By Jefferson Beavers

For the fourth year in a row, Fresno State’s locally grown, nationally known literary magazine, The Normal School, has earned high marks for gender parity in a nationwide report. The magazine also had four essays mentioned in the newest editions of the annual Best American series.

The Normal School was again celebrated in the highlights of the 2017 VIDA Count, an annual report that examines gender parity and inclusion in national literary publications by counting the number of women writers, non-binary writers and writers of color who are published or reviewed.

In its June report, VIDA singled out The Normal School for having 57.4 percent of its 2017 bylines by women, ranked sixth for gender parity among 24 national publications in its Larger Literary Landscape VIDA Count. While the mark was down from the magazine’s 67.1 percent in 2016, it still placed The Normal School among the nation’s best, alongside literary magazines such as Ninth Letter (61.3 percent), the Missouri Review (61.1 percent), and Prairie Schooner (59.7 percent).

The Normal School — one of the few small-market magazines produced out of a graduate Master of Fine Arts program, as opposed to a large corporate entity — fared better in the VIDA Count than many other major publications in its class, including The Believer (33 percent of bylines by women), the Harvard Review (38.1 percent), the Southwest Review (39 percent) and the venerable Gettysburg Review (40.9 percent).

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