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Editor Interview: The Malahat Review

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

A: Variety for varied tastes

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

A: Arc, The Capilano Review, The Fiddlehead, Poetry, Prairie Fire.

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

A: Fiction: Michael Ondaatje, Colm Tobin, Elizabeth Hay, Alan Hollinghurst.
Poetry: Louise Gluck, Carolyn Forche, Erin Moure, Mark Doty.

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

A: The quality, integrity, and vulnerability of the writing.

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

A: Read the submission guidelines, send us work that surprises, be patient.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: Coherent, polished, engaging, well-written prose and poetry that possesses emotional gravity.

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

A: Submittors often send work that's been printed with insufficient toner and in a font that's not easy on the eyes. All the submisisons we receive remain in their original envelopes as they circulate. Too many submittors cram their thick, badly folded submissions into business #10 envelopes. Folding adds wear and tear to a submission before it is even read. A 10 x 14 envelope means the submission comes in flat,remains flat and is not the victim of constant and hasty refolding by successive internal readers. Finally, many submittors feel they must beguile us with a list of testimonials from other writers about the merits of their work or enclose business cards that state "writer" or "poet" as their profession. Both strategies are unncessary. The work is testimonial enough.

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

A: Submittors should only enclose a short biographical note on a seperate page or preferably in the body of the cover letter. It should cite a few significant or recent publication credits and any relevant awards, professional accomplishments, or educational afflications. We discourage attaching a detailed resume or a glossy author photo.

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

A: It quickly becomes apparent if a submission should be screened in for serious consideration. How much reading is required really varies. With poetry the whole submission would usually be skimmed; with prose, three or four pages might have to be read before the merits of the writing become clear.

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

A: Once a piece has been screened in for consideration, it will usually be read by every member of the editorial board for the genre in question. Occasionally, a submission is returned after two or three board members have read it. Most screened-in submissions will be discussed at editorial meetings where final decisions are made. These meetings are held every six to eight weeks in order to lock in enough content for each quarterly issue.

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

A: It's very diverse. My position is a cross between editor-in-chief and managing editor position. I am responsible for content and am often reading and editing poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction that's been accepted for publication. I am distracted from this pleasurable work by crises pertaining to the budget, design, printing, circulation, and marketing. I work closely with those responsible for these important tasks.

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

A: Our "embrace" of "modern technologies" is determined by time and resources. These so-called innovations take time to master and incorporate into daily activity. Online social networking services are very useful for connecting with our audience (or "target market") and linking our contributors with readers. While we do have an electronic edition available online by subscription, we still put out a print edition.