national anthology of the best undergraduate writing 2014

Notes on Diversity from the Nonfiction Editors

What is diversity and what role does it play in the selection process for a national anthology of undergraduate writing? The 2013 nonfiction editors often found ourselves asking those questions, and here, the four of us share our insights on this broad topic and how taking diversity into consideration influences our work at plain china. […]

What Draws Us In: Behind the Scenes with the Poetry Editors

Before we began our work on the anthology, we might have imagined the poetry group for plain china sifting through a slurry of journals, deeming with a synchronized toss of hands which pieces were accepted. What’s good is good, right? Nope! That couldn’t be further from the truth. We actually spend the majority of our […]

Plain Talk from the Fiction Editors

When reading undergraduate writing, the fiction committee hit upon the beauty and power of simple narratives: plain talk. It may look easy, but that’s the trick: it’s not. As writers who are inherently new to the task of creative writing, we often find it difficult to find the balance—or even the restraint—to be plain. After […]

Falling Headlong Into a New Season

Hello from your new co-editors in chief! Fall is  especially exciting for us—it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work on a new cycle of the anthology. This time around we’ve received 69 undergraduate literary journals from a wide range of schools across the country. Twelve Bennington College student editors will be […]

Issue Six Highlights: Fiction Winner and a 2013 Best American Essay

The sixth issue of plain china 2012 went live September 1, and it’s a doozy! It features the Bennington Writing Prize in Fiction, selected by judge Sue Miller and written by Cody Greene of Elon College, first published in SUNY Rockland’s First Inkling journal. Vicki Yang’s piece, “Field Notes on Hair,” has been selected for Best American Essays 2013; a […]

Issue Three Highlights

The third issue of plain china 2012 went live June 1, featuring poems and prose from Brown, the University of Georgia, NYU, and Simmons College. We also feature an honorable mention in nonfiction—selected by  judge Susan Orlean—and artwork from Hampshire, Grinnell, Bennington, and Mary Baldwin College. In anticipation of the first nonfiction honorable mention, here’s an […]

Issue Two Highlights

The second issue of plain china 2012 went live May 1, featuring work from Bard, American River College, Bennington, Stanford, and the Claremont Colleges. We also feature an honorable mention in fiction—selected by  judge Sue Miller—and artwork from Loyola, the College of Charleston, and the Universities of Vermont, Georgia, and Connecticut. To whet your appetites for a […]

Ghost Proposal: An Interview with the Editors

On a crisp Vermont afternoon in fall 2011,  plain china nonfiction editor Naomi Washer sent her first email to writer Zachary Green, at Columbia College Chicago. Her intention was to solicit his piece, “I Will Send You This,” for plain china 2011. Written in letter form and later chosen as an honorable mention by 2011 […]

Back at the Drawing Board

With fall setting in, the plain china 2012 editorial team is busy already. We’ve begun the selection process for our 2012 anthology with a boost from the student reviewers at FUSE, the Forum for Undergraduate Student Editors. Of our 2010 anthology, FUSE had this to say: “This journal demands a reading for the quality of […]