Image was founded in 1989 to demonstrate the continued vitality and diversity of contemporary art and literature that engage with the religious traditions of western culture. Now one of the leading literary journals published in English, it is read all over the world—and forms the nexus of a warm and active community.
We believe that the great art that has emerged from these faith traditions is dramatic, not didactic—incarnational, not abstract. And so our focus has been on works of imagination that embody a spiritual struggle, like Jacob wrestling with the angel. In our pages the larger questions of existence intersect with what the poet Albert Goldbarth calls the “greasy doorknobs and salty tearducts” of our everyday lives.
What They’re Saying
“Image occupies a unique place in the religion/arts world. No other journal manages to maintain such academic integrity while at the same time avoiding theological jargon. No other journal manages to offer such depth while still remaining comprehensible to a general readership. No other journal manages to be so provocative while also being so full of common sense. And no other journal in this field begins to match Image for quality of presentation. A major achievement with a rich and promising future.”
—Jeremy Begbie, Thomas A. Langford Research Professor in Theology, Duke Divinity School
“Just read the last copy of Image on Tuesday. So beautiful. The writing. The design. The art. All of it.”
—Terry Tempest Williams, author of Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place
“Image is the most meaningful literary journal being published today. Each issue brings us back into an understanding that art pierces the surface of our lives to illuminate the soul; that art is, indeed, a redemptive gift from God.”
—Bret Lott, author of Jewel
“This magazine fills a real gap in the area of art and religion, and I am convinced that for many people this journal will be a very important source of better understanding of the deep links between art and religion.”
—Henri J.M. Nouwen, author of Behold the Beauty of the Lord
“You have produced something that is fine, beautiful, and commendable. God certainly is not in need of your help, but if He were to venture an opinion I'm fairly sure that He would smile upon all that you have done. In looking over Image, I confess, I felt a sense of grace, something borne in the air, something wonderfully and almost inexplicably buoyant. My response is to say to you, Kol HaKavod, which means, in Hebrew, ‘All the honor is yours.’”
—Mark Helprin, author of A Soldier of the Great War
“Image is a realistic, valuable, and extraordinarily interesting magazine. Its writing and artwork is simple, direct, and without pretension—like the best of all American writing. It deserves generous support—and applause.”
—Annie Dillard, author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
“Reading Image is like entering a room full of unpretentious, smart friends talking about fascinating questions. The magazine is not only beautiful; it's probing, thoughtful, and wise about art, politics, and the life of faith. I need Image, and I'm not surprised so many other people do, too.”
—Jeanne Murray Walker, poet and playwright, author of The Queen's Two Bodies
“Image is a daring project, filled with the highest promise. Our nation's high culture, which is increasingly uncertain about what distinguishes high from low, is perhaps ready to be pointed toward the humane and humanizing understanding of the arts that has been in the past, and can be in the future, nurtured by biblical faith.”
—Richard John Neuhaus, author of The Naked Public Square
“Image is the most exciting new journal I've seen...a beacon, a lighthouse for Christians involved in the arts.... Perhaps, like Eliot's quarterly, it will influence an entire generation. It has that potential.”
—Larry Woiwode, novelist, author of Beyond the Bedroom Wall
“Image is compelling. I've seen nothing like it.”
—Bill Moyers, Public Affairs Television, Inc.
“A beautiful magazine.”
—Madeleine L'Engle, Newbery Award-winning author
The pilot issue of Image was published from a basement in Front Royal, Virginia, in 1989 by editors Gregory Wolfe and Harold Fickett. Its founding editorial board consisted of Larry Woiwode, Andrew Hudgins, Paul Mariani, John Dillenberger, Steve Hawley, and Thomas Gordon Smith; the founding publication committee included Eugene V. Clark, Richard Foster, and Luci Shaw.
Issues appeared irregularly for the first five years, as the founders sought financial support and a broader community of readers. In 1994, Image began publishing on a quarterly basis. Led by Wolfe and Fickett, the early editorial team included Virginia Stem Owens, Suzanne Wolfe, Richard Wilkinson, and William Coleman.
Out of the journal grew a number lively programs, including workshops, conferences, seminars, fellowships, online classes, readings, and concerts, with speakers and performers including Chaim Potok, Henri Nouwen, Ann Patchett, Lucinda Williams, Li-Young Lee, Dana Gioia, and many more.
Image began hosting the Glen Workshop for artists and writers in Santa Fe in 2000, the same year Mary Kenagy Mitchell joined the team as managing editor and current administrative manager Sara (Jaime) Arrigoni was an intern. Also in 2000, Seattle Pacific University invited Image to make a home on their campus, where it is now located (though Image remains a self-supporting nonprofit corporation).
The Milton Fellowship for postgraduate writers came to be based at Image in 2004. Also that year, Image launched the annual Denise Levertov Award, which honors one artist or writer each year for their body of work. The Glen Online, with web classes for writers at all levels, was launched in 2009. The blog, Good Letters, also began in 2009; Jessica Mesman, one of its original writers, became its editor in 2018. The Image Podcast was first developed in 2017 by Paul Anderson and relaunched in 2019 with Jessica Mesman as editor.
James K.A. Smith became editor in 2018, joined by section editors Shane McCrae, Melissa Pritchard, Nick Ripatrazone, and Lauren Winner, and blog and podcast editor Jessica Mesman; Mary Kenagy Mitchell became executive editor.
In 2019, Lisa Ann Cockrel, former managing director of the Calvin Festival of Faith and Writing, joined the staff as program director, and Meaghan Ritchey, former associate publisher of Commonweal and director of global community at International Arts Movement, joined as director of marketing and communications.
Find staff bios and contact information here.
Image is a registered 501(c)3
Every year, we earn about 40% of our income from sales and workshop registrations. About 60% comes from the support of our community.
To learn more about donating
to Image, click here.
With the journal as our cornerstone, Image has grown
to include many other programs that support our mission.
Image hosts several readings and intimate concerts throughout the year, including the annual Denise Levertov Award in our hometown of Seattle. Past events include readings in Washington, D.C., a gallery talk with Makoto Fujimura in Vancouver, B.C., seminars in Italy, and conferences in New York City.
Learn more here.
A week can change a life.
The Glen Workshop, sponsored by Image, began in 1995 as an innovative and enriching week combining the best elements of a workshop, an arts festival, and a spiritual retreat. Twenty years later, the Glen has grown into an annual event featuring nationally acclaimed authors and artists.
To learn more, click here.
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IT WAS AN ORDINARY autumn night in suburban Chicago when I received the most disturbing book I have ever read. I was seventeen, slouching in my bedroom making a half-hearted attempt at homework, my sweaty cross-country clothes festering on the floor. My father appeared at the doorway and handed me a yellowed paperback that looked…