Magill's Literary Annual is the only Salem Press title that consistently and exclusively covers recent works of fiction and nonfiction across subjects, genres, and countries. Each year, Magill's Literary Annual critically evaluates 150 major examples of serious literature, both fiction and nonfiction, published during the previous calendar year.
The Complimentary Archives
When you purchase the current Literary Annual, we provide online access to 40+ years' of past Annuals. That's over 7,350 reviews and essays on a multitude of topics. This remarkable, complimentary archive is available through Salem Literature, our online host for great literary reference. To make it available to your students and patrons you need only purchase the latest, two-volume edition.
The philosophy behind our selection process is to cover works that are likely to be of interest to general readers, that represent the major literary genres, that reflect publishing trends, that are written by authors being taught in literature programs, and that will stand the test of time. By filtering the thousands of books published every year down to 150 notable titles, the editors have provided the busy librarian with an excellent reader's advisory tool and patrons with fodder for book discussion groups and a guide for choosing worthwhile reading material. The essay-reviews in the Annual provide a more academic, "authoritative" review of a work than is typically found in newspapers and other ephemeral sources.
Organization & Format
The reviews in the two-volume Magill's Literary Annual, 2019 are arranged alphabetically by title. At the beginning of both volumes is a complete alphabetical list, by category, of all covered books that provides readers with the title, author, and a brief description of each work. Every essay is approximately four pages in length. The text of each essay-review analyzes and presents the focus, intent, and relative success of the author, as well as the makeup and point of view of the work under discussion. Each one begins with a block of reference information in a standard order:
- Full Book Title, including any subtitle
- Author: Name, with birth year, and death year when applicable
- First Published: Original foreign-language title, with year and country, with pertinent
- Original language and translator name, when pertinent
- Introduction, Foreword, etc., with writer's name, when pertinent
- Publisher: Company name and city, and the number of pages
- Type of work (chosen from standard categories including autobiography, history, literary theory, and many, many more)
- Time: Period represented, when pertinent
- Locale: Location represented, when pertinent
- Capsule description of work
- Principal characters (for novels, short fiction) or Principal personages (for bibliographies, history): List of people, with brief descriptions, when pertinent
To assist the reader further, essays are supplemented by a list of additional "Review Sources" for further study in a bibliographic format. Every essay includes a sidebar offering a brief biography of the author or authors. Thumbnail photographs of the book covers and the authors are included as available.
Finding Aids and Special Features
Four indexes can be found at the end of volume 2:
- Biographical Works by Subject: Arranged by subject, rather than by author or title. Readers can locate easily reviews of biographical works-memoirs, diaries, and letters in addition to biographies and autobiographies-by looking up the name of the person covered.
- Category Index: Groups all titles into subject areas such as current affairs and social issues, ethics and law, history, literary biography, philosophy and religion, psychology, and women's issues.
- Title Index: Lists all works reviewed in alphabetical order, with any relevant cross references.
- Author Index: Lists books covered in the annual by each author's name.
- Cumulative Author and Title Indexes: Listing all books reviewed in Magill's Literary Annual between 1977 and 2019, as well as in Magill's History Annual (1983) and Magill's Literary Annual, History and Biography (1984 and 1985).