more. Nearly a decade ago, VIDA finally said, “We’ll prove it” when inequities were doubted. The means for spreading awareness has proven contagious.

The total number of writers who completed the VIDA Count survey is up by almost 15 percentage points since 2016. We hope this upward trend will continue, to ensure our data is as accurate as possible.

We hope this means that writers are saying they will no longer accept complicity in the exclusion of already marginalized writers by those with greater power and positionality, that they are shutting down accusations of “witch hunts,” “reverse racism,” and the idea that those that are already the most secure must be prioritized so that their reputations will not be ruined. If need be, they will cut ties with those loyalists willing to accept the abuse of others in hopes of a handout from those who run a country, a literary journal, or who merely wield enough cultural power to shut down the careers of the women and gender minorities they abused.

Since the conception of the VIDA Count, one of the most common excuses leveled at our numbers has been that fewer women submit work, or, more brazenly, that women submit less marketable work. Now, it’s becoming clear that women and nonbinary people may “drop out” rather than attempt to fight a losing battle for justice, or to have to be in the company of men who abused them, or know their gatekeepers are more likely to side with their abuser in order to themselves benefit from these unbalanced power dynamics.

This is a ground-up problem, as a student who’s targeted with gender-based harassment or abuse can have their career ended before it can begin by predatory teachers, or have fewer opportunities to get positive letters of recommendations, fewer opportunities to be mentored because of unchecked cultures of violence that allow sexual predation and degradation to thrive, with convoluted, traumatizing, humiliating reporting policies as best-case scenarios. A student doesn’t graduate, doesn’t get into an MFA program, fellowship/residency, on and on.

Many with relative power will claim censorship because they feel that only marginalized people are making it in the literary world–which is not true, as this year’s VIDA Count can help illuminate.

Advocating for gender parity and a firm stance against bigots and abusers isn’t censorship. It isn’t book burning. It is ensuring the creation of countless books by women and nonbinary people, books that would never stand a chance in climates of violence that deny access, audience, and the freedom and safety to create in the ways white cis men have enjoyed since the beginnings of American letters.

When VIDA created #saferLIT last winter, it was not with the intent to punish or banish men, but to protect women and nonbinary writers in our community from the damaging behavior of sexual harassers and predators. When harmful men are given space to be heard and celebrated, they tend to use that cultural capital to meet, groom, and harm more people. When primarily white male voices are heard, it creates a dangerous lens through which the world is viewed.

We also hope that we can all recognize there is actual censorship going on. Elizabeth LaPensée was accused of inciting terrorism because she made a video game about the pain and disruption to life caused by pipelines. Randa Jarrar tweeted critically of Barbara Bush and met with calls for her termination as a tenured professor at CSU Fresno. Dareen Tatour was arrested in 2015 in Israel for posting a poem on social media and was convicted this year. To say nothing of the harassment and death threats that many women and nonbinary writers have grown so accustomed to that we no longer mention them, or those of us who can’t speak out because the justice system is used against us, rather than for our protection.

Oppression is never simply the result of actions by one powerful man. Even if many of us have felt the past few years have been exemplified by one powerful man acting badly every day–oppression occurs through complicity. Oppression occurs through whataboutism. Oppression occurs when those at the margins of society, those fighting the hardest are told time and time again whether you know they are listening or not that they don’t matter. That we don’t matter.

And VIDAs, we can’t tell you what the path out of this is because there is no single path. Letters to your representatives, marches, demonstrations, call outs, letters to editors, writing those who would give platform to voices of oppression, all-women or all-trans issues, funding and creating spaces for women and minority writers, adding women to the syllabus, vowing to read more trans authors, educating oneself about transformative and restorative justice, baking a casserole for your marginalized friends.

There is no one path to freedom, we need everyone–except fascists and abusers.

Kate Manne describes misogyny, as the enforcement of sexism, “the system that operates within a patriarchal social order to police and enforce women’s subordination and to uphold male dominance,” which also rewards women, especially white women, who are complicit and even enforce male domination.

So, while the number of women and nonbinary people published in these top-tier publications may not yet be on our side, the number of us no longer willing to accept the normalcy of these frankly discriminating publishing practices is on our side.

