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Editor Interview: Renaissance Review

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

A: two worlds colliding

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

A: Antinarrative Zine, Aster Lit, Cutbow Quarterly, Diode Poetry, fifth wheel press, Honey Literary, Ice Lolly Review, Incandescent Review, Longleaf Review, Perhappened, Surging Tide, Waxwing, and many others!

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

A: we publish both art and writing! personally, some of my favorite writers are hua xi, v. e. schwab, patricia smith, franny choi, and ocean vuong. i also adore the work of fellow teen writers, such as daniel liu, elane kim, gaia rajan, stella lei, grace q. song, and many, many more. i'm not much of an artist, so i can't name any particular favorite artists, but i will say that my artistic taste is very bifurcated. i've always loved traditional realism, such as the renaissance art found on our website, but recently i've also been drawn to a lot of digital art and animation.

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

A: the biggest thing would definitely be our submission theme. if i'm not mistaken, we may be the only journal specifically dedicated to publishing interdisciplinary art and writing, leading to a very unique set of submissions! aside from that, we try and make the renaissance review fit into a very particular aesthetic, from our social media pages to our website to the names of each issue.

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

A: the number one thing i think all our potential contributors should remember? we want to hear from you. a renaissance is a melting pot, an amalgamation, a flourishing of different ideas. what is the story that you want to tell? what are the words you want others to read once, twice, fifty times—the words that you want to ring and repeat in people's minds as they continue on with their lives? share these words with us, because these are the words that we want to share with the world.
finally, keep this in mind - when we say we will publish anything that doesn't violate our content guidelines, we mean it. give us your science fiction, your whimsical sonnets, your abstract poems. if we don't choose to publish your submission, it doesn't say anything about your work. your piece still deserves to be shared with the world—but we felt as if we might not be the right people to do it.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: the ideal submission is one that almost takes on a life of its own. you can feel it breathing between the lines, its words pulsating off the pages. we're looking for a piece that can shift our perception and add to our perspectives, becoming yet another lens through which to view the world. we're looking for pieces that put things together in novel, innovative ways, but also pieces that paint old clichés into modern beauty. we're looking for a pieces that are familiar and comforting—pieces we can relate to—but also pieces that are unexpected. maybe even pieces that make us uncomfortable.
but that's not really an answer, is it? if you want something solid—something more concrete to grasp onto—our mission is simple: to publish a discipline-bridging magazine, to intertwine literature and science, and history and technology. so, honestly? anything goes. we hope that, within the pieces we publish, readers will be able to find their own little renaissances.

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

A: The submission formatting! For example, we accept up to 5 poems, but ask that each poem is submitted in a separate document so we can evaluate them separately. It's a small thing but requires a lot of parsing on our own end. We also sometimes find that content warnings are not tagged on a piece that can be especially triggering, and to us, content warnings are extremely valuable for when we assign a piece to our editors.

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

A: We’re committed to uplifting writers from a diverse range of backgrounds, so all of our submissions are read blind. This is to ensure that each submission is judged solely on its merits, without any preconceived notions impairing the process. However, we ask that you attach a brief biography when submitting so that readers can learn more about you if you get published.

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

A: We make sure to read each piece thoroughly. Each submission is reviewed by at least four editors.

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

A: After we accept a piece, it goes through a short in-house editing process before its publication. There, you’re paired up with an editor who has already read your piece. They’ll suggest a few minor edits that usually concern punctuation and clarity. You’re free to accept or reject the suggestions as you see fit—we don’t want to restrict anyone’s creative liberty!

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

A: when submissions roll in, typically, an editor-in-chief will read it over first to check if it meets the basic submission guidelines. then, the piece will be assigned to two editors, who will both give their thoughts about the piece. the two editors have the option of working together on the submission. afterwards, if the average of the two editors' verdicts is not extremely positive or extremely negative, two eics will read over the submission, keeping the editors' initial thoughts in mind, to decide the final decision on the piece. finally, acceptance and rejection letters are sent out to submitters, and the in-house editing process starts for accepted pieces.

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

A: Our managing team is completely organized online—we met online and are all located in different areas of the country. Modern technology has made it not only possible but also convenient for us to communicate and work with each other. So I do think it is important to embrace modern technologies! Especially in terms of communication, having a groupchat/server or email thread to communicate to editors is really valuable and accessible. Although traditional publishing still carries a certain weight and we would love to break into that one day, online submissions and publishing can reach so many people and provide so many opportunities that may not be accessible otherwise.

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

A: We do a round of in-house edits with each of our accepted pieces before we publish them! How much we edit them depends on the piece, but mostly these in-house edits are more for clarity and wording than major substantive edits. Through this process, we communicate directly with the author, bouncing ideas back and forth and working with them to make sure we can preserve their creative vision.

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

A: we currently nominate for best of the net, the pushcart prize, and best small fictions. however, we always want to find new ways to celebrate contributors, both new and old, so expect this list to grow in the near future!