Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Six Questions for Dr. Santosh Kumar, Chief Editor, Taj Mahal Review

The Taj Mahal Review is a print-only journal that publishes poetry, fiction, critical articles, and essays by first-time and previously published authors. Issues are published in June and December. Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

SK: The desire to start Taj Mahal Review was quite insistent as I wanted to publish an international journal transcending geographical boundaries so that new emerging authors may be published.

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

  1. Tense moments in the short story leading to an apt climax.
  2. There should be a gentle criticism of contemporary life, devoid of any malice or hatred against anyone.
  3. The style should appeal to our heart and imagination. It should have conversational ease.

SQF: What are the top three reasons a story is rejected, other than not fitting into your answers to the above question and why?

  1. I prefer plain, clear narrative to “flashes and half lights”.
  2. We reject the stories where the common reader cannot identify himself with the lead character.
  3. Short story has to be complete in itself, “a single-sitting read”.

SQF: What is it about the characters in a story that makes them pop off the page and grab hold of you?

SK: The inner conflict of the characters is indispensable. Moreover, the story attracts us more if the first-person narrator is not anonymous and is identified by the readers.

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

SK: At times we provide comments on the rejected stories, but our criticism is always gentle, neither ironical nor satiric. Emerging writers should be encouraged at every stage by the editors.

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

SK: The big question is how to increase the readership of shorter fiction, nonfiction. Selling creative writing is tough. The materialistic world of today is indifferent towards creative literature.

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

NEXT POST: 7/2--Six Questions for Steve Gillis, Co-Founder/Publisher and Dan Wickett, Co-Founder/Executie Director/Publisher, Dzanc Books


  1. This section of pertinent Q&A is enlightening to a novice such as myself. My body of short stories are stand alone entities seeking a voice through me. This Q & A stimulates me to do better for them in personalizing their emotional side as opposed to just offering their individual story for consideration. As the willing vessel, I know they have more to tell me about themselves. They, the stories are as eager as I to find their place in this world of words.

  2. CHARLES VAN HEYDEN I think it essential for a publisher or editor or their staff to at minimum give some helpful comments when rejecting a story, since any author who has gone to the trouble of writing AND submitting work has done a great deal and deserves proportionately a worthy reply. On that count I hasten to promote and to applaud Dr. Kumar's sentiments and policy above.