Sixteen Magazine are calling Submissions for Issue 5: Black
“Black is not sad. Bright colours are what depresses me. They’re so… empty. Black is poetic. How do you imagine a poet? In a bright yellow jacket? Probably not.” ― Ann Demeulemeester
We’re looking for poems and short stories with the theme of black. There are no big rules except your piece of work should be the best it can be. It should be as long as it needs to be and it should be ready for publication. Please see our full submission guidelines before you submit.
To submit your work, please email it in any of the following formats: doc, docx, txt, rtf to firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to make sure the subject line has the word “SIXTEEN” in it or we won’t be able to email you back.
Gosh, I don’t even care about the whole New Year’s Even thing but I do like the tidiness that comes with a brand new day on the 1st of January and when the supermarkets take all of the nonsense away off their shelves and start preparing for Easter or Halloween or something.
Christmas is an excellent time for getting the reading done. The open fire. The glass of fizzy minerals to sip on. The chocolates. They all add to that reading feeling. This Christmas Day I received 2 books. It is a strange one, surely my gifts should be 100% book related. Don’t all of you know I LOVE reading? My husband knew and my writing group homie knew. Therefore, I received a huge copy of the mustard-coloured Winter Papers Volume 2 annual. It is fab. It is made up of artwork, interviews, fiction and poetry. It is a true fest. Despite the fact that Kevin Barry is one of the editors(with Olivia Smith), there is no new fiction from him but it might be a bit egotistical if he did that, I guess and I think he is not that way.
The second gift I received was the Mslexia Writing Diary for 2017. Full of prompts, sections to write my personal details in(I love this!), interviews, recommended reading and prompts, it is a real writer’s gift. It is simply gorgeous and will be used and is being used already!
I treated myself to Donal Ryan’s new novel, All we shall know. I have a problem remembering the title always of this book. I keep thinking it is “All that we shall know” or “All that is left behind” or simple “All” The novel is narrated by a pregnant lady and it is broken up into weeks. I am at 20 weeks already and Donal, as per usual is compelling, full-on with his strong language and depressing all at once. It will catch you by the first paragraph. I am reading this for a book club I set up in work.
Plenty to keep me busy and out of trouble anyway. I also keep calling the Kevin Barry annual by its incorrect name of Winter Pages. It is Winter Papers!
I am originally from a small village in the West of Ireland. It takes us about 5-6 hours to get from my home in Carlow to my Mum’s house! so, Simon and I listen to New Yorker Fiction and Poetry Podcasts as there are hundreds of them available for free.
A well-known author reads a short story from another well-known author previously published in the New Yorker Magazine. For book lovers, each podcast is an hour of bliss. The New Yorker Fiction editor, Deborah Treisman is the Editor of the New Yorker Fiction magazine and is a brilliant interviewer. She always comes across as really serious and sometimes as if she doesn’t understand the short stories that are being read out! Obviously, being who she is, this is her way of getting to the nub of the story and pulling some good stuff out of the writer she is interviewing.
On the way down, we listened to David Means’ short story, the Spot being read by Jonathan Franzen. It is a most excellent story and we enjoyed the poetic rhythm and messed up characters and general naughtiness. On the way back, we listened to short story-hero of mine, Kevin Barry read Brian Friel’s, Saucer of Larks. Kevin is always very entertaining and his readings of stories are the best. He had Deborah giggling and laughing away.
You can hear Kevin read here at http://www.newyorker.com/podcast/fiction/kevin-barry-reads-brian-friel
and Jonathan read David Mean at http://www.newyorker.com/podcast/fiction/jonathan-franzen-reads-david-means
I use a free app called Podcast addict which downloads all the NY Fiction and poetry podcasts for me and has them ready for long, long, long roadtrips. Enjoy.
I wrote a story called “In the event of a sudden loss in cabin pressure” for the Post-Celtic Edition of Wordlegs magazine back in 2013. Elizabeth Reapy was the Editor and I was so chuffed to be featured in that edition. I got to read my story at the 10 days in Dublin Festival and it felt good.
Last year, when I was busy growing a baby inside me, a man called Pete Clark contacted me. He told me that he had discovered my story “In the Event of a Sudden Loss in Cabin Pressure” during Summer 2013 from Wordlegs Press and that he was currently using it in a short unit on Irish literature for his Grade 10 class. How did he discover Wordlegs magazine? He told me it was through a man named Victor Luftig. He has worked at Brandeis University, University of Virginia, and other places. Here’s his bio. Pete told me he had been a big inspiration regarding teaching and academics and bringing it to high school students.
