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Take Notice: Donna Talarico (Hippocampus)

“I’ve just become better at noticing those little mechanical things,” says the guest for this episode, Donna Talarico, the founder and publisher of Hippocampus Magazine.

Hippocampus makes memorable creative nonfiction. It is an online journal, a conference, and most recently a publishing house. 

 

Hippocampus Magazine is an exclusively online publication set out to entertain, educate and engage writers and readers of creative nonfiction. Each issue features memoir excerpts, personal essays, reviews, interviews and craft articles.

Credits

Host: Rachel Thompson
Sound Editor: Mica Lemiski
Presented by Room magazine and We Write, We Light (Rachel Thompson)

Pick Pleasure over Ambition: Wendy Lesser (The Threepenny Review)

Wendy Lesser

The guest for this episode of Lit Mag Love is Wendy Lesser, an American critic, writer, and editor based in Berkeley, California. She is the founding editor of the arts journal The Threepenny Review, and the author of a novel and several works of nonfiction.

In this episode, we break outside the Lit Mag Love bubble we’ve been in—both in terms of region, The Threepenny Review is an established American lit mag, but also in terms of the approach to writers—a well-lauded, establishment figure in US literary scene, she says she can always tell when a writer has her or his own voice and that’s the thing they need to bring when they submit to the review. Also in the approach to being a gatekeeper, while she has published work that came from “under the slush pile” as she put it, and is aware that perhaps she has certain tastes when it comes to the writing, TPR is not a journal with a deliberate practice of finding voices from the margins of writing.

 

The Threepenny Review is an American literary magazine founded in 1980, and published quarterly (March, June, September, December). They publish fiction, memoir, poetry, essays, and criticism.

Credits

Host: Rachel Thompson
Sound Editor: Mica Lemiski
Presented by Room magazine and We Write, We Light (Rachel Thompson)

Be Luminescent: Amanda Leduc (Little Fiction/Big Truths)

Amanda Leduc

“Don’t give up and recognize that the writing is a thing in and of itself as well. You need to be able to love doing the writing and just love being in this world that you create with your characters, over and above wanting your name on a book.” —Amanda Leduc

Of course, it is easier to say don’t give up than to do it, as my guest for this episode, Amanda Leduc admits. She’s the nonfiction Little Fiction: Big Truths, so, of course, we continue the trend from the last several episodes of Lit Mag Love and talk about truth-telling in creative nonfiction.

Amanda is a writer with Cerebral Palsy, who grew up with scant examples of disability in literature. We talk about how the literary culture in general in North America, but in Canada particularly, has not made a place for writers with disabilities, while also taking stock of the really exciting times we are in, with many writers, Amanda among them, blazing a trail for younger disabled writers.

Amanda Leduc is from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. She has published essays and short stories across Canada, the US, the UK, and Australia, and currently serves as the Communications and Development Coordinator for the Festival of Literary Diversity, Canada's first festival for diverse authors and stories. Her first novel, The Miracles of Ordinary Men, was published in 2013 by Toronto's ECW Press. Her new novel, The Centaur's Wife, is forthcoming from Random House Canada.

Little Fiction is a mostly digital publisher of short fiction and nonfiction singles. They are not officially a lit mag, though but do publish on a monthly basis.

Episode Links

Little Fiction / Big Truths
Amanda Leduc
The Festival of Literary Diversity

Credits

Host: Rachel Thompson
Sound Editor: Mica Lemiski
Presented by Room magazine and We Write, We Light (Rachel Thompson)

Lift Up Women's Stories: Sierra Skye Gemma Contest Coordinator at Room

“To me, a very intimate piece of memoir that could in no way be fact checked was just as valid as a piece of investigative journalism,” Sierra Skye Gemma.

Sierra Skye Gemma is Room's contest coordinator. What she says above about memoir came when she looked up the judge’s interview for a contest she was considering submitting to and found his remarks showed her a divide between what is seen as literary—men’s stories, versus women’s stories. This experience made her want to lift up women’s stories.

