“Maudlin House publishes literature that explores the human condition. We want to bear witness to the human circus, and the chains to which we are confined. Let’s be zealous and make something beautiful.” Read the submission guidelines here.
SQF: Why did you start this magazine?
Mallory Smart: I was just another writer going through the grind and submitting to literary magazines. Throughout, I would deal with messy sites, long response times, and outdated practices. One day it hit me that in this instant digital utopia we live in, these things are unacceptable. So I set out to create a publication that would dare to do better. I envisioned a magazine that combined a kind of “Dieter Rams” minimalism with visceral writing that hits you in the gut. We’re on the edge of a writing revolution and we hope to bring the power of publishing back to the writers.
SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?
MS: Does it elicit emotion? Does it challenge the literary status quo? Does it speak a certain truth? These are the core values of Maudlin House so we immediately look for those qualities in all our submissions.
SQF: What most often turns you off to a submission?
MS: When people don’t read our submission guidelines. It happens so much more than you’d think.
SQF: What are some of the publications you read most often?
MS: I’m a big fan of publications that transcend genre and medium like The Newer York. I also find myself constantly coming back to Synaesthesia Magazine and Flash Dogs.
SQF: If Maudlin House had a theme song, what would it be and why?
MS: Once We Were Anarchists by Frank Turner
It’s about revolutionaries who abandon their ideals to walk the straight and narrow. They give up the fight against a government and system that doesn’t work, to become a part of it.
We play it all the time while going through submissions. I think it constantly reminds me, along with the rest of Maudlin House, what not to become. We don’t want to be another flash in the pan that once had ideals but are now gatekeepers. I hope we never lose our childish, revolutionary fervor. Change and creativity is dependent on it.
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?
MS: “What plans does Maudlin House have for the future?”
We aim to expand into a fully functional publishing house. We have plans to do anthology print issues of our journal and to start accepting manuscripts for publication soon. In the long run, it is our hope that Maudlin House could extend its reach globally and help promote creative living worldwide. In a post-scarcity society it’s hard to not consume more than you create, but we hope through our example that people can find a balance. Publication shouldn’t be exclusive to just marketable writers because you can’t put a price on the human condition and we don’t plan to.
Thank you, Mallory. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.
NEXT POST: 3/17—Six Questions for Maura Snell and Jennifer Porter, Co-Founders, The Tishman Review