Pete asked me if I would speak with his classes via skype one evening so we set up a meeting there and then! I had an energetic discussion and Q and A with the two classes who are looking at my story and I thoroughly enjoyed it. They had taken such time and care to put together questions and thoughts about it, the Irish and literature, the Celtic Tiger and recession and how these had impacted on writing here. We talked about the themes of expatriation and repatriation that are parts of many cultures, but have certain and unique questions when applied to our Irish experience and how that impacts on literature and the arts.
It felt great, thanks to Victor, Pete Clark and the students.
My story “In the event of a sudden loss in cabin pressure” ( and some other ones) in the WordLegs Magazine can be downloaded and read here.posttigerstories
SixteenLiterary Magazine is a free online magazine that aims to use the 1916 centenary to help emerging and professional writers craft new work based on the 1916 Easter Rising. We are deeply interested in how Ireland has changed in the last 100 years since and want to explore how the events of that week in 1916 have shaped us as a nation today or if they did at all.
Neither of the editors of Sixteen are historians. We are interested in good writing and we’re not adverse to a bit of visual art.
On the 16th of every month leading up to the 16 months before April 2016, we will publish an issue of our magazine online with the best pieces of work we receive. Each month, we will give a prompt relating to the Easter Rising. It might be an event, a character, a building or a piece of art. We will offer some ideas to whet your creative juices and then it’s up to you.
All submissions should follow our guidelines and we only accept work through our web form. Editors have the final decision on the final piece. Your piece of writing may need editorial help and support and we reserve all rights to make these changes to ensure the standard is good for our magazine.
Please, go to www.sixteen.ie to view the magazine, submission guidelines and possible prompts and themes. You may be inspired by the themes or not! Your response can be loose or tight!
How long have you been interested in writing and the literary world?
Alex: For has long as I’ve been reading I’ve been interested in writing and the literary world. I vividly remember ripping off Enid Blyton stories when I was about 8 years old. I would plagiarize the heck out of them and then collect them all in a notebook I had stolen from my mother that I would refer to as ‘my book’. My first ‘novel’ was written at age 12 and had a print run of 3 copies. I believe it was called War of the Heart and was historical fiction set during World War II. It was predictably terrible.
Gráinne: I have been an avid reader my whole life but was seventeen before I started writing. I had never really been one for keeping diaries or anything like that, but I started to write down random thoughts. It was a therapeutic exercise mostly, but some of these thoughts became scenes of dialogues. My first ‘novel’ was a shocking attempt at chick lit, which saw a teenager run away with her boyfriend’s father. Not sure what issues I was trying to work out at the time. Thankfully my work has become a bit more focused and less pervy.
The Silver Apples Magazine has quite an open and wide ranging ethos in terms of the pieces it wants writers to submit. You accept any genre or medium and you don’t mind if they are not thought provoking or well written. They can be literary but probably just need to be entertaining. Can you tell us what you do not want then as there must be pieces that are “just not your bag, baby”?
Alex: We really do mean it when we say that we are open to reading and publishing submissions from pretty much any genre. If they fit the brief and work well with the other accepted submissions then it really doesn’t matter if they are romance, slipstream, or just plain silly. We know what we like when we see it!
Gráinne: I can see how it appear to be a bit random, but there is a method to our madness. We love quirk. We love that piece that you are afraid to submit somewhere else because you think its too nerdy, or it won’t be understood. We love to laugh and to debate about what the writer was thinking when they wrote it, drew it or photographed it. And to believe that the thing they were thinking was bizarre, weird and probably a bit sick and twisted.
What would grab your attention in terms of literary writing being submitted to the Silver Apples Magazine?
Alex: There are a LOT of magazines out there dedicated to publishing solely literary works. We are not one of those magazines. For a ‘literary’ piece to be accepted by us it has to come with a little something extra – a quirkiness, an off-beat quality, something that would horrify your secondary school English teacher.
Gráinne: I don’t want to have to work too hard when I am reading something. Sometimes it is great, but sometimes Ulysses is not appropriate. Silver Apples Magazine is not a place to show off your writing skills. We know you have skills. We want you to show off your imagination, your passion, your eccentricity, in a safe space.
