Established in 1959 and published quarterly, PRISM international is the oldest literary magazine in Western Canada. Through a partnership with the UBC Creative Writing Department, UBC Library digitized all back-issues of PRISM in 2015. The full archive is available in Open Collections. All issues are available with a one-year embargo ­– so, consider subscribing to read the most recent issues!

To get a sense of the content published in PRISM international, you can peruse the 25-year (Winter 1984) and 50-year (Winter 2010) retrospective issues by clicking on the covers below:


Authors featured in the 25-year retrospective issue include prominent writers such as Margaret Laurence, Robert Kroetsch, A.K. Ramanujan, Margaret Atwood, and Jorge Luis Borges. The editors also opted to feature “unexpected writers”, “represent[ing] the growth, directions, and trends of the magazine since its inception” (Introduction). The 50th anniversary issue includes a few of the same pieces and authors as the 25-year retrospective issue, as well as featuring writing by Michael Ondaatje, Ken Babstock, Carol Shields, and others.

PRISM also published a Cumulative Index Volume for their 25th anniversary, which lists all writings (through 1984) in alphabetical order by author. For example, this shows all of Margaret Atwood’s publications in PRISM to date:

If you are curious about a specific author’s work in PRISM after 1984, you can search Open Collections to pull up issues including that author’s name.

Do you have a favourite issue of PRISM, or a favourite poem, fiction, or non-fiction piece from a past issue? Let us know in the comments!


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