Litmag profile: Glass Buffalo

This week: Qwerty swings West to salute Glass Buffalo of Edmonton.


The gorgeous, eerie cover of GB’s Fall 2014 issue.

Q: How long has your magazine been running, and how many issues do you publish per year?

GB: Glass Buffalo’s first issue was published back in the spring of 2012, and we’ve now grown to publish three issues per year: in March, July, and September.

Q: Where is your magazine based? Are you affiliated with a post-secondary institution?

GB: The magazine is based in Edmonton, Alberta, and although we currently publish writing from undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Alberta, we are not officially affiliated with the university.

Q: Do you publish in print, online, or both?

GB: We only publish in print as we’re big fans of creating tangible, ink-and-paper objects for our writers to exist in and our readers to enjoy (but our first issue is available to read online, as we could only publish a limited run of it).

Q: Current editors: please introduce yourselves.

GB: My name is Matthew Stepanic, and I’m the editor of Glass Buffalo. I graduated from the University of Alberta with a BA Honours in English back in 2012, and I also took several Creative Writing courses during my degree. Since graduating, I’ve worked as a copyeditor/proofreader for June Warren-Nickle’s Energy Group, and I’m currently the assistant editor for WHERE Edmonton. You may never have guessed it, but I love reading, and my ideal Friday night is spent with a book and a glass of wine.

Q: Describe the ethos of your magazine in three words (or more).

GB: Uplifting, engaging, mythic power.

Q: What kind of submissions are you looking for?

GB: Our only requirement for a submission is that it comes from a current student at the U of A. We don’t like to restrict the submissions more than that because we’re always pleasantly surprised to find connections between the writing we do publish each issue.

Q: What are some of the ways your journal engages with its local writing community?

GB: We partner with literary festivals (LitFest: Edmonton’s Nonfiction Festival, Edmonton Poetry Festival, and the Creative Age Festival) and other creative groups in the city in order to create opportunities for our writers to share their work with the community. Whenever we can, we try to work with professional organizations in Alberta to find ways for our writers to gain more access to their events and programs, such as through discounted rates.

Q: What are some of the difficulties of operating as a student-run litmag?

GB: Though everyone who works on the magazine is now an alumnus, promoting content from emerging writers often poses a challenge because people sometimes prefer to read writers they’re already familiar with. And working around students’ hectic schedules when you’re trying to plan an event or hear back about changes for a story can pose difficulties, but it helps to be patient and flexible.

Q: What is the most exciting part of being a student-run litmag?

GB: The most exciting part is definitely discovering and sharing new talent. All of the great writers in Canada started somewhere, and it’s an honour to give a signal boost to the many talented writers that we include in every issue and to watch them succeed with their writing elsewhere.

Q: Any last words, shout-outs, memorable 90s song lyrics to quote, etc.?

GB: We’re incredibly grateful to all of our mentors in the magazine industry who worked with us when we were first starting out and who continue to encourage us. Thanks for telling us that we’ll “never know if we don’t go” and we’ll “never shine if we don’t glow.”


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