I love writing prompts and you do too! Where do you get your ideas from for prompts and why do you like this approach?
Alex: We like the idea of giving each issue a theme or a prompt because we feel it adds some cohesion to the magazine. Because we accept different art forms from a range of genres, the lack of an overarching theme could make the magazine seem a little disjointed or out of whack. Believe it or not, an incredible amount of thought goes into putting the issue together. We want pieces that will work together and create an entity that’s greater than the sum of its parts. We get our ideas by bouncing them off each other and seeing what sticks. We always want something that can be interpreted many different ways, something that can be subverted and analysed and picked apart by our contributors.
Gráinne: The prompts we put on twitter are really just fun ways of showing off our personalities. I think if we adapted the mentality we have with the magazine (if we like it we publish it, end of) without any kind of theme, it would get kind of messy. Sometimes we find ourselves searching for the theme in a piece we really like, before we eventually decide if we can’t find it, our readers won’t either, and that is not fair to the submitters who really embraced the theme and went with it, so we have to turn it down unfortunately.
What is your favourite literary magazine?
Alex: Ireland has a lot of really great and well-renowned literary magazines such as the Stinging Fly (which is beautiful and well worth a read). But for something a bit different, I would have to say that Albedo One has been a personal favourite of mine for a few years now. I even wrote my Master’s Thesis about them (in part). They are the only lit magazine in Ireland to solely publish works of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Speculative Fiction. They have rejected me many times so you know they have discerning taste! Outside of Ireland, recent finds have included Quantum Fairytales (they give me serious cover envy) and, since I’m currently living in Canada and it is a very well-regarded Toronto institution, Tattle Creek.
Gráinne: I love Quantum Fairytales at the moment too, though my favourite in general is the Cork based magazine The Penny Dreadful. They have a great attitude and the stuff they had published so far is top quality. Their tweets are also hilarious. I have tween envy sometimes from reading them.
What book are you reading at this very moment?
Alex: Gráinne and I are reading a number of books in preparation for a super secret project and if we told you about it we’d have to kill you (no, seriously). Aside from that, I am currently reading Death Masks, the fifth Dresden Files novel because the last two books I read were Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughtry (which I did not like) and Frog Music by Emma Donoghue (which I thought was OK but not as good as Room) and I needed some easy-reading, vampire-fighting wizardry in my life. I swear, I pretty much read anything and everything! Oh and I’m also working my way through the backlist of the Hellblazer comics.
Gráinne: I am currently working on my first sci-fi novel and to that end have been reading books, graphic novels and poems that take place in another world. A world that couldn’t possibly exist, but you believe it does because the author laid it out beautifully for you. It had resulted in some really bizarre combinations. On my holidays last week I read Fahrenheit 451, three Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics, and Neil Gaiman’s new kids’ book Fortunately, the Milk. And of course, the super secret project books….
Though, you have just released your first issue, could you already describe the vibe of the Silver Apples magazine in 3 words.
Alex: Quirky, entertaining, fun
In your second issue, you have given a prompt of “Box of Tricks” for would be submitters, can you expand on this or give examples of where writers could go with this?
Alex: You are asking what could lurk inside the Box of Tricks? That is a dangerous question with an answer that differs for each person. Look inside yourself, pull the rabbit out of the hat and see what else emerges, make like Pandora…Dreams, nightmares, comedy, tragedy, truths and lies are all found within.
Gráinne: When I think Box of Tricks, I think magic, mystery, all the plot twists and turns you can image for good measure. Anything could happen and anything goes. But I want to be lured from the beginning, and shocked at the end.
Thanks so much for your time, Grainne and Alex. Wishing you all the very best in writing and reading for the second issue of the Silver Apples Magazine!
Rozz Lewis, June 2014
Gráinne O’Brien is known for her love of many things, but mostly academics and Harry Potter. Graduated from University of Limerick with a BA in English and History, and an MA in Gender Culture and Society, she has spent the last six years bouncing between conference organising, office managing, fiction writing, academic writing, and blogging. She has been published academically several times. She has just returned from a year working for a start up in Silicon Valley, where she learned how not to run a company, along with a bunch of other tech information she will never use again. Her latest accomplishment is the soon to be published Good Madness: A Collection of Essays on the writer Neil Gaiman, which she co-edited with Alex.