And VIDAs, if need be, I trust that together we can burn this whole establishment to the ground and build something just and beautiful in its place.

Amy King and Sarah Clark, VIDA Board of Directors

Amy King’s The Missing Museum is a winner of the 2015 Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize. I Want to Make You Safe (Litmus Press) was one of Boston Globe’s Best Poetry Books of 2011. King joins the ranks of Ann Patchett, Eleanor Roosevelt & Rachel Carson as the 2015 winner of the WNBA Award (Women’s National Book Association). She serves on the executive board of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts and is currently co-editing the anthology Big Energy Poets of the Anthropocene: When Ecopoets Think Climate Change. She is also co-editing the Bettering American Poetry series and is a Professor of Creative Writing at SUNY Nassau Community College.

Sarah Clark is a neuroqueer two-spirit Nanticoke editor, writer, and cultural consultant. They are VIDA Review’s Assistant Editor, the Features & Reviews Editor and Assistant Poetry Editor for Anomaly, and a co-editor of the Bettering American Poetry series. Sarah has worked with a number of literary and arts publications and organizations, including Sundress Press, Apogee,, The Paris Review, and Blackbird. She curated Anomaly’s folio on Sound Art; a folio of global indigenous art and literature “First Peoples, Plural;” and a folio of writing by QTPOC writers on mental health, “GLITTERBRAIN.” Their body is a haunted house and she cannot pass a Turing test.

For our main VIDA Count, we’ve looked at 15 major print publications over the course of 2017, analyzing how many women and gender minorities are represented. For the purposes of the VIDA Count, we do not differentiate between cis men and binary trans men, so as not to invalidate binary trans men’s identities, and with the understanding that many men experience oppression across various axes that impact their experiences of and access to male privilege.

Online content supplementing print publications has become increasingly ubiquitous since we began the VIDA Count in 2009. We do not incorporate online content in our data. It is too easy to confine women, gender minorities, and other marginalized writers to cost-effective web platforms, which frequently pay differently (or don’t pay at all), compared to their print counterparts. For these reasons, as well as for consistency in the VIDA Count from year to year, we will only be focusing on the women and nonbinary writers afforded space in print.

Of the 15 publications in our main VIDA Count, only 2 published 50% or more women writers: Granta (53.5%) and Poetry (50%).

This matches the number of publications from 2016 that published 50% or more women writers, with Granta making the grade for a second year (50% in 2016), now joined by Poetry, while last year’s parity at Tin House (50.6% in 2016) has fallen just below our benchmark.

Meanwhile, 5 of these major outlets had women representing between 40% and 49.9% of their total publication: Harper’s (42.1%), The New York Times Book Review (45.9%), The New Republic (42.2%), The Paris Review (42.7%), and Tin House (49.7%).

Unfortunately, the undeniable majority, 8 out of 15 publications, failed to publish enough women writers to make up even 40% of their publication’s run in 2017: Boston Review (37.8%), London Review of Books (26.9%), The New Yorker (39.7%), The Atlantic (36.5%), The Nation (36.5%), The Threepenny Review (32.7%), and The Times Literary Supplement (35.9%).

The New York Review of Books had the most pronounced gender disparity of 2017’s VIDA Count, with only 23.3% of published writers who are women. Previously, the London Review of Books had exhibited the worst gender disparity, at 21.9% in 2016, with comparable numbers in prior years (23% in 2015, 22% in 2014, 21% in 2013). In 2016, The New York Review of Books continued their pattern of apathy toward gender parity, with women as 24.7% of their contributors.  They’ve historically exhibited lows of 21% (2015), 26% (2014), and 21% (2013).

This is a good reminder that achieving gender parity is not a one-time goal.

The main VIDA Count publication with the most improvement in their percentage of published women writers is The Paris Review, which published 35% women in 2016 compared to their 2017 figure of 42.7%. This marks a continued upward trend for this literary staple, although 2017 was also marked by the resignation of their Editor-in-Chief, due to allegations of sexual misconduct.

Meanwhile, of the main VIDA Count titles we examined, the magazine whose ratio of women writers has fallen the farthest is The Boston Review, dropping from their 2016 percentage of 47% to a disappointing 37.8%. The Boston Review’s fiction editor has also recently been accused of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct by multiple writers.