And Sierra does that. In this episode, we jump back into the CanLit dumpster fire, as Sierra shares how her life changed as a complainant in the UBC case that showed the dark parts of mentoring in Canada’s literary institutions, how things have changed for her personally, and how they have changed for all of us in the past two years of #MeToo.

Sierra also shares how she approaches writing her own difficult stories and gives really pointed advice for writers of creative nonfiction (CNF) and for writers who are trying to decide if a piece is suitable to enter contests.

More About Sierra Skye Gemma
Sierra Skye Gemma On Publishing in Lit Mags (Rowan McCandless, Room)
The Wrong Way” (PDF of Sierra's  National Magazine Award-winning story from The New Quarterly)
Finding a Voice in Creative Non-fiction, with Sierra Skye Gemma (Plenitude)

Background on Sexual-Harassment in CanLit
CanLit Has a Sexual-Harassment Problem (Zoe Whittall, The Walrus)
Under a cloud: How UBC's Steven Galloway affair has haunted a campus and changed lives (Globe & Mail)
CanLit is a Raging Dumpster Fire (Alicia Elliott, Open Book)

Credits
Host: Rachel Thompson
Sound Editor: Mica Lemiski
Presented by Room magazine and We Write, We Light

 

Remember Write Rhymes with Fight: Eufemia Fantetti, Humber Literary Review

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“Write rhymes with fight for a reason. We’re not all meant to be at the frontline...I’m way more comfortable sitting down and trying to figure out how to write back against something that I really dislike.”

Let’s let these words from Eufemia Fantetti, bridge the connection between what has been a theme in the past few LML episodes around abuse of mentors and #MeToo in Canadian Literary circles, and learning how to write difficult stories in a writing community with mentors who support you.

As Eufemia put it, “You can’t always know who is really gunning for you to succeed, and who is just sitting there, rubber-stamping and like, I don’t care if it doesn’t look like me and it doesn’t sound like me, I don’t want to have anything to do with it.”

(Though, as she also points out, we know more now thanks to social media!)

Humber Literary Review is the creation of Humber College’s Department of English, and its collective includes writers, academics, critics, visual artists, and linguists. Their goal is to share their enthusiasm for work that provokes, excites, and entertains—writing that makes you want to read more.

Links Related to the Episode

You can read Sheung-King’s Memory Piece: Macau in the print edition of the Humber Literary Review (Spring/Summer 2017)

A Recipe for Disaster & Other Unlikely Tales of Love by Eufemia Fantetti

Credits

Host: Rachel Thompson
Sound Editor: Mica Lemiski
Presented by Room magazine and We Write, We Light (Rachel Thompson)

Understand Who You Are: Alicia Elliott, The Fiddlehead

“I think that when a writer doesn’t have a good understanding of who they are and what their beliefs are...they are going to necessarily lack the conviction in their writing to go daring places, and ask daring questions.” —Alicia Elliott

Alicia Elliott is a Tuscarora writer and the new Creative Non-Fiction editor at The Fiddlehead magazine. She is also someone both daring in her writing, and solid in her beliefs. (Links to her essays appear below, or check out her Twitter feed.)

She talks to Lit Mag Love Podcast host Rachel Thompson about the craft of creative nonfiction, editing your own work, and how to write about trauma without having to really write about a traumatic event. She also shared what happened when she took a year off to write. (The answer may surprise you!)

The Fiddlehead is published four times a year at the University of New Brunswick. (First published in 1945.)

Links Related to the Episode

On Seeing and Being Seen, by Alicia Elliott
CanLit is a Raging Dumpster Fire, by Alicia Elliott
Islands of Decolonial Love by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
Interview with writer Canisia Lubrin (CBC)
Canadian journalists support ‘appropriation prize’ after online furore (The Guardian)

Credits

Host: Rachel Thompson
Sound Editor: Mica Lemiski
Presented by Room magazine and We Write, We Light (Rachel Thompson)

Stick With Writers: Shazia Hafiz Ramji, poetry editor at PRISM magazine

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Rachel interviews Shazia Hafiz Ramji, the poetry editor at PRISM magazine.

