Category Archives: Blog

December 17, 2018

Interview with Jayne S. Wilson about her debut short story, “Reprise”

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LitMag: The first publication is a special moment for all fiction writers. Tell us what you did in the 72 hours after you got that first acceptance.

JSW: After about fifteen to twenty minutes of open-mouthed staring, I took screenshots of the email and of the “Accepted” tab on Submittable and proceeded to forward them to everyone I’d ever met in my entire life. Then I blasted Bowie’s “Queen Bitch” and had myself a solo dance party! Everything after that is a euphoric blur. My very sweet, very proud mother ordered a cake; friends and former professors offered I-told-you-so’s; I used the “I’m getting published!” excuse to treat myself to far too much (no regrets). And my best friend, Tatyana Sundeyeva and I had a frantic, all-caps, day-long text message exchange during which we symbolically rubbed this acceptance in the faces of all my rejections and planned a celebratory dinner of gloriously fat burgers. She’s also a writer so not only has she read every draft of “Reprise” and almost everything I’ve ever written, but she also has a unique understanding of just how big a deal this was for me. I’ve been writing and calling myself a writer since I first learned that books didn’t just materialize out of thin air, that someone had to write them. Getting that first acceptance felt amazing, vindicating – proof from outside myself that I was right to think I’m good at this. (more…)

November 15, 2018

Love and Prizes for LitMag

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The literary world has shown LitMag a lot of love for our first issue, LitMag #1. Kevin Moffett’s story “City of Trees” was a distinguished story in Best American Short Fiction 2018. Christine Sneed’s story “In the Park” got a Special Mention in Pushcart Prize XLIII 2019. John Ashbery’s poem “Just the One Episode” appears in Pushcart Prize XLIII 2019. Kelly Cherry’s essay “My Beethoven” was a distinguished essay in Best American Essays 2018. (And that’s so far — we won’t be surprised if another big award is announced soon.)

It’s way too soon for awards for LitMag #2. But two LitMag #2 contributors deserve hearty congratulations. Jamel Brinkley was a Finalist for the 2018 National Book Award for his story collection Lucky Man. And Sigrid Nunez won the 2018 National Book Award for her novel The Friend.

We love our writers. And it’s wonderful to see them getting so much love.

July 16, 2018

Interview of Meghan O’Toole, winner of LitMag’s Virginia Woolf Award in Short Fiction for 2018

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LitMag: This will be your first publication.  What was it like when you heard the news that you won the contest?

O’Toole: To be honest, I was shocked. I had just been rejected from all the M.F.A. programs I applied to, and I was feeling stuck. The news that I was accepted for publication validated me as a writer, and when I found out about winning the award, I thought I was going to pass out. It was the best news that came at just the right time in my life because I was questioning my decision to pursue writing. I am looking forward to applying to more graduate programs with a better resume in a year or two. This award and publication will help with that, which was my first thought when I received the news. (more…)

March 15, 2018

LitMag #2 Is Here — and On Its Way

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Litmag #2 Is here! We received a box of advance copies yesterday. Today copies are being mailed out to subscribers.

Copies are being shipped to the distributor warehouses, which means copies should hit the shelves at Barnes & Noble across the country within the next two weeks (a few days at the warehouses, reshipping to the bookstores, a few days in cartons at the book stores…). So give it a couple weeks, then ask if you don’t see it.

Someone recently wrote us, “Dear Lovely LitMag….”  Well, we’re trying. Let us know what you think of issue #2

Our deep thanks and gratitude to all of our contributors: Jamel Brinkley, Michael Byers, Christopher DeWeese, Chelsea Dingman, Denis Donoghue, Mindy Friddle, DeWitt Henry, Logan Newby (debut), Sigrid Nunez, Lynda Sexson, George Singleton, Michelle Sleater (debut), Cutter Streeby, Ojo Taiye, Justine Taylor, Lee Upton, Matthew Vollmer.

Subscribe today. Or head to your Barnes & Nobel in a couple of weeks. (We might eschew Amazon, for so many reasons).

Get your copy.  Hold it in your hands.

January 31, 2018

Submission Fee

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LitMag has been accepting submissions without any fees for almost two years. Our first year, we were open for 11 months, this year 8 months. Kenyon Review, in contrast, is now open only 1.5 months, Virginia Quarterly Review for only 1 month. Since we opened for submissions, a number of other literary magazines have shrunk their submission periods. And with so many of the top literary magazines either closed to submissions for most of the year or charging fees, or both, LitMag is now receiving more submissions than we can handle with our small staff. We will therefore begin charging for submissions. We will have a window for free submissions so that LitMag remains an opportunity open to all writers.

January 2, 2018

LitMag’s Virginia Woolf Award for Short Fiction is now closed

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LitMag’s Virginia Woolf Award for Short Fiction is now closed.  Winners and finalists will be announced on March 31, 2018.

Below are the guidelines.

First Prize: $3,500, publication in LitMag, and agency review 
Second Prize: $1,000 and agency review

Finalists: Five finalists will receive $100 each.

Agency review by Sobel Weber Associates (clients include: Viet Thanh Nguyen, Richard Russo, Laura Lee Smith) (more…)

December 29, 2017

Bad News for Literary Magazines: No More Ubiquity

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We received an email from Joseph Massey, the owner of Ubiquity, the Brooklyn-based distributor of literary magazines to independent bookstores for almost forty years. The bad news: Ubiquity Distributors is going to be closing.

In the few phone calls we’ve had with him, Massey was always a siren for what is wrong in the literary magazine world. The most glaring example: university book stores refusing to sell the literary magazines sponsored by the very same universities they’re book stores for.

Diminished sales. Leading to refusal to stock. Leading to…well, now it’s led to the end of Ubiquity. Not a good spiral. (more…)

October 13, 2017

LitMag at McNally Jackson on 10/12/17

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Thank you to all who came out to join us in celebrating the first issue of LitMag. It was a thrill to offer readings by Chinelo Okparanta, Bette Pesetsky, Sarah Wang, Jonathan Greenhause, and Emily Saso. It was standing room only, and there was something in the air.

Those in attendance were there for the same reason we started LitMag, A hunger for words. A hunger to read them. A hunger to hear them—words put together in ways you haven’t seen or heard before, with sounds and rhythms that have both skillful and mysterious effects, words that deliver not only stories but visions. It is a hunger that binds us all.

We cannot say how thankful we are to all of the contributors to our first issue. They entrusted us, a new, yet-to-be-published literary magazine, with their work. We were honored and grateful, and we remain so.

August 28, 2017

LitMag in Barnes & Noble

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The first issue of LitMag is on the shelves at Barnes & Noble across the country, and it’s selling well, better than even we had hoped. We want to thank every one of you who has purchased a copy, every one of you who has told a friend, every one of you who has emailed us or posted on social media to tell us how beautiful it is (cover and layout), and how much you love the stories, essays, and poems.

We started LitMag because we saw a need.  And we’re very excited to that so many people saw the same need.

Thank you again for buying LitMag. Let us keep hearing from you. Happy reading!

May 25, 2017

LitMag Turns One

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One year ago today, LitMag opened for submissions. Many thousands of submissions later, we are sending Issue 01 off to the printer. It has been a very heartening year.

A devotion to the literary life.

Respect for writers.

These two principles motivated us. We thought there was a need. And the literary community has shown us that there is indeed a need for LitMag. Readers started subscribing back in October 2016, a full six months before we were scheduled to publish a single word. Great writers believed in us and sent us their work. Unpublished writers believed that we were going to be the literary magazine that would devote itself to their bold new voices. (more…)