In 2016, 8 out of 15 publications published at least 1 piece of writing by a nonbinary person. This year, our initial VIDA Count indicated that 10 out of 15 of the main VIDA Count publications included at least one piece by nonbinary individuals: Granta (1 piece, 1% overall), Harper’s (2 pieces, 0.7% overall), The New York Times Book Review (3 pieces, 0.2% overall), The New Yorker (3 pieces, 0.3% overall), The New York Review of Books (1 piece, 0.1% overall), Poetry Magazine (1 piece, 0.2% overall), The Nation (2 pieces, 0.3% overall), The New Republic (3 pieces, 1.4% overall), Threepenny Review (1 piece, 1% overall), The Times Literary Supplement (4 pieces, 0.1% overall), and Tin House (1 piece, 0.5% overall).

This uptick hopefully indicates a positive upward trend of the inclusion of nonbinary people in mainstream publishing.

The Times Literary Supplement published the greatest number of pieces written by nonbinary writers, though this only accounted for 0.1% of the work they published in 2017, 4 pieces out of 3,748. Nonbinary writers have the greatest proportion of representation at The New Republic at 1.4%.

The London Review of Books, New York Times Book Review, and The New Republic all have one writer whose gender could not be determined, while the Times Literary Supplement had 12 pieces published by people of genders we could not confirm (0.3% overall), and Tin House had 2 pieces by people whose genders we could not confirm (1.1% overall).

According to our initial VIDA Count, no work by nonbinary writers appeared to have been published at Boston Review, London Review of Books, The Atlantic, or the Paris Review.

However, when we individually surveyed women and nonbinary contributors from these publications, a greater number of writers did indicate that they self-identify as genders under the trans and nonbinary umbrellas, across all publications. For further details about this, please read on to our 2017 Intersectional Survey.

It is important to note that writers from Boston Review, London Review of Books, The Atlantic, and The Paris Review did, in fact, respond to our 2017 Intersectional Survey, self-identifying as not being cisgender. These results include all binary trans women, as we do not differentiate between cis and trans women for the purposes of the VIDA Count. These numbers may also indicate that a percentage of these writers are trans but do not identify as either trans women or as under the nonbinary umbrella, that a percentage of writers aren’t cisgender but prefer not to disclose further details, may be gender-questioning, may not be publicly disclosing their gender, may be resistant to Western or colonial gender concepts, and perhaps in some cases, there may have been a misunderstanding as to what the word “cisgender” means.

[Editors’ note: Our Highlights & Observations, published on June 18, 2018, erroneously stated that “In The New York Review of Books successfully strove toward gender parity, with women as 46.9% of their contributors.” It was the New York Times Book Review that published 46.9% women contributors in 2016. The correct figure for The New York Review of Books is 24.7% women in 2016. There was no decline in NYRB‘s figures for this year, as men continued to be over-represented by about a 3-1 ratio, as in prior years.]

Once again, the figures for gender parity in our Larger Literary Landscape VIDA Count are far more equitable than those in our main VIDA Count. We are heartened by the work small and independent presses are doing to combat gender-based discrimination in publishing.

Of the twenty-four publications in our 2017 Larger Literary Landscape (LLL) VIDA Count, an impressive 15 of them published as many or more bylines by women writers as men: A Public Space (57.4%), Agni (55.2%), Conjunctions (58.2%), Copper Nickel (51.9%), Fence (58.8%), jubilat (52.9%), Kenyon Review (50.8%), Missouri Review (61.1%), New American Writing (50.5%), New England Review (54.6%), Ninth Letter (61.3%), Prairie Schooner (59.7%), The Cincinnati Review (56.5%), The Normal School (57.4%), and the Virginia Quarterly Review (53.8%).

In 2017, 6 publications are closing in on gender parity, with bylines by women writers representing 40 to 49% of the pie: Callalloo (48.7%), Colorado Review (48.1%), Gettysburg Review (40.9%), Pleiades (47.8%), Southern Review (45.1%), and Southwest Review (39%).

Two publications included fewer than 39% women writers, overall: Harvard Review (38.1%) and n+1 (39%).