Alex Dunne is many things – Irish ex-pat, prolific tea drinker and errant writer of SF & Fantasy. She graduated from the University of Limerick with a BA in English and History (where she met Gráinne and bonded over crosswords and shared nerdiness) and went on to obtain an MA in Literature and Publishing from NUI Galway. Alex has previously been on the publishing team of ROPES 2010 (the annual literary magazine of NUI Galway) and some of her writing was featured in What We Didn’t Know Existed (the anthology of the Toronto Street Writers) and Congruent Spaces.
It is impossible to keep up with the amount of excellent literary journals and magazines available on the net these days but the Irish or “Swift” edition of Literary Orphans Magazine was always going to hook me in!
I’ve been in touch with Mike from across the way in Chicago and want to thank him for detailed answers.
First of all, great idea and fabulous Irish themed issue! I know that James is from Ireland but where there any other reasons that Literary Orphans was determined to run an “Oirish” issue?
Mike Joyce: The inspiration for the Swift issue of Literary Orphans Journal hit me while watching Tim Pat Coogan and Robert Ballagh speak at a panel discussing Seamus Heaney, shortly after the great poet’s death, at the IrishAmericanHeritageCenter in Chicago. The conversation at one point turned to Tim Pat Coogan’s latest book, The Famine Plot.
In the USA, in most public school history texts, we’re taught that the famine was a direct result of the blight and because the Catholic Irish “over-bred,” and now there’s 30 million Americans with Irish surnames in their bloodline including 12 Presidents; now there’s Celtic romance novels and that dancing danced here by people in California with an Enya fetish and that’s that.
No textbooks mentioned the shiploads of grain and foodstuff leaving Irish ports as armed guards watched over. They didn’t mention Nassau Senior saying the famine “would not kill more than one million people, and that would scarcely be enough to do any good.” I didn’t read anything about property taxes and citizens without votes. No textbooks brought up the idea that there is a ghost of the famine haunting the current Irishperson’s mindset, influencing population rate, economy, and more.
I realized at that moment, that unlike what my textbooks glossed over, the cultural inheritance of Ireland would not. As the conversation veered back to Seamus Heaney and his inclusion in many anthologies as a “British” writer, and the pressure to separate his public self from any Irish foreign politics in order to become acclaimed for the skill he so clearly had–it made me consider the need to showcase Irish writing for what it was, not linked with British or post-colonial or American lit. Irish writing that reflected the complexities of modern Ireland. Irish writing with no theme. In many ways, even though we describe it as a “themed” issue, it’s really a non-themed, themed issue… if that makes any sense. There is no general vibe, no motif, no genre at work in these pieces. Roughly 75% of the contributors are from Ireland, and many of the others are directly writing about a trip there or an experience with someone from there that impacted their lives. This issue is a mash-up of Catholics, Protestants, historical pastures and future dystopias, current present and current past, fantastic “hags” and gritty cement cities, but no general theme to speak of.
I contacted James Claffey, Fiction Editor of the journal. James was present when we did a similar issue, Maria Tallchief, highlighting Native American authors. I brought up the idea to him, and he was right their with me and chomped at the bit. Personally speaking, I wanted to explore the idea what it means to be Irish and to be a writer today. I wanted to get my thumb on the pulse of the mindset. I wanted to learn. I wanted to create a big-tent and I wanted to see the Irish come into that tent and lay it out, lay it all out on the line.
I saw that in spades.
Tell me about how you met James Claffey and how the idea for Literary Orphans magazine came about?
MJ: Literary Orphans Journal was the result of the writing group called ‘literary orphans’ that I created about 4 years ago. Scott Waldyn (our current Managing Editor) and Leanne Gregg (Fiction Editor alongside James) were involved in that group. By the time 2012 rolled around, it was becoming more and more difficult for us to meet in person, so I was charged with creating a way for us to communicate online and workshop. I created a journal instead.
James Claffey was published in that inaugural issue–that was the first time I met James. One year later, we were expanding staff and James Claffey became our second Fiction Editor.
Tell me about your background in writing, reading and the general arts.
MJ: I received my BA in Rhetoric from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in 2009. I believe writing comes from the heart, that the only reason to do it is to share your heart–not to make money. I’ve shared it in a fair few publications over the past few years. I measure writing’s success in influence, not in dollar signs. But this, editing, this is what I do. It’s my identity. I’m the guy that does Literary Orphans Journal.
