The best literary magazines set the bar the for the crème de la crème of contemporary fiction and introduce new and exciting voices. In this two-part series we’ll list eight Literary Magazines that have put in the hard work this year and are on their way to becoming the most exciting and vibrant on the scene. Here are our first four favorites.
Slice Magazine Like a more lit-centric Bomb or a more accessible Granta, Slice is a rare combination of progressive and established. Slice was founded by two young Brooklynites who at the time had their fingers firmly gripped around the frosty steel rungs of the publishing industry ladder, yet Slice lacks publishing industry pretensions. Each Slice issue explores a heavy theme, like “obsession” or “the unknown” and includes visual artwork, poetry, essays and fiction that reflects that theme. Slice has included work by your Rick Moodys and Francine Proses but it also keeps the gates open and barbarian-free for new writers. Slice is not unlike the literary magazines of yore, but it has that idealistic Brooklyn upstart flair that has fueled successful literary ventures like Franklin Park Reading Series or Mellow Pages. In 2014 Slice is due to become the most talked about literary magazine in town.
Armchair/Shotgun Armchair Shotgun’s anonymous submissions policy is truly brave, but it’s also been quite successful, and has proven that cream truly can rise when given the opportunity. Their submission policy and mission statement is put pretty succinctly on their website, At Armchair/Shotgun, we do not care about your bio. We read all submissions anonymously, and conceal even an author’s name until a piece has been selected for publication. We feel that good writing does not know one MFA program from another. It does not know a PhD from a high school drop-out. Good writing does not know your interstate exit or your subway stop, and it does not care what you’ve written before. Good writing knows only story. Now, four issues in, A/S has disproved the notion, espoused by past magazines, that big names get published simply because they produce the only quality submissions. A/S also accepts poetry and visual art but from the fiction standpoint, A/S is filled with gripping, well-told fiction, without regard for the ebb and flow of literary trends. Score another one for Brooklyn.
Joyland Founded by Brookylnites Brian Joseph Davis and Emily Schultz, Joyland has a team of editors assigned to different regions throughout the U.S. and Canada. Writers submit based on where they are from and thus Joyland selections often have a strong sense of place. For all the literary magazines out there that focus on fiction, poetry, non-fiction and visual art, Joyland is a refreshing and trusty cove of straight-up bite-sized fiction. Joyland also releases a print journal entitled Joyland Vintage, but they exist mainly as online entity and has become among the most successful and notable online lit journals around. Many notable fiction writers have published here early in their careers, Roxanne Gay and Tobias Carroll, making it an excellent bookmark for readers looking for new voices to keep an eye on. Joyland also publishes a weekly author interview podcast called Truth & Fiction with Joyland co-founder Emily Schultz.
Frequencies This is a small and colorful little book chock full of the most intense, out of the box fiction writers around. Filled with essays that are often splintered and shattered in all kinds of creative ways, like a recent essay on Krumping by D.Foy (a name guaranteed to be among the most talked about in 2014), discussions about ghosts with writers like literary enigma Mark Z Danielewski and Nothing scribe Anne Marie Cauchon are par for the course here. It’s like The Believer just up and said “fuck it.”