Late last year, Troy Johnson, founder of AALBC.com, wrote a blog post that posed the question: “What happened to the best African-American literary magazines?” While his exploration of lit mags past and present did unearth a fall-off of publications that thrived in the ’90s and early ’00s, it appears a resurgence is on its way. New writers and publishers are creating their own opportunities to see the works of themselves and their peers in print and online. Black lit mags are again on the rise, but as Johnson’s article proved, they need strong, invested readerships to keep themselves afloat.
Here are a few new, little known, or underexposed black literary magazines we think you should check out:
Blackberry: a magazine
Founded by writer Alisha Sommers, Blackberry is brand new online lit mag out of Chicago that provides opportunities for new and established women writers of color. Its goal is to increase and strengthen the presence of black women’s voices in mainstream and independent literary markets. Sommers raised the funds for its first issue via a successful Kickstarter campaign. And the publication is currently accepting submissions for its next issue on the theme of “Belief.” Submissions are due by August 1.
Union Station is a venture that sprang from the arts organization louderARTS. The brainchild of writer Syreeta McFadden, poet Lynne Procope, and others, Union Station is a multicultural publication with an interest in diverse voices in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Its sixth issue has just been released.
Linden Avenue Literary Journal
Founder Athena Dixon calls her Linden Avenue Literary Journal ”a place for simple stories to be told in stunning ways.” Every work represented in her publication’s first issue certainly fits that bill. Linden Avenue curates breathtaking, brief material that speaks to a wide spectrum of social and emotional conditions.
Specter Magazine is 10 issues deep; its latest a hip-hop-themed extravaganza which featured work from the likes of Michael Gonzales and Casandra “Defy” Rivera. The issue that preceded it was tailored to women. Each of its themed issues has been impressive in its diversity of tones and voices. Led by founder and editor-in-chief mensah demary, Specter Magazine is definitely a publication on the rise.
Are you up on the latest black lit mags? Are there any you would add to the list?