Founded in 1998 by Rebecca Wolff, Fence is a biannual journal of poetry, fiction, art, and criticism that has a mission to redefine the terms of accessibility by publishing challenging writing distinguished by idiosyncrasy and intelligence rather than by allegiance with camps, schools, or cliques. It is Fence‘s mission to encourage writing that might otherwise have difficulty being recognized because it doesn’t answer to either the mainstream or to recognizable modes of experimentation. Fence is long-term committed to publishing from the outside and the inside of established communities of writing, seeking always to interrogate, collaborate with, and bedevil other systems that bring new writing to light.
Fence is edited and staffed by:
Mendi Lewis Obadike
Xuan Juliana Wang
Launched in 2001, Fence Books publishes poetry, fiction, and critical texts and anthologies, and prioritizes sustained support for its authors, many of whom come to us through our book contests and then go on to publish second, third, fourth books.
The Ottoline Prize, formerly run as the Motherwell Prize and the Alberta Prize, is an annual series, generously endowed by Jennifer S. Epstein, which offers publication to a second book of poems or greater by a woman, as well as a five thousand dollar cash prize. Past winners include Chelsey Minnis, Harmony Holiday, Sasha Steensen, Laura Sims, and Ariana Reines.
Our second prize series is the Fence Modern Poets Series. This contest is open to poets of any gender and at any stage of career, and offers a one thousand dollar cash prize in addition to book publication. Past winners include Joyelle McSweeney, Prageeta Sharma, Geraldine Kim, Macgregor Card, and Paul Legault.
In 2013 we launched the Fence Modern Prize in Prose, a contest for open-form prose projects of any length written in English. Accepted genres include criticism, hybrid nonfiction, poetics, biography, autobiography, speculation, and anything Other.
From 2007 to 2015, Fence Books was publisher in the National Poetry Series, and through this prize has published books by Rodrigo Toscano, Douglas Kearney, and Jena Osman, among others. Judges have included Marjorie Welish, Catherine Wagner, C. S. Giscombe, and Bernadette Mayer.
Fence and Fence Books are programs of Fence Magazine, Incorporated, a nonprofit organization in the state of New York. Since 2007, Fence Magazine, Incorporated has been affiliated with the University at Albany and the New York State Writers Institute.
Board of Directors:
Elisa Albert, Bill Clegg, Menachem Kaiser, Kelly Kivland, Ted Mathys, Fiona McCrae, Robert Polito, George Ross, Christopher Stackhouse, Peter Straub, Cole Swensen, Rebecca Wolff
Editorial Advisory Board:
Mary Jo Bang, Anne Carson, Annie Dillard, Brenda Hillman, Ruth Ellen Kocher, Jonathan Lethem, Harry Mathews, Marjorie Welish