Editor Interview: Spadina Literary Review

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

A: Fiction, poetry, memoirs

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

A: I can’t say I follow other publications. I read the Globe & Mail more than anything else. Also Frank, when I can find it, and Fluide Glacial. I used to admire the New Yorker and Harpers and wish I still could. A lot of online publications are a visual mess so I spend less time on them.

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

A: We publish writing, with art up front and alongside. I don’t know if the concept of having “favorites” is part of my conscious world. There are a few writers some of whose works I’ve read multiple times: Robert Service, A.E. Housman, LeCarré, Conrad, Kerouac, Camus, George Grant. In art I’m grateful for Gauguin, Georges Barbier, Tom Thompson, Jean Giraud, Jean-Paul Lemieux, Basquiat, Seth. The lists could go on.

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

A: This is an online lit mag with a layout very like a paper-based literary journal.

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

A: Clarity and conciseness are always appreciated.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: Strong, coherent storyline, minimal digression, competent grammar for the situation.

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

A: Our “process” is not complicated. Send us an attachment, we get back to you in a few weeks.

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

A: Starting April 2017, we have an end page for Notes re Contributors providing a brief bio and links to personal websites or published works. But no one is obliged to provide that info. Some writers are reclusive. Cover letters and lists of credits can be interesting but they are not really much help when it comes to judging the material submitted.

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

A: Personally, I read maybe 90% of submissions to the end. If something is foul, or leaden, or clueless, I might not spend as much time on it.

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

A: N/A

Q: What is a day in the life of an editor like for you?

A: Extremely exciting, staring at screens. Two editors read the stuff and exchange emails about it. The reward comes in the satisfaction of solving problems and putting out a good-looking, highly readable product.

Q: How important do you feel it is for publishers to embrace modern technologies?

A: Of course it’s important to embrace current technologies. On the other hand, life is too short.

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

A: Some submissions are heavily edited, some lightly. It depends on the original material. Light edits are great, they make my job easier. If there is going to be major editing, the author will be consulted. That negotiation will either work out or not. Generally speaking, then, the author does not get to approve the final edits -- and certainly not in detail. The important thing is what's good for the magazine.

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

A: I expect we will start to do that during this calendar year.