The Believer performed with the most disappointing figures, publishing a scant 33% women, and no nonbinary individuals. No books authored by women or nonbinary writers were reviewed. 71% of writers given the mic to conduct an interview were men, and 57% of those who were interviewed were also men. It should be noted that in 2015, every single author of a book reviewed, as well as every single reviewer at The Believer were men, as well.

The publications with the greatest improvement in representation of women writers were The Believer (a 33% increase, though only 33% of bylines this year are by women), Copper Nickel (19% increase), and Conjunctions (20% increase). We hope these improved figures are indications of a commitment toward gender parity.

Meanwhile, Harvard Review, jubilat, The Normal School, and Gettysburg Review had the largest drop in the representation of women writers. Harvard Review’s contributors were 38% women (21% decrease), a commendable 52.9% of jubilat’s writers were women (despite an 11% decrease), and The Normal School and Gettysburg Review both saw a 10% decrease in work from women writers, though The Normal School published a fantastic 57.4% women writers, while Gettysburg Review published a fair number of women writers, at 40.9% of their year’s publication.

12 of the 24 publications in our Larger Literary Landscape VIDA Count witnessed a decrease in women writers.

In 2016, only 7 publications in our Larger Literary Landscape VIDA Count published any nonbinary writers. This number has increased to 10 in 2017: Colorado Review (1 piece, 0.6% overall), Ninth Letter (1 piece, 1.1% overall), Pleiades (1 piece, 0.3%), and Prairie Schooner (1 piece, 0.5%). The genders of one writer at jubliat and one writer at n+1 could not be confirmed.

The following publications did not seem to publish any nonbinary people in 2017, according to our initial LLL VIDA Count results: A Public Space, Agni, Callalloo, Conjunctions, Copper Nickel, Fence, Gettysburg Review, Harvard Review, jubilat, Kenyon Review, Missouri Review, New American Writing, New England Review, Southern Review, Southwest Review, The Cincinnati Review, and The Normal School.

VIDA Count Team

Sara Iacovelli (Count Director)
Jennifer Rabedeau (Assistant Count Director)
Christina Djossa (Count Coordinator)
Mariah Stovall (Count Coordinator)
Kelly Lynn Thomas (Count Coordinator)
Julia Calagiovanni (Count Co-Coordinator)
Beth Malchus-Stafa (Count Co-Coordinator)
Shelby Nathanson (Count Co-Coordinator)
Cheryl Harris Curtis
Emmalie Dropkin
Jamie Klingensmith
Heather Molzon
Rebecca Orleans
Katharine Perko
Tess Wilson

Intersectional Survey VIDA Count Team

Christina Mun-Lutz (Survey Team Lead)
Susanna Donato
Erin Dorney
Emily Nason
Rebecca Raskin

Data Visualization

E.G. Cosh

The 2017 VIDA Intersectional Survey

Our intersectional survey is in its third year. We surveyed writers from our 15 main VIDA Count publications, as well as the 25 we analyze for our Larger Literary Landscape VIDA Count, totalling 40 publications in all.

The following information was gathered from a follow-up survey, sent via email to writers identified by our VIDA Count team as trans women, cis women, or nonbinary people (see: the Main VIDA Count), to gather more information about who is and who is not being published according to other intersections of identity, including race, indigeneity, sexuality, trans identity, age, and education.

This data does not include figures for cis or binary trans men, regardless of other intersecting identities, and does not include data for online outlets or blogs belonging to these print publications. Writers could choose multiple responses when self-reporting their race, sexuality, and gender.

In 2017, our survey of women and nonbinary writers yielded response rates that varied by publication from 16% to 70%. The most encouraging response rate was from The Believer (70%). We hope that as both gender disparity, as well as disparity across other marginalized groups in publishing continues to receive more attention, that more writers will choose to participate in our annual survey. A problem cannot be addressed until that problem can be named so that the extent of the injustices uncovered can be revealed.

We’d like to thank all of the writers who took the time to participate in this year’s survey.

From the thirty-nine publications in the VIDA Count, 2,115 writers were invited to complete our Intersectional Survey, 1,573 writers opened the survey (74%), and 998 writers completed it (47%). The total number of writers who completed the survey is up by almost 15 percentage points since 2016. We hope this upward trend will continue, to ensure our data is as accurate as possible. For more information about our methodologies, please consult our section of frequently asked questions.

