Founded Georgia State University in Atlanta, the magazine has established a reputation for the diversity and quality of the writers, artists, essayists, and interviewers it publishes.
Founded by poet and novelist David Bottoms and fiction writer Pam Durban, Five Points offers artists and writers a forum, its editors say, for "the convergence of ideas and genres, photograph and text, north and south, east and west, young and old." According to Sexton, such a convergence creates a sense of each genre's potential, often by juxtaposition as much as by variety. "One of the major impacts a literary magazine can have," she says, "is the way in which it illuminates genre. When a story runs next to a poem and an essay runs next to a story,... questions of form are raised—how one form may offer different challenges for the language and various experiences for the reader." The journal's philosophy of convergence is reflected in its name, which is taken from an area of downtown Atlanta that marks the traditional center of the city.
At its inception, Five Points was available only in print editions. However, since 1998, an online edition has made available selections from the print edition and provides information about the magazine. The online presence also underscores the journal's commitment to being more than a regional publication, an aspiration reflected in the diversity of writers it publishes.
In 1998 Five Points received a Best New Journal Award from the Council of Literary Magazines. Additionally, work first published in Five Points has reappeared in Best American Short Stories, Harper's magazine, New Stories from the South, Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses, and Utne Reader, and as well on the Web site Poetry Daily. Prominent contributors include Richard Bausch, Ann Beattie, Barbara Hamby, Edward Hirsch, Philip Levine, W. S. Merwin, Naomi Shihab Nye, Joyce Carol Oates, Christine Stewart, Ellen Bryant Voigt, Martin Walls, and Charles Wright.