Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Six Questions for Juli Min, Editor-in-Chief, The Shanghai Literary Review

"The Shanghai Literary Review features quality creative work from or about Asia and introduces new voices to the critical conversation on world literature." The journal includes fiction of fewer than 5,000 words, poetry, non-fiction and essays of fewer than 5,000 words, flash fiction/non-fiction of fewer than 500 words, visual art, translation and book reviews. Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Juli Min: When I came to Shanghai, there was no center to the English language literary community. This felt strange, because the expat population is so large ~200,000, and also because there are several large publications (TimeOut, for example) that have books and literature sections. What the literary community seemed to consist of was visiting talks and readings, one literary festival in Shanghai that is quite limited in terms of seating and pricing, and no English language literary journals or reviews. Given that Beijing and even Chengdu have English language journals, I thought that Shanghai was missing out on an opportunity to add her voice to the mix. I couldn't even find a decent open mic reading when I came. In the end, TSLR is here not just to produce a publication and introduce new voices to the world literature scene, but also our group supports writers and artists by putting together indie book festivals, monthly open mic nights, and other events.

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

JM: Voice, artistry, originality. An interesting narrative voice, well done humor, or powerful prose style can really take a story far all on its own. Artistry tells me a writer cares about his or her craft, and it separates good stories from good and beautiful stories. I like to reward artists and writers taking risks with their craft. We're an indie journal and if we believe something is good, though unconventional, we want to help it get out into the world.

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

JM: Tired travelogue about poor but cute brown children, cliche stories about teaching English in Asia

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

JM: We occasionally provide comments.

SQF: Your guidelines state there will be an end-of-year contest with cash prizes. Can you provide more details on this?

JM: It's our first year, so we're going to nail down and announce the contest details closer to November. We will have several prizes, and winners will be chosen from our online and print pieces (Issues 1 & 2). In addition to running our own prizes, we're excited to nominate some of our writing for international writing prizes—we think some of the pieces deserve more attention, and we want to help them get it!

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

JM: What's on deck for your journal?

We're super excited about Issue 2, and as our team is international (NYC and Shanghai) we plan to have two release parties for Issue 2 this winter, one in NYC and one in Shanghai. We also are looking forward to working on our special edition publication called CONCRETE, which will be a collection of personal essays about various cities in China, accompanied by photography. We're currently accepting submissions for this, as well as Issue 2, as well as art submissions for our Issue 2 cover art contest.

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

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