Literary Journals, literary reviews, or literary magazines (you can call them any of these three) are collections of writing that tend to be either essays, poems, or short stories. Although they do contain content from already established and reputed authors, these magazines are also a great way for new authors to bring their work to light. In recent years there has been an increase in literary journals or at least their promotion on social media, specifically Twitter, used as the main form of social media for a lot of companies. This has led me to devise this list of journals that I consider to be of note within the journal environment and that I think are a valuable addition to a reader's collection.
A well-known and reputed journal that has published works by Sylvia Plath and John Freeman among others. Established in 1889 by a group of students at Cambridge University, Granta has evolved from 'a periodical of student politics, badinage and literary enterprise' as described on their website, into the quarterly periodical it is today. Granta mixes poetry, prose, essays, and art within its magazine and this gives a voice to a plethora of artists and writers. As of today, the company also has their own print so they publish around 30 books a year and you can engage with their content in multiple ways as they also have a podcast you can listen to directly on their website. They also have a series of videos titled 'Granta's Best of Young American Novelists' on YouTube.
What makes Granta special is the fact that their merging of different types of art allows for an entertaining read as no two pieces in each issue will be the same. This journal is for people who are interested in multiple mediums of literature and art and want to explore and discover new talent. each issue has a different theme and engages with authors from all around the world making it an international experience.
This journal holds a specific niche in mind as it focuses primarily and almost exclusively on short stories. Riptide is a fairly recent publication, founded in 2006 by Virginia Baily and Sally Flint. Working with both established and emerging authors, Riptide has a well-balanced mix of both new talent and fan favorites, making it the perfect mix for readers to enjoy their favorite authors and also discover new ones. The submission process for the publication is quite open as they tend to put a call on their socials allowing anyone to send in a piece of work. There is no discrimination as to who's work is published since everyone gets a fair chance at being published which adds value as it opens the door for new authors.
Despite mainly focusing on short stories, there have been issues in which the publication has decided to include some poetry to add dimension to the issue. Furthermore, the publication also has a different theme for every issue which brings different niches and authors every time. This is a great journal for someone who enjoys short story format and hard-hitting stories as some of the themes from the last few years have been quite heavy. As of recently, the newer volumes have a trigger warnings page to ensure the safety of the readers.
Established in 1959 by Dr. Martin Bax, Ambit magazine is a mix of both literature and art; again, for people who enjoy more than one creative medium. It is infamously known for asking its writers to provide writing that was done while they were under the influence of drugs. Furthermore, the magazine is quarterly meaning there are four issues published a year, two made entirely from unsolicited submissions, which are pieces of work that have been sent to them without a commission. The other two issues are referred to by the company as "Pop editions", meaning they are comprised of commissioned pieces or competition winners. Having an issue for commissioned and another for non-commissioned work gives the reader the option to decide the type of content they want to engage with; whether they want to read potentially undiscovered artists or if they want a more experienced, probably already published author. Giving these options are, in. my opinion one of the main selling points of the journal.
A volunteer-run organisation with the aim of promoting " the work of women, BAME, LGBTQIA+, nonbinary, neurodivergent, disabled, migrant/immigrant/refugee, working class/low income and mature creators; voices that have historically been excluded or marginalised by literary and other creative industries." Oranges focus on three main types of content: fiction, mental health, and lifestyle, and their content is fully digital and therefore completely free. The aim of this journal is to give people a voice that can be heard by anyone, anywhere and that is exactly what they are achieving. Their fiction section focuses on short stories and flash fiction while the mental health section focuses on the open dialogue related to previously taboo subjects like rape, sex, and sexuality; and lifestyle is focused on cultural commentary and deep dive essays on a wide range of topics. They inform of when they are accepting their submissions through their social platforms and thanks to their open submission plan, anyone can be published. This is another great journal if you are interested in discovering new writers and are interested in supporting marginalised communities.
There are plenty of journals to satiate your niche whatever it might be, these are just some recommendations to guide you if you are new to the journal scene or if you are looking for publications to submit your work to. Either way, journals are a great way of discovering new writers, genres, and artists. Being involved with this community, whether that be contributing to it through creating or engaging, is a great community to be a part of in order to uplift new talent.
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