Whit Burnett (August 14, 1899 – April 22, 1973) was an American writer and writing teacher who founded and edited the literary magazine ''Story''. In the 1940s, ''Story'' was an important magazine in that it published the first or early works of many writers who went on to become major authors. Not only did Burnett prove to be a valuable literary birddog for new talent, but ''Story'' remained a respectable though low-paying (typically $25 per story) alternative for stories rejected by the large-circulation slick magazines published on glossy paper like ''Collier's'' or ''The Saturday Evening Post'' or the somewhat more prestigious and literary slick magazines such as ''The New Yorker''. While ''Story'' paid poorly compared to the slicks and even the pulps and successor digest-sized magazines of its day, it paid better than most of, and had similar cachet to, the university-based and the other independent "little magazines" of its era.
Burnett and his first wife, Martha Foley, founded the magazine in Vienna, Austria in 1931. Showcasing short stories by new authors, 67 copies of the debut issue (April–May, 1931) were mimeographed in Vienna. Two years later, the couple moved to New York City, where they continued to publish the magazine.
Burnett and Foley created The Story Press in 1936. In 1939, Harper & Bros. published his memoir ''The Literary Life and to Hell With It''. In the ''Time Magazine'' review of the book, entitled "Funny Editor", the anonymous reviewer characterized Burnett as a humorist.