Reed Magazine is honored to feature the works of emerging authors alongside notable pieces by literary lions: nonfiction by Pulitzer Prize-winner William Finnegan, verse by U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass, fiction by PEN/Faulkner-winner T.C. Boyle, and National Book Award-winner Ursula K. Le Guin. In addition, we publish original profiles of authors connected to the Golden State, examining their take on life and art.
Reed is California’s oldest literary journal. Tracing its heritage to 1867, the journal started as a mere pamphlet published by students of the California State Normal School, the precursor of San José State University.
In more than a century and a half of publication, the journal’s name evolved until the end of World War II. Then in 1948, we adopted The Reed, which was later shortened to just Reed, the title we have proudly held ever since.
Our name honors James Reed, a survivor of the infamous Donner Party and a prominent citizen of early California. James Reed made a fortune during the Gold Rush and strongly advocated that San José be named the capital of the new state. While he failed in that ambition, he did keep his promise to donate five hundred acres to the state. The current campus of San José State—the oldest public institution of higher education on the West Coast, and the founding institution of the California State University system—now occupies that land.
San José has changed a lot since James Reed first settled here. Prune and apricot orchards have given way to skyscrapers and the headquarters of major corporations. A tiny farming community has grown into the tenth largest U.S. city and the nation's unchallenged center of technological innovation. A small teaching college has evolved into a vibrant university with the most diverse student body in the nation, and an international reputation for excellence.
Throughout these changes, Reed has remained a literary hub, which today publishes fiction, poetry, essays, profiles, and art from around the world.