Friday, April 5, 2019

Six Questions for Jay Chakravarti, Founder/Editor, CultureCult Magazine

CultureCult Magazine publishes fiction, non-fiction, poetry, opinion pieces, interviews, and more. Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine? 

Jay Chakravarti: Although it was the aspect of storytelling that brought me closer to the Arts and especially literature, I have always been curious about the behind-the-scene aspects of publishing and design. Designing and editing a magazine had been on my wishlist since my days in college, around the time I discovered the many worthy voices and opinions that go unheard in this postmodern state of cacophony. Thus, I finally started CultureCult Magazine in October 2015, three years after finishing the Master's program in English literature at the University of Calcutta.

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

JC: The first thing has to be grammatical consistency. Spelling mistakes are a downer, so is bad grammar, even though I enjoy an exceptional work in smartly written local creole.

The second thing, be it fiction or non-fic, has to be the 'story'. There are stories bearing stark visuals or originality while others treat a tried and tested subject with a supreme penmanship and a fresh perspective. I like both approaches, provided they are done well.

The last thing is the je ne se quois - that undefinable quality that separates a good work from a not-so-good one! I do believe editing involves a lot of gut-feeling when it comes to selecting the eventual line-up of an issue. Sometimes, one is right. Sometimes, one ends up regretting some decisions in hindsight! It's all in a day's work, really!

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

JC: The faulty spelling and grammar thing, I suppose. It practically determines whether I am able to finish reading a submission or not!

SQF: What do you look for in the opening paragraph(s)/stanza(s) of a submission?

JC: I would be lying if I said I look for a hook in the first paragraph/stanza itself. It always helps when the writer has my attention by the end of the first paragraph/stanza, but I like to believe I am a patient editor, so if the first whiff of 'magic' comes in the second or third paragraph/stanza instead, it won't be an issue if the overall work has promise.

SQF: Many editors list erotica, or sex for sex sake, as hard sells. What are hard sells for your publication?

JC: Call me old fashioned, but I find it hard to attach the concept of "hard sell"  to what is essentially a labour of love. Any endeavour, I believe, has to be a labour of love to have a meaningful existence in the first place. It maybe easy to secure some easy reads/purchases by featuring something that 'sells' but I do believe that it's the perfect balance of our curated content, design and art that brings dedicated readers, writers and followers to our magazine.

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

JC: Where is the magazine published from? Which genres do you prefer?

CultureCult Magazine publishes from Kolkata, India. We do not discriminate submissions on the basis of genre, we merely wish to publish the best effort of the artist and hope that we remain open minded enough to feature as many genres and points of view as we possibly can.

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

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