As a student-run small magazine in the Maritimes, we often hear rumours about similar publications in the rest of Canada–sometimes, we even meet fellow editors in our travels and our secret annual convention (the latter isn’t real, but we can dream). Being small has its detriments, but also its benefits. We were curious about how other publications ride out the hijinks that arise in the publishing industry and in CanLit communities.
Starting today, we’ll be profiling some of the small and/or student-run magazines we’ve gotten in touch with over the years. Check back weekly-or-so for more: we have litmags from Toronto, from Alberta, from Nova Scotia, and from Northern Ontario lined up. Read on, and celebrate with us the scrappy little magazines we cherish; join the #litmaglove .
Q: How long has your magazine been running, and how many issues do you publish per year?
E: We publish once a year and have been running since 2003.
Q: Where is your magazine based? Are you affiliated with a post-secondary institution?
E: University of Toronto, Department of English, Jackman Humanities Building, 8th Floor. As of February 2015, we are proud to announce our office includes a real, bona fide couch.
Q: Do you publish in print, online, or both?
E: Print for our official issue. We also post reviews, conversations, interviews and the occasional solicited writing piece on our website throughout the year.
Q: Current editors: please introduce yourselves.
E: Our editors hail from the Masters in Creative Writing Program or doctoral program in English Literature. Currently, our crew comprises of Laura Ritland, Liz Windhorst Harmer, Michael Prior, Nicole Grimaldi, André Babyn, Megan Harris, Joseph Thomas, Mitch Johnston, Leah Edwards and Kim Griffiths. We are real people. Full biographies here: http://echolocationmag.com/?page_id=606
Q: Describe the ethos of your magazine in three words (or more).
E: Inventive, young, heartfelt, crafted, energetic … dolphins, batman.
Q: What kind of submissions are you looking for?
E: Anything that surprises, moves, awes, amuses, complicates, baffles. We publish fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction and the occasional stage play.
Q: What are some of the ways your journal engages with its local writing community?
E: We run a reading series featuring alum of the MA Creative Writing Program and Canadian writers from near and abroad; we host conversations and interviews with other writers and editors; we present discussion panels on writing to the university and Toronto community. And we’re just generally around Toronto, yakking about literature with whoever listens. The squirrels around our department can recite Canadian poetry.
Q: What are some of the difficulties of operating as a student-run litmag?
E: Maintaining velocity; that is, preserving a set of constant goals and targets over several years. Our leading editors are masters students in Creative Writing which means, unfortunately, these staff aren’t here for very long before they’re replaced. Projects can fall to the wayside if caught between transitions in editorship. We forget what our progenitors did. We get distracted by paper deadlines and sparrows.
Q: What is the most exciting part of being a student-run litmag?
E: The amazing energy and talent of its students. Because our staff are often at the beginning of their writing and academic careers, we’re ravenous to meet new writers and get our paws on the latest and greatest writing out there. We’re in tune with the contemporary literary scene. We read constantly and voraciously. We’re often short of sleep, but never short of new ideas.
Q: Any last words, shout-outs, memorable 90s song lyrics to quote, etc.?
E: Never quote Irving Layton to a pigeon.