And as always this episode truly takes you behind the scenes of a literary journal—in this case it’s a University-based journal in the centre of controversy. (Below, we link to articles that will provide some background, though you don’t need to know all the minutiae of this story to listen to the episode.)

We also talk about Shazia’s really laudable efforts to make sure underrepresented writers are welcome with open arms into the pages of PRISM, and my sixth-grade self jumped in glee when she talked about how being a writer is a lot like being a spy-explorer. We also discuss emotional urgency in poetry, literary criticism, and you’ll come away with a better sense of what working with a dream editor is like and what kind of poems you should never submit to Shazia.

PRISM is the oldest literary magazine in western Canada. Published quarterly in Vancouver, British Columbia, its mandate is to publish the best in contemporary writing and translation from Canada and around the world.  Writing from PRISM has been featured in Best American Stories, Best American Essays and The Journey Prize Stories, amongst other noted publications. It is edited by MFA students in the Creative Writing Program, UBC.

Shazia Hafiz Ramji received the 2017 Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry and was a finalist for the 2018 Alberta Magazine Awards and the 2016 National Magazine Awards. Her writing has been longlisted for The Fiddlehead’s Short Fiction contest and has recently appeared in Quill & Quire, Metatron’s ALPHA, and Hamilton Arts & Letters. Her first chapbook is Prosopopoeia (Anstruther Press, 2017) and her debut book of poetry, Port of Being, is forthcoming from Invisible Press in fall 2018.


Shazia's book, Prosopopoeia
PRISM International

CanLit Controversy Background
CanLit Has a Sexual-Harassment Problem (Zoe Whittall on The Walrus)
Under a cloud: How UBC's Steven Galloway affair has haunted a campus and changed lives (News Story, Globe & Mail)
CanLit is a Raging Dumpster Fire (Alicia Elliott on Open Book)

Credits

Host: Rachel Thompson
Sound Editor: Mica Lemiski
Presented by Room magazine and We Write, We Light 

Turn Your Writing Outward: Carleigh Baker, Joyland Vancouver

Carleigh Baker on Lit Mag Love

Rachel interviews Carleigh Baker, an editor with Joyland, who talks about the difference between her first and future books, “You can only gaze at your navel for so long. If that’s what you needed to heal, great, but I’m really looking forward to turning my gaze outward.” And about the positive changes and communities that have grown out of dark times in CanLit: “I’m hopeful because I see a lot of women and some men speak up about sexual assault.”

Carleigh Baker is a Cree-Métis/ Icelandic writer living on unceded Coast Salish territory. She is the Vancouver editor of Joyland and also editing an upcoming issue of Poetry is Dead. Carleigh’s work has appeared in subTerrain, PRISM International, Joyland, and Matrix. She won the Lush Triumphant award for short fiction in 2012 and is a two-time Journey Prize nominee. In submissions to her, she says she likes bees, spawning salmon, and apocalyptic romance, and tight economical prose with a ton of subtext, a sense of humour (the darker the better) and a deep appreciation of how flawed and confusing humans are.

Notes On Problems in the CanLit Community

This episode is the first of a few coming up, where Rachel interviews writers and editors closely affected by what’s been happening in CanLit culture, specifically with the University of British Columbia firing of a prof and the fall out when literary heavyweights signed a letter calling for “due process” of the accused.

As Carleigh put it in our interview, “Last winter was a dark winter in CanLit.”

It’s basically CanLit’s #MeToo moment, but it hasn’t played out the way it has in Hollywood. In this movement, it has been the less powerful people in CanLit speaking up and demanding true accountability from our community.

Below, are links to articles that will provide some background on this, though you don’t need to know all the minutiae of this story to listen to the episode. For one, there’s a really familiar pattern here, unfortunately, and for another, we talk about other things, like Carleigh’s enthusiastic interest in heavy metal music, the difference between her first and second book, where she can now look outward, and her activism on Twitter. And we also talk about what makes her hopeful for the future, including the foundation of the UBC Indigenous reading group.

And as always it’s full of behind the scenes insights from a literary journal, and tips for you on submitting to lit mags.

