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Editor Interview: Midway Journal

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

A: ambitious in form/content

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

A: Blackbird; Fence; Conduit; Smokelong Quarterly; BOMB, Granta, Denver Quarterly; Carve

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

A: Fiction: Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Michael Martone, Thomas Pynchon, Earnest Hemingway, Don DeLillo, Italo Calvino, Lydia Davis; Jamaica Kincaid, Kim Chinquee, Kazou Ishiguro, Jorge Luis Borges, Leslie Marmon Silko
Poetry: Adrienne Rich, Marie Howe, Leslie Scalapino, Jorie Graham, Carolyn Forche, Brenda Hillman, Mark Nowak, Charles Simic, Anne Carson, Lucille Clifton, Larry Levis, Natasha Trethewey, Jenny Xi, Kay Ryan
Nonfiction: James Baldwin, Susan Sontag, Audre Lorde, Annie Dillard, Maxine Hong Kingston, Roxane Gay, Gloria Anzaldua, Robin Hemley
Art: Donald Judd, Mark Rothko, Ellsworth Kelly, Ai Weiwei, Yayoi Kusama, Louise Bourgeois, Laurie Anderson, Cindy Sherman, Kara Walker, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Robert Rauschenberg, Diego Rivera, Chuck Close, James Turrell

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

A: We regularly publish a wider swath of literary and literary related materials (including drama and visual art) than most other journals. We also pay as much attention to language as we do content. We like work that bends genre and takes risks with form.

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

A: We ask that authors interested in submitting work to Midway spend some time with the back issues to get a good feel for the type of work we are willing to consider.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: We look first for work that is both aesthetically ambitious and literary. We like work that pays close attention to language, work that challenges our assumptions and is willing to take risks with form.

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

A: They submit work that is clearly outside of our aesthetic. For example, we are unlikely to publish genre fiction, such as crime or mystery. Genre work would have to subvert the genre in an interesting way to catch our attention.

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

A: We read all cover letters. We want to know a little bit about the authors we publish. And, from time to time, we publish cover letters if they are interesting enough and approach art. Authors should list publications, but we are not swayed by credentials. Just the work.

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

A: I personally will give each piece of fiction that I read at least three pages before I decide firmly whether it will make the cut.

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

A: Not all work is publishable as is. I give each accepted piece a thorough reading and will make suggestions for revision to many of the pieces before they are ready for print.

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

A: I read a lot of stories. If a story catches my attention right away, I will finish the piece right then in that sitting. If I am not drawn in right away, I will come back to the piece two, three, or even more times. I acknowledge that my own frame of mind might keep me from connecting with a piece, so I owe it to the author to spend more time with their work. Sometimes works rise in my esteem with time.

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

A: Publishing trends are changing. Everyone in the industry should be ready to embrace the changes.

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

A: It depends on the piece. Some pieces are publication ready. But most works require a bit more attention from the author. Sometimes it’s at the word or sentence level. Every once in a while, we will make suggestions about an ending or a beginning.

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

A: Yes, absolutely. We like to honor our authors and their hard work. We nominate for Best of the Net, Pushcart, and the Best Small Fictions Anthology. Our authors have won BOTN awards and have been included in the Best Small Fiction Anthology. Our authors have also been shortlisted/longlisted for BOTN, BSFA, and for Wigleaf’s top 50.