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Editor Interview: The Curator

Q: Describe what you publish in 25 characters or less.

A: On Art, Objects + Spirit

Q: What other current publications (or publishers) do you admire most?

A: Missouri Review, Diagram, The Believer Magazine, The Atlantic, Harper's Magazine Index, Longreads, Brevity, Marginalia, Hippocampus Magazine, the Sun Magazine, Creative Nonfiction Magazine

Q: If you publish writing, who are your favorite writers? If you publish art, who are your favorite artists?

A: Writers: Leslie Jamison, Lydia Davis, Jenny Zhang, Lauren F. Winner, Molly McCully Brown, Meghan O'Gieblyn, Roxane Gay; Artists: Kehinde Wiley, Amy Sherald, Heather Day, Nick Cave, Marina Abramovic, Andy Goldsworthy

Q: What sets your publication apart from others that publish similar material?

A: We publish writing about art intersecting with humanity. We want to read about your weirdsies, your cultural kitsch, your artistic obsessions, your collections from childhood. We want to get up close and personal with visual artists, musicians, and writers. We're also open to spiritual writings, especially spiritual objects or experiences.

Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?

A: Our editors expect to collaborate with writers. If you're writing nonfiction, pitch first. We often ask writers to rewrite pitches if we like the idea or the writing, but the focus isn't quite right for The Curator. We will also go back and forth multiple times during editing, often with more than one editor assigned to a nonfiction piece. We love to publish emerging nonfiction writers! For poetry, the name of the game is persistence. We receive more poetry submissions than nonfiction, so publishing poetry with us is more competitive than nonfiction, and we don't edit poems typically. Oh, and if your piece is accepted, please respond to the emails we send you. ;-)

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: We want to publish work about a new idea or object that we haven't covered before. We want vivid, literary essays. We want narrative nonfiction, lists, and earnest arguments for trivial things (but why it's not trivial to YOU). We want to cover what's trending within the arts in a personal way. An ideal pitch will give us a great idea of how you write and what you're getting at. An ideal poem will make us look closer and reread it.

Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process?

A: For nonfiction, we prefer you to pitch first. We do not accept reprints. We do not work with authors who are unwilling to collaborate with our editors.

Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?

A: We don't really care where else you've published if your writing is good. Feel free to give us links to past published works, but it's not required. In fact, we enjoy working with emerging writers!

Q: If you publish writing, how much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it?

A: We read an entire pitch and make a decision with one other editor before rejecting it. If a pitch isn't right, it's usually because the essay isn't focused on discussing an object--it's straight memoir, say, or a political essay. We want your argument to come in the form of cultural exploration through the lens of a specific object or experience or artist. We read an entire poem and discuss it with an additional editor before rejecting it.

Q: What additional evaluations, if any, does a piece go through before it is accepted?

A: We discuss it with our staff and consider its timeliness, how well-written the pitch or submission is, and whether an editor wants to claim it in order to walk it through our editing process. In that way, our magazine is personal to the tastes of our staff--which also means that every piece has an advocate. It also means it can be hard to explain exactly what we're looking for, but certainly reading an interview like this will give writers a better idea. (Or even reading the magazine! ;-))

Q: How much do you edit an accepted piece prior to publication?

A: We provide substantial editing on every piece we accept. We view this as a collaborative writing process. The author, of course, can accept or reject additions, but we ask you to make your case to us--show us why what you're doing is the best move. We want to come to consensus between you and your editor, and we won't publish anything without your consent.

Q: Do you nominate work you've published for any national or international awards?

A: Yes! We want to celebrate our writers every way we can.