Episode Links

Carleigh’s book, Bad Endings
Joyland (Vancouver) 
Poetry is Dead

CanLit Has a Sexual-Harassment Problem (Zoe Whittall on The Walrus)
CanLit is a Raging Dumpster Fire (Alicia Elliott on Open Book)
Canadian journalists support ‘appropriation prize’ after online furore (The Guardian)
Emerging Indigenous Voices (A Canadian literary award to support the vision of emerging Indigenous writers.)

Credits

Host: Rachel Thompson
Sound Editor: Mica Lemiski
Presented by Room magazine and We Write, We Light (Rachel Thompson)

Write When Language Fails: Janice Lee (Entropy)

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About Entropy 

ENTROPY is a website featuring literary and related non-literary content. They seek to create a space where writers can engage with other writers, can participate in a literary community, and where thinkers can collaborate and share both literary and non-literary ideas. Their site covers topics from video games, graphic novels, interactive literature, science fiction, fantasy, music, film, art, and other topics in addition to literary reviews, interviews, conversations, and articles on experimental literature, translation, small press practices, and performance. 

About Janice Lee, Co-Founder of Entropy

Janice is the author of KEROTAKIS, Daughter, Damnation, Reconsolidation, and The Sky Isn't Blue. She is Editor of the #RECURRENT Series at Civil Coping Mechanisms, Assistant Editor at Fanzine, and serves as Executive Editor at Entropy.

Writing Mentioned

The Night Cafe by Brandon Shimoda
Ghosts of Pearl Harbour by Brandon Shimoda

Episode Credits

Host: Rachel Thompson
Audio Editor: Mica Lemiski
Music: https://musicformakers.com/songs/the-return/
Presented by Room magazine and We Write, We Light (Rachel Thompson)

Let Love Lead You: Derek Askey, The Sun Magazine

About The Sun Magazine

The Sun is an independent, ad-free magazine that for more than forty years has used words and photographs to evoke the splendour and heartache of being human. Each monthly issue features personal essays, short stories, interviews, poetry, and photographs that explore the challenges we face and the moments when we rise to meet them. Writing from The Sun has won the Pushcart Prize and been selected for numerous anthologies, including Best American Short Stories and Best American Essays.

About Derek Askey

Derek Askey is the Editorial Assistant with The Sun and has an MFA from Colorado State University. He lives in Durham, North Carolina. He writes about music.

The Hogs, The Sow, The Wind by
DAVID RUTSCHMAN: https://www.thesunmagazine.org/issues/497/the-hogs-the-sow-the-wind

Episode Credits

Host: Rachel Thompson
Audio Editor: Meghan Bell
Music: https://musicformakers.com/songs/the-return/
Production & Research Assistant: Gulnaz Saiyed
Produced by Room magazine and We Are Lit Writers (Rachel Thompson)

 

 

Season One of Lit Mag Love is sponsored by Lit Mag Love, an online course by Rachel Thompson

Invest in Relationships: Pamela Mulloy (The New Quarterly)

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About TNQ

The New Quarterly—TNQ, for short—is a Canadian literary journal known for wit, warmth, and literary innovation. Our style is celebratory, and we’re well known for finding, as well as nurturing, distinctive voices, and for continuing to support writers throughout their career. We publish short fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction that explores both the craft and the writing life. Watch for TNQ writers among those cited for National Magazine Awards, the Man Booker Prize, the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Griffin Poetry Prize, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, the Journey Prize, and the Writers Trust Fiction Prize.

Each issue brings our readers work by both emerging and established writers, and, while TNQ has always been an inclusive publication, we have renewed our commitment to encouraging writers who may be experiencing barriers regarding race, gender, ability, sexual orientation, or age to consider TNQ when they’re ready to submit their finest work.

About Pamela Mulloy

Pamela Mulloy has edited TNQ since 2011. She has a master of arts in studies in fiction from the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom; has had short fiction published in the United Kingdom and Canada; and has been awarded the Waterloo Regional Arts Council award for fiction. Her novel, The Deserters, is due out in Spring of 2018 with Véhicule Press. She currently resides in Kitchener, Ontario, with her husband and daughter

Quotes from the Episode

“I confess to being a slow thinker, a ruminator. I’m the one who thinks about it and has the idea after everybody has left the table. Social media is a challenge.”

