Plain China

plain china Finds New Home with VCU

by Becky Godwin

After publishing the plain china: Best Undergraduate Writing series for the past six years, Bennington College is very pleased to announce the transfer of the anthology to Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), effective for the 2015 journal year and beyond. VCU, based in Richmond, Virginia, has 32,000 undergraduates; the anthology will be based in the VCU Student Media Center, which is home to a number of award-winning media, including three literary journals: Amendment, Broad Street, and Poictesmeplain china will continue to launch online monthly throughout the year, featuring top-notch undergraduate writing and artwork from colleges and universities around the country. The changeover will be effective April 1, 2016.

Since 2010, plain china has featured writing and artwork from more than 700 students and 118 journals nationally, receiving more than 64,000 site visits from all 50 states and more than 150 countries. A small sampling of the schools featured over the past six year includes American University, Bard, Bennington, Berkeley, Brown, Columbia College Chicago, Dartmouth, Denison, Elon, Grinnell, Guilford, Harvard, LSU, Middlebury, Mills, NYU, Oberlin, Princeton, Rice, Stanford, St. Olaf College, SUNY-Geneseo, Swarthmore, Susquehanna, Tufts, VCU, UCLA, the Universities of Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Houston, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, and Pittsburgh.

Quality has been recognized from the start: The story originally selected for the Fiction Prize in 2010 was accepted for publication in The Atlantic, one of the 2012 essays appeared in Best American Essays 2013, a 2013 story received Notable status in the Best American Non-Required Reading series, and an essay that will appear later this year was included in Best of the Net 2014.

plain china remains the only online compilation of undergraduate work at such a scale and on a national level. Annual Writing Prize judges have included the fiction editors of The Atlantic and the Paris Review, writers Susan Cheever, Philip Lopate, Jonathan Lethem, Jack Beatty, Ian Frazier, Susan Orlean, Sue Miller, Lydia Davis, and Pam Houston, and poets April Bernard, Ellen Bryant Voigt, Eleanor Wilner, Tracy K. Smith, Jericho Brown, and Major Jackson. VCU will continue to invite esteemed writers to choose winners from among the finalists published in the anthology.

It’s been an honor and a great pleasure to publish plain china for the past six years. We hope you’re as pleased as we are to see VCU take up the anthology’s aim of promoting and honoring undergraduate work, and we look forward to reading the work of your school’s students in plain china 2015. Please direct questions to