All magazines surveyed had fewer than 50% writers of color represented who are also women or nonbinary, as reported by respondents. Of writers who took the survey, A Public Space and Callaloo had the largest percentage of self-identified writers of color (40%), though both had low response rates to our survey.

Poetry Magazine published the largest number of writers of color (25), representing 37% of Poetry Magazine’s respondents.

Five magazines published between 25% and 35% writers of color: Granta (33%); Boston Review (33%); The Believer (29%); Copper Nickel (27%); and Virginia Quarterly Review (26%).

Only Virginia Quarterly Review and Colorado Review published writers who self-reported in their surveys as identifying as indigenous; according to these surveys, each published just one.

Seven magazines published more than 10% writers who identify as Black: Granta (10.5%); Tin House (11.4%); Poetry Magazine (12.3%); Harvard Review (13.3%); Boston Review (20%); Southwest Review (28.6%); and Callaloo (80%). The largest number of writers identifying as Black were published by The New York Times Book Review (13) though this represents only 5.4% of survey participants published by The New York Times Book Review.

Seven magazines published more than 10% writers who identified as Asian: Virginia Quarterly Review (13.6%); Granta (15.8%); Missouri Review (18.2%); Poetry Magazine (18.5%); n+1 (20%); Boston Review (20%); and A Public Space (20%). The largest number of writers identifying as Asian, according to our survey, were published by The New York Times Book Review (17) though this represents only 7.6% of survey participants published by The New York Times Book Review.

Four magazines published more than 5% writers who identified as Middle Eastern and/or North African: Granta (5.3%); London Review of Books (5.6%); The New York Review of Books (6.3%); and Conjunctions (8.3%). The largest number of writers identifying as Asian were published by The New York Times Book Review (7), though this represents only 3.1% of survey participants published by The New York Times Book Review.

For comparison, in 2016, The Nation had the largest percentage of self-identified women writers of color, at 25%, suggesting an overall increase in the representation of women writers who are also writers of color.

Of writers who took the Intersectional VIDA Count survey, Boston Review had the largest percentage of respondents self-identifying as disabled or as having one or more disabilities or impairments (50%), though because of low response rates, this represents only 3 writers. The largest number of writers self-reporting disability were published by the Times Literary Supplement (29), though this represents only 14% of this publication’s survey participants.

All magazines, except the Boston Review, had less than 50% of writers self-report disability or impairments.

Five magazines had between 25% and 50% of writers self-reporting disability or impairments: Gettysburg Review (35%); Granta (34%); Fence (33%); Ninth Letter (31%); and The Normal School (25%).

The Believer had the lowest percentage self-identifying as disabled or as having one or more disabilities or impairments (0%).

In 2016, our data showed that 8 of the publications in the main VIDA Count did not publish bylines by women or nonbinary writers who also identified as disabled or as a person with a disability. Granta was reported as having the highest percentage of survey respondents who identified as disabled or having a disability, at 56%. In 2017, the magazine reporting the highest percentage of women and nonbinary writers who are disabled or who have a disability was only 50% (Boston Review), a 6% decrease. However, only one magazine, The Believer, appeared to have zero self-identifying disabled women and nonbinary writers, indicating that, overall, there may be greater representation of disability in the publications we survey. These numbers could also point to an increase in the number of writers who feel comfortable identifying as disabled or as having a disability, still a matter of stigma in both the literary world, and in our larger society.

Using information self-reported by survey respondents, the greatest rates of self-identified bisexual writers were published by Fence (4.4%), n+1 (3.7%), Granta (3.2%) and The Believer (3.2%). The greatest rates of self-identified pansexual writers were published by Boston Review (1.9%), Fence (0.7%), New England Review (0.4%), and The New Republic (0.4%). Nine journals in the VIDA Count published at least one pansexual writer. The greatest rates of self-identified lesbian writers were published by The Paris Review (2%), The Believer (1.6%), and Gettysburg Review (1.1%).

The greatest rates of self-identified queer writers were published by Callaloo (4.4%), Boston Review (3.7%), and The Believer (3.2%).