I think that I understand that writing is a process and it sometimes requires a great deal of patience, and revisiting, and rethinking, things we’re not used to doing to be productive.“

“One of the things that we consider with the writers is that it’s a relationship with the writers. We’re actually investing in a writer when we choose to publish them. We hope that they will continue to submit to us and it becomes an ongoing relationship. That human element of the publishing process is really important. I’m always curious what the writer is doing in their wider writing life.“

“Quiet stories are the ones I’m often drawn to.”

In order to become a successful writer, you have to submit your work. It kinda raises the bar for your writing. It pushes you to get the best you can get.“

Episode Credits

Host: Rachel Thompson
Audio Editor: Meghan Bell
Music: https://musicformakers.com/songs/the-return/
Production & Research Assistant: Gulnaz Saiyed
Produced by Room magazine and We Are Lit Writers (Rachel Thompson)

Season One of Lit Mag Love is sponsored by Lit Mag Love, an online course by Rachel Thompson

Listen to the Writing: Chelene Knight (Room)

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About Room

Room is Canada’s oldest feminist literary journal, and has published fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, art, interviews, and book reviews for forty years. Published quarterly by the West Coast Feminist Literary Magazine Society, also known as the Growing Room Collective, Room showcases writing and art by women (cisgender and transgender), transgender men, Two-Spirit and nonbinary people. Room believes in publishing emerging writers alongside established authors, and because of this, approximately 90% of the work the magazine publishes comes from unsolicited submissions or contest entries. Work that originally appeared in Room has been anthologized in The Journey Prize AnthologyBest Canadian PoetryBest Canadian Stories, and Best Canadian Essays, and has been nominated for a National Magazine Award. 

About Chelene Knight

Chelene Knight lives in Vancouver, BC and is a graduate of The Writer’s Studio in multiple genres. Chelene is a Library Assistant at the Vancouver Public Library, and Managing Editor at Room. Chelene has worked as a Manuscript Consultant through SFU and has been published in various literary magazines and anthologies. Her second book, Dear Current Occupant, a memoir, is forthcoming with BookThug in 2018. Chelene is now working on a novel set in the 1940's in Vancouver's Hogan's Alley. Her first book, Braided Skin, was published by Mother Tongue Publishing in Spring 2015. Find out more about Chelene at cheleneknight.com and @poetchelene.

Quotes from the Episode

“I don't have a favourite genre. I have a favourite mindset: I have the power to change the world however I see fit.”

“Listen to the writing and follow it.”

“[At Room we are] #transparency. I don’t see many other magazines doing that right now.”

“You have a small window to do something amazing. You gotta drive it home really quick.”

Episode Credits

Host: Rachel Thompson
Audio Editor: Meghan Bell
Music: https://musicformakers.com/songs/the-return/
Production & Research Assistant: Gulnaz Saiyed
Produced by Room magazine and We Are Lit Writers (Rachel Thompson)

Season One of Lit Mag Love is sponsored by Lit Mag Love, an online course by Rachel Thompson

How Writing is like Running and Cycling: Andrea Bennett (Maisonneuve)

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About Maisonneuve

Maisonneuve literally means "new house" and suggests the spirit of collective enterprise the magazine gathers under one roof. The magazine takes its name from Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve, the man who founded Montreal in 1642. A teenage soldier who experienced something of a religious conversion in his twenties, de Maisonneuve came from Champagne, where his last remains can be found today.