Let’s keep it Irish, who do you rate as literary brilliance in the Irish literary scene?
MJ: James Claffey! After James, everyone we published in this issue. For a celebrity writers? Roddy Doyle has been a constant inspiration to me since I first read his work 5 years ago. Really excited and hopeful to see more from Darragh McKeon, too, All That Is Solid Melts Into Airreally hit hard.
What were you hoping for when you put the call out for the Irish issue of Literary Orphans? What did you know you would be rejecting straightway?
MJ: Anything that was “oirish” as you put it, anything that was inauthentic, anything that mistook a Hollywood idea for Ireland for the reality. We were hoping for honest writing. We were inundated in it. When James put out that call for submissions, he hit the nail on the head. To be honest, there were only a very small amount of oirish pieces, the majority of submitters knew exactly where we were coming from. Choosing was not easy, I don’t envy James. There is a reason this is our largest issue compiled.
Do you believe that everyone can write or is there a level that certain writers reach that they cannot overcome?
MJ: I think it all depends on why you write.
Write to make money and win chicks? I think we’d have to ask Dan Brown and Stephenie Meyer how to succeed at that one.
Write to share your heart? Then it’s a constant fight to pick the manacles of your brain. To me, good writing comes when the author has attained a certain mental state, a certain mental level. That level is a strange mix of intense self-analytics and dumbing yourself down into a torpor to write without any inhibitions. The best writing only works if it’s a haymaker–if you can throw that punch with no regard for what happens afterwards. We all have it in us. I think if you can achieve that state, you’re halfway there. The rest is all learned; applying techniques to convey the emotion you want so passionately to share.
Which book is on your bedside locker?(I.e. The one you are currently reading, there may be a few if you are like me!)
MJ: Ah I see you’re after my own heart! I have 3 books going right now: Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby, Junkie Love by Joe Clifford, andLions, Remonstrance by Shelly Taylor.
Have the more traditional story telling in Ireland like Frank O Connor and William Trevor any place in the literary scene in America and Ireland? What can we learn from these authors?
MJ: I’m probably not the best to speak on this. I am (both as a writer and reader) very much a fan of plot-driven narrative. I think that’s something we can take from Frank O’Connor. I think that sometimes literary writers get caught up in that technical side I mentioned earlier; it’s the literary equivalent of a long, noodly, masturbatory guitar solo that by the end of which the only person left on the floor holding a plastic cup is the writer’s significant other.
In Ireland, we have some fine and very established literary magazines like the Stinging Fly and The Moth that showcase new and established writing talent. What would be your favorite literary magazines?
Birkensnake, The Penny Dreadful Magazine (love those guys, Cork based), Ninth Letter, PANK, Midwestern Gothic, many many others.
I love the fact that the Irish edition of Literary Orphans referred to the past of 1916 rising and the present day meeting of The Queen and our President in its editorial statement. Would Literary Orphans see the anniversary of 1916 as a potentially powerful time to celebrate difference and the evolution of the arts in Ireland? It may give you an idea for a future issue!
MJ: I’m already prepping to ask James to do this by sending him small gifts to soften the blow of the huge amount of work I’d be asking of him. It’s the 100-year-anniversary. I don’t see how we can’t do it.
Have you ever been to Ireland? If so, where and if not, what type of symbols and characters come to mind when thinking of Irish literatures?
MJ: I have not! My vacations these days are to “rust belt” capitals like St. Louis, MO and Providence, RI to give you an idea of my budget. As soon as I can afford it, I’ll be over there.
Symbols and characters from Irish writing? Hm; the transformation of that annoying nonverbal brat Stephen Dedalus from Portrait of… to the more guilt-ridden and mature Stephen we meet in Ulysses, Yeats as a character all his own, Malone and his pencil in Malone Dies, Sinbad and matches from Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, the portrait in The Picture of Dorian Gray, that florin in “Araby,” the geography of Ireland is pervasive and I get a different yet unified flavor in many books and poems from Irish literature. Geography and place are really important to me and my writing, although my geography looks very different. Still, green fields and stone fences, nighttime hazy brickwork forests, those are things I think of when I think of what Irish writing has given me.
Thanks to Mike for this, go to www.literaryorphans.org for the latest issue of the Irish Literary Orphans and for details on how to submit. I’ll have James’ answers up next week so do come back!