PRISM is the oldest literary magazine in western Canada. Here is a little of its history.
PRISM was established in 1959 as a journal of Canadian writing. PRISM was first born of a group of Vancouver writers, based out of UBC’s Creative Writing department. At the time, it was the only Canadian literary magazine west of Toronto. Under its first editor, Jan de Bruyn, the magazine published new writers at the time such as Margaret Laurence, Alden Nowlan and George Bowering.
In 1964, then editor Earle Birney expanded PRISM‘s scope to include international authors, allowing the magazine to participate in the global literary community. In 1977, under the direction of George McWhirter, PRISM became a student-run publication. As emerging writers themselves, the graduate students of UBC Creative Writing bring fresh perspectives on the magazine’s editorial approach and aesthetic.
PRISM takes pride in the diversity of our content and in our international readership. PRISM has published award-winning Canadian writers, such as Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, Irving Layton, Evelyn Lau, and Robert Kroetsch; prominent international authors, such as Ted Hughes, Jorge Luis Borges, and Tennessee Williams; and the Nobel Prize winners Salvador Quasimodo, Vicente Aleixandre, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Seamus Heaney. PRISM has also published and continues to publish many emerging writers from around the world. The work of the authors published in PRISM reach an audience of readers in over 40 nations across the world.
PRISM international publishes award-winning literature by award-winning authors. Some of the pieces featured in PRISM have been nominated for the Western Magazine Awards and the National Magazine Awards, while other pieces have been included in the Journey Prize Stories, Best American Essays and Best American Stories anthologies. Previous contributors have gone on to receive such honours as the Alberta Literary Award and the Writer’s Trust of Canada / McClelland & Steward Journey Prize.
Let’s not forget the editors. Aside from the founding editors mentioned above, PRISM international has been managed and edited by such Canadian novelists, poets and acclaimed authors as Jacob Zilber, Andreas Schroeder, Bill Gaston, Zsuzsi Gartner, Miranda Pearson, Steven Galloway, Annabel Lyon, Chris Labonte, Jennica Harper, Billeh Nickerson, Elizabeth Bachinsky, Amber Dawn, and Sheryda Warrener, while our editorial board has included Lee Henderson, Nancy Lee, and Madeliene Thien—a veritable Who’s Who List of contemporary Canadian writers.
To see the full list of previous PRISM editors, download the PDF or Word document below.