About Andrea Bennett

andrea bennett's writing has been published by the Atlantic, the Globe and Mail, the Walrus, Maisonneuve, Hazlitt, Vice, Geist, Reader's Digest and others. Her essay, "Water Upon the Earth," received gold in the essays category at the 2015 National Magazine Awards; in 2013, her piece "Unmasked: Searching for lessons in Toronto's 2010 G20 debacle" received an NMA honourable mention in the politics and public interest category. andrea's first book of poetry, Canoodlers, came out with Nightwood Editions in 2014. She is currently working on travel guides to Montreal and Quebec City for Moon Travel.

andrea is the Editor-in-Chief of Maisonneuve, a researcher for Reader's Digest, a columnist at This magazine and the designer for PRISM. Originally from Hamilton, she currently lives in Montreal. She holds a BA in English and French from the University of Guelph, and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. She is represented by Stephanie Sinclair at Transatlantic.

Quotes from the Episode

“As an editor, it’s really important to cultivate a couple of things. One is an awareness of what’s been published elsewhere.”

“So poetry and prose are a little bit like running and cycling, in that there are some things that cross over and other things that don’t.”

“General interest magazines are looking for scenes, like action unfolding in time as opposed to anything too-too exposition heavy.”

Story Discussed

Andrea discussed Adam Elliott Segal's "Black Market Babies," non-fiction (longform magazine journalism).
Read it here: https://maisonneuve.org/article/2017/07/18/black-market-babies.

Episode Credits

Host: Rachel Thompson
Audio Editor: Meghan Bell
Music: https://musicformakers.com/songs/the-return/
Production & Research Assistant: Gulnaz Saiyed
Produced by Room magazine and We Are Lit Writers (Rachel Thompson)

Season One of Lit Mag Love is sponsored by Lit Mag Love, an online course by Rachel Thompson

Reading: Nahid Rachlin's "Three Sharp-Edged Memories"

Check out this interview with Nahid Rachlin on The Forge lit mag website.

Episode Credits:

Work by: Nahid Rachlin
Read by: Rachel Thompson
Audio Editor: Meghan Bell
Music: https://musicformakers.com/songs/the-return/

Production Assistant: Gulnaz Saiyed
Produced by Room magazine and We Are Lit Writers (Rachel Thompson)

Season One of Lit Mag Love is sponsored by Lit Mag Love, an online course by Rachel Thompson

No Subject is Off Limits featuring Shashi Bhat from Event Magazine

 Shashi Bhat:  EVENT

Shashi Bhat: EVENT

  EVENT  Magazine

EVENT Magazine

About EVENT Magazine

For 45 years, EVENT has published the very best in contemporary new poetry and prose. They are one of Western Canada’s longest-running literary magazines, and welcome submissions written in English from around the world. Each issue of EVENT includes high-quality fiction, poetry, non-fiction and book reviews, and they feature emerging and established writers side-by-side in their pages.

EventMagazine.ca

About Shashi Bhat

Shashi Bhat received an MFA in Fiction from The Johns Hopkins University and a BA in English from Cornell University. Her novel, The Family Took Shape, was released from Cormorant Books in 2013, and was one of three books shortlisted for the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Prize. Her stories have appeared in The Malahat Review, Grain, Journey Prize Stories 24, PRISM international, EVENT, The New Quarterly, The Threepenny ReviewThe Missouri Review and other journals. She was a finalist for the 2010 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award. She teaches creative writing at Douglas College and is the Editor of EVENT magazine.

ShashiBhat.com

Read "Bacchanalia" by Marcia Walker in EVENT 45/2

This is the piece Shashi Bhat discusses in the episode.

Quotes from the Episode:

3:59 “While I was working on my personal essay for medical school, I realized that I was way more into working on the essay then I was into actually any of the stuff I would actually be doing at medical school.”

5:15 “When I was in school I always loved my extracurriculars… and that’s kinda what working on a literary magazine feels like.”

22:16 “We’re looking for quality and we’re looking to be surprised.”

43:36 “No subjects are off-limits, but to try for an original take for some of the more tired subjects.”

 

Episode Credits:

Host: Rachel Thompson
Audio Editor: Meghan Bell
Music: https://musicformakers.com/songs/the-return/

Production & Research Assistant: Gulnaz Saiyed
Produced by Room magazine and We Are Lit Writers (Rachel Thompson)

Season One of Lit Mag Love is sponsored by Lit Mag Love, an online course by Rachel Thompson