The New Generation of Classic Short Stories


In 1997, Francis Ford Coppola launched Zoetrope: All-Story, a quarterly magazine devoted to the best new short fiction and one-act plays. It has received every major story award, including the National Magazine Award for Fiction, while publishing today's most promising and significant writers: Mary Gaitskill, David Mamet, Ha Jin, Elizabeth McCracken, Yiyun Li, Don DeLillo, Andrew Sean Greer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Margaret Atwood, Salman Rushdie, Woody Allen, Yoko Ogawa, David Means, Susan Straight, Charles D'Ambrosio, David Bezmozgis, Neil Jordan, and Haruki Murakami among them.

Along with new stories, each edition of the magazine presents a Classic Reprint—a previously published short story that inspired a great film—to illustrate the narrative relationship between the art forms. Previous Classic Reprints include Liu Yi-chang's "Intersection" (which inspired Wong Kar-wai's In the Mood for Love), Steven Millhauser's "Eisenheim the Illusionist" (Neil Burger's The Illusionist), Alice Munro's "The Bear Came Over the Mountain" (Sarah Polley's Away From Her), and Paul Auster's "Auggie Wren's Christmas Story" (Wayne Wang's Smoke).

Zoetrope: All-Story is also an art magazine, as the editors invite a different contemporary artist to illustrate and design each issue. Past guest designers include William Eggleston, Zaha Hadid, Julian Schnabel, Wim Wenders, Laurie Anderson, Peter Sellars, Helmut Newton, David Bowie, Gus Van Sant, Tom Waits, Ed Ruscha, David Byrne, Kiki Smith, Wayne Thiebaud, Chip Kidd, Yves Béhar, and Mike Figgis.

Advertise in Zoetrope: All-Story

Zoetrope: All-Story readers are generally affluent, well-educated, and well-traveled. They are aficionados of art and culture, concentrated in the major urban centers of the United States and Europe.

The magazine limits its advertisements to six pages of a 128-page book. As the magazine is an art object and a collector?s item, its shelf life is long. Past advertisers include leading companies in the publishing, fashion, communication, travel, and wine and spirits industries.

Please contact us for rates and schedules.

Francis Coppola's Letter to the Reader
Reprinted from the Premiere Issue, February, 1997.

In the past there was a great tradition of short-story writing. Most colleges had literary magazines, and many periodicals included short fiction. The heroes of young people with literary aspirations were the writers who appeared in them: John O'Hara, Dorothy Parker, Ring Lardner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, etc. So there was a storytelling tradition in force in the twenties and thirties that, among other things, inspired and taught the screenwriters who became responsible for the fine movie writing of the forties and fifties. Today, the heroes are the film directors, and many aspiring writers think that they must write a screenplay or movie treatment rather than focus on the story itself.

I have never met a person in the film business who enjoys reading a screenplay. It is usually a dreaded obligation that one does in sections of twenty or thirty pages, ending up with a skim-through of the last thirty pages. Many big movie executives, they say, never read the screenplays themselves, but torture middle management with this job and have them write it up in the form of a synopsis and opinion. Yet, on the other hand, reading a short story is usually a very enjoyable experience. (And when it's not, at least it's short.) It works at you from inside the brain, filling in images, characters, ideas, and plot without having to describe them step-by-step. After finishing the story, you close your eyes and think about it, and realize you have seen it because you have experienced it. You get more with less. This is a good habit for the storyteller to get into.

Zoetrope is a magazine concentrating on short fiction. We will neither accept nor publish screenplays and treatments, only stories or one-act plays. Since in the past it was common for a short story to be adapted into a successful film (Psycho, Rear Window, High Noon), it is natural that our motives in this project be questioned. I do hope that this publication will form a bridge to storytellers at large, encouraging them to work in the natural format of a short story. If Zoetrope publishes a single short story that evolves into a memorable film then, in my mind, it would more than justify our efforts to produce this magazine. However, we haven't chosen stories on the basis of whether or not they could be made into a film, but rather on the voice of the writer, the quality of the writing, the luster of character, and depth of plot, in the hope of illuminating contemporary life.


Zoetrope: All-Story, located in San Francisco, California, offers college juniors and seniors and recent college graduates an opportunity to participate in many aspects of literary publishing, including editorial, production, and administration. We are a small staff working on a big venture, so the internship has great potential for autonomous and interesting projects—along with the shipping of magazines and answering of mail.

Intern responsibilities include:

  • Reading and critiquing short story submissions
  • Managing the annual short fiction contest
  • Assisting with circulation and general administration

We require a minimum commitment of at least fifteen hours a week. The internship is unpaid, but we offer a one-year subscription to the magazine and assistance in converting the experience to university credit.

There are three terms: Spring, Summer, and Fall. To apply, please abide the following application deadlines.
Spring Term (January – May): October 21
Summer Term (June – August): April 1
Fall Term (September – December): July 15

To request an application, please e-mail a cover letter and resume to, attention: Manjula Martin.

Zoetrope: All-Story is located at 916 Kearny Street (at Columbus Avenue, in North Beach) San Francisco, CA 94133.

The Reader Program

Zoetrope: All-Story seeks volunteer readers to read and critique the 10,000 submissions we receive each year. Stories the readers endorse are forwarded to the editorial staff for consideration. Readers are invited to periodic editorial meetings and special film events, and are included in the masthead. We require a minimum commitment of four hours a week but are flexible with schedules. All reading must be done in the Zoetrope office (close to public transportation), during regular business hours (Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.).

To apply, please e-mail a cover letter and resume to, attention: Manjula Martin.