Ninth Letter is a collaborative arts and literary project produced by the Graduate Creative Writing Program and School of Art & Designat the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Edited and designed by faculty and students as part of the core curricula of both programs, the journal's mission is to present original literary writing of exceptional quality, illuminated by cutting-edge graphic design. Our electronic version, based here at ninthletter.com, exists as a complement to our print publication rather than as a digital replica. In addition to providing information about about our journal and our educational mission, this site also features original digital art, as well as audio and video podcasts of material related both to the print publication and to arts and humanities events in Urbana-Champaign and the surrounding region.
Work published in Ninth Letter has been selected for many awards anthologies such as Best American Nonrequired Reading, The Pushcart Prize, Best American Short Stories, Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, Best Creative Nonfiction, Best New Fantasy, Best New Poets, and New Stories from the Midwest. The journal has also received many national and international awards for graphic design, and has been featured in the design awards annuals of both STEP Inside Design and HOW Magazine. In 2005 Ninth Letter was named Best New Literary Journal by the Council of Learned Journals, an affiliate of the Modern Language Association.
In addition to our dedication to literary and artistic excellence, Ninth Letter also maintains a strong commitment to our role in the curricula of the School of Art + Design and the Creative Writing Program at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
In the Creative Writing Program, graduate students in fiction and poetry have the opportunity to enroll in a journal-based course in which they gain hands-on experience in editorial work, marketing, and office management, and upon completion of the course are eligible for graduate assistant positions in which they continue working on the editorial staff.
In Art + Design, graduate and undergraduate students participate in a Ninth Letter production course, in which the students design a complete issue of the journal under faculty direction. These students finish the course with valuable experience that has real-world applications, along with nationally distributed designs for their portfolios.
Students in both programs who have completed the Ninth Lettercourses have gone on to career success in the fields of graphic design and literary publishing, thanks in part to their experience working with Ninth Letter.
Ninth Letter is supported in part by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council.