Friday, April 24, 2015

Six Questions for Nolan Liebert, Editor, Pidgeonholes

Pidgeonholes publishes short fiction to 1500 words and poetry no longer than 40 lines. Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Nolan Liebert: In reading, I noticed a distinct underrepresentation of "foreignness", in geoidentity, in other types of diversity, in shorter forms, and in the language and ideas being explored. So, I decided to help fill this niche.

SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?


  • Foreignness. Is the piece from an author outside the United States? Does the work take chances with its language, construction, or subject matter? Does the author self-identify, either in their cover-letter or biographical statement, as being part of a diverse group? I should be able to answer "Yes" to at least one of these questions.
  • Work that understands itself. There is a lot of experimental writing that is wild for the sake of being wild. I want the author to show me, through their work, that they understand why they've made the choices they have.
  • Staying power. I want a work to stay with me, to stay with the readers, long after the reading is done. The language, the story, the message. These things have to resonate on some level, whether it disturbs me emotionally or leaves me considering an uncommon point that was made with subtlety.

SQF: What most often turns you off to a submission?

NL: Not following the submission guidelines regarding work length, content, or cover letter. Beyond that, works lacking the things I'm looking for (foreignness, work that understands itself, and resonance).

SQF: Do you provide comments when you reject a submission?

NL: I try to respond personally, with comments, in every rejection. I think it's important to support other writers, and providing some form of constructive feedback is one way I can do that. However, there are times a piece is really excellent but doesn't fit the aesthetic I'm seeking. These works will get something more akin to a form rejection and my sincere best wishes.

SQF: What magazines/zines do you read regularly?

NL: I'm always looking for new and exciting things to read. Some of these come from big names like Strange Horizons and Apex, but I love a lot of the work put out by the likes of Hobart, Wigleaf, A cappella Zoo, Noble / Gas, The Collapsar, and Synaesthesia. These magazines publish strong work, have a focused aesthetic, and aren't afraid to take risks. I appreciate that.

SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?

NL: If you could see more of any type of submission, what would it be?

Microfiction. There are places out there for it, 50-Word Stories, SpeckLit, and others, but there's a lot that can be done in 50 - 300 words, so much more to explore. There's an art to it separate from that involved with poetry and other forms of fiction, and I would love to be able to help further its craft and readership.

Thank you, Nolan. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.

NEZT POST: 5/1—Six Questions for Madison Jones (and staff), Editor-in-Chief, Kudzu House Quarterly

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