When Norman Macleod (1906-1985) founded Pembroke Magazine in 1969, he had already edited some of the top "little" magazines in the country, including Morada (1929-30), Front (1930-31), Maryland Quarterly (1942-44), and the Briarcliff Quarterly (1944-47). Macleod edited Pembroke Magazine for ten years, when poet and North Carolina native Shelby Stephenson assumed the editorship. Stephenson, current Poet Laureate of North Carolina, served as editor from 1979 until his retirement in 2010.
Jennifer Key, winner of the 2012 Tampa Review Prize for Poetry, served as interim editor from 2010-12. Jessica Pitchford, former editor-in-chief of The Southeast Review, held the post of editor of Pembroke Magazine from 2012 - 2017. The current editor, Peter Grimes, started his position in August 2017.
Published at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Pembroke Magazine has been printed annually since its founding in 1969. It has grown from a student publication of forty-eight pages to a book-length publication international in scope, featuring poetry, fiction, nonfiction, interviews, and visual art from North Carolina, the United States, and beyond.