The greatest rates of self-identified asexual writers were published by The Paris Review (1%), Missouri Review (0.9%), Colorado Review (0.7%), and Harvard Review (0.7%). Thirteen journals in the Intersectional VIDA Count Survey published at least one asexual writer.

The greatest rates of writers who identified with a sexuality that wasn’t listed in the survey were published by Conjunctions (0.7%), jubilat (0.6%), and Granta (0.5%).

Writers had the option to identify with more than one sexuality; for example, some writers may identify as queer and also as pansexual.

In 2016, as many as 67% of writers identified as bisexual according to our survey responses (Paris Review), with our responses for other common sexual identities capped at 11% for queer respondents (Boston Review), 7% for lesbian respondents (Boston Review), 4% for pansexual respondents (Boston Review), and a slim 1% for asexual respondents (The Times Literary Supplement).

This year’s Intersectional VIDA Count Survey responses suggest an upward trend in the representation of asexual and pansexual writers, despite what appears to be a decline in the representation of bisexual, queer, and lesbian writers who are women or nonbinary.

As with the 2017 Sexual Identity VIDA Count, writers surveyed had the option to identity as more than one non-dominant gender identity, if applicable. A writer might, for instance, identify as both a cis woman and butch, as a binary trans woman as well as femme, or as a nonbinary person as well as genderfluid.

The greatest rates of self-identified nonbinary writers were published by The Atlantic (9.1%), The New York Review of Books (7.7%), and The New Republic (7.4%). Ten journals in the Intersectional VIDA Count Survey published at least one nonbinary writer.

The greatest rates of self-identified transgender writers were published by Callaloo (20%), Paris Review (16.7%), and The Believer (16.7%). These numbers would also encompass women writers who happen to be trans. Thirteen journals out of the 40 in the Intersectional VIDA Count Survey published at least one transgender writer.

The greatest rates of self-identified genderqueer writers were published by Callaloo (20%), Tin House (16.2%), and Granta (10.5%). Sixteen journals out of 40 published at least one genderqueer writer.

The greatest rates of writers who identified with a gender that wasn’t listed in the survey were published by Callaloo (40%), n+1 (40%), and Boston Review (40%). Writers identified themselves as agender, androgynous, binary, butch, demigirl, femme, genderfluid, gender non-conforming, gender resistant, multigender, and more.

Thirty-five journals in the Intersectional VIDA Count Survey published at least one writer of a nonbinary or other non-dominant gender. Only A Public SpaceNew American WritingSouthwest Review, and Threepenny Review published no writers of non-dominant gender, as far as we could determine.

Overall, we have received a greater number of responses in 2017 for both our main VIDA Count and our Larger Literary Landscape Count of writers self-identifying as being under the trans and nonbinary umbrellas. We also recorded a marked increase in the array of self-reported genders of the writers counted.

We hope to see this trend continue in the future, and for those publications that seem to have gone an entire year without publishing trans writers to do better moving forward.

According to the results of our Intersectional VIDA Count Survey, the publications with in which writers ages 15 to 24 were published at the highest rate were The Atlantic (7%), Ninth Letter (6%), Pleiades (3%), and The Cincinnati Review (3%). Only six journals in the VIDA Count published at least one writer ages 15-24. The London Review of Books and The New York Review of Books also published one writer each under 15 years of age.

Our survey results indicated that the highest rates of writers ages 65 and older were published by The New York Review of Books (22%), A Public Space (20%), and New American Writing (16%).

Similar to last year, the most represented age demographics seem to be 35-44 and 45-54.

From those who responded to our survey, only 17 journals published at least one writer who had not received a Bachelor’s Degree. The highest rates were reported by Callaloo (20%), Boston Review (17%), and Harpers (8%).

Of those 17, our survey respondents indicated that 16 periodicals published writers who reported having “some college credit”; 5 published at least one writer who reported holding a “high school diploma or GED”; and one publication each shared the work of individuals with “grade school or lower” education, “some high school, but no diploma,” or a “technical, vocational, or alternative diploma.”

The figures for age and academic access are roughly comparable compared to the responses we received in 2016. Ageism, both against younger writers as well as older writers, as well as discrimination based on access to traditional education remain barriers in the publishing world.



Main Count

Larger Literary Landscape


Intersectional Survey