The internet is a vast sea of words and images, with plenty of great reading floating around. On this page, we’ve compiled links to our favorite free online reading, and brief descriptions of each. Most of these sites are lit mags, but there are some blogs and hybrids mixed in, too.
This is intended to be a growing and evolving resource, so if you know of websites that should be on this list, please tell us about them.
[The Big Guns] – High profile mags/sites with reputable authors and consistently great reading.
[Dark Horses] – These guys sometimes have great stuff too, though you might not have heard of them.
[Mad Scientists] – Sites not afraid to publish lots of experimental work.
[Genre Guys] – They stick to a theme, but that doesn’t mean the reading’s not good.
[Others Worth Reading] – Plenty of great reading can be found at these sites too.
The Big Guns
AGNI A biannual print journal published out of BU and edited by Sven Birkerts. Good online source for fiction, non-fiction, and poetry with bi-weekly web exclusives.
Blackbird Published online twice a year. Good fiction, also good poetry and non-fiction.
Boston Review A good online source for all kinds of good writing, but particularly good fiction edited by Junot Diaz.
Evergreen Review Online revival of the classic lit mag.
Narrative Good source for stories across all genres. New content weekly.
The New Yorker An obvious choice. The New Yorker provides all stories online, in their entirety, free of charge–the full archives are free to magazine subscribers.
storySouth A strong advocate for online fiction, storySouth’s Million Writers Award is one of the most well-respected accolades for short stories published online.
TriQuarterly Online Internet arm of Northewestern’s venerable magazine. Has writing from a wide range of talented authors.
Witness Dedicated to the concept of “Writer as Witness.” Strong, socially-minded fiction, poetry, and essays.
52 Stories Run by Harper Perennial, they publish one story a week, often from collections published by Harper, but sometimes unseen elsewhere.
The Dark Horses
Adirondack Review An online, independent quarterly with archives stretching back to 2001.
Anderbo Stories generally on the shorter side (never more that 3500 words). It’s easier to navigate the site by clicking on the genre links than by scrolling.
Ascent The literary magazine out of Concordia College; not the yoga magazine out of Canada.
Coachella Review UC Riverside’s online lit mag. Has a pretty broad range of stories, some quite good.
Conjunctions Online arm of Bard College’s lit mag. Content ranges from very good to not very, but it’s worth weeding through.
Eclectica A good source for online fiction. They have been online since 1996, and all of their content is available in easy to navigate archives.
Granta Not entirely easy to navigate, but if a reader looks hard enough, he or she will find good fiction.
Guernica A good place to find fiction and poetry. Also a good place to find author interviews.
Night Train Good source for short and shorter fiction. Check out the Flashbox fiction for quick reads while you’re at work.
The Mad Scientists
Cortland Review Online magazine heavy in poetry, but with a few pieces of fiction mixed in. The poems are accompanied by audio versions.
failbetter It’s hard to navigate their archives if you don’t know what you’re looking for, but you will stumble on a few gems if you take the time to browse.
Fringe An online magazine founded with the intent to feature voices, “that are not often included in the canon.” As a result, readers can find a decent cross-section of literature.
PANK Features lots of short and mostly experimental fiction.
Word Riot Updated monthly with author interviews, short stories, poems, creative non-fic. Has a fair amount of experimental and flash fiction, if you’re into that.
Other mags/sites worth reading
This is intended to be a growing and evolving resource, so if you know of websites that should be on this list, please tell us about them or fill out the form below.
Know of a good spot to read online for free?
Let us know. You can also reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.