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Editor Interview: The Moth Magazine

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

A: Funny, quirky, lyrical.

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

A: The New Yorker, Granta, POETRY, Poetry Review, The Stinging Fly ...

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

A: Patricia Highsmith, Tom McCarthy, Toni Morrison. Chantal Joffe, David Hockney, Victor Man ...

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

A: A subscriber wrote this a few years back, and it still makes me smile: "I skim the serious American journals where I send work, but I actually *read* The Moth and I aspire to it. My friend the nun is shocked, I think, by the work … but she is reading it too, in her Italian cloister. She is probably praying for you."

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

A: Read a copy of The Moth.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: A heartbreaking work of staggering genius from a first-time author.

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

A: They don't read the magazine.

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

A: It's nice to receive a cover letter where the author has gone to the bother of finding out your name, and is polite and clear about what they are submitting. Publication credits matter less.

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

A: I'll read on as long as I'm compelled to do so by the work.

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

A: None.

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

A: I read poetry and nothing but poetry for a week or two, creating a maybe pile as I go, and then narrow that down to the few that can go into the magazine. Repeat for short stories.

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

A: It's essential. Without it we wouldn't have a magazine. But the romance of publishing still lies in the smell of the ink.

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

A: It really depends. Sometimes a light copyedit is all that's needed, but sometimes more work is necessary, in which case I flag it up with the author first, before they agree to publication.

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

A: Yes.