By Will Johnson, The Nelson Star
Sure you can write, but can you publish?
It’s one thing to sit in a classroom, to participate in workshops and learn how to critique your classmates’ work. But it’s quite another to learn how to copy edit, how to format text properly and prepare it for posting online.
And that’s the opportunity Selkirk College aims to give students through the newly birthed Black Bear Review, an initiative spearheaded by Almeda Glenn Miller, Renée Jackson-Harper and Leesa Dean. The online magazine aims to release its first issue by December this year.
“We’re hoping this will generate some excitement around the Creative Writing program while giving the students some experience with the editorial process,” said Miller.
“The editorial board will be student-driven, but overseen by us.”
And though they’re starting small, they’ve got big plans.
“We’re going to start out being only open to student work, but we hope to expand to being open to other Kootenay writers and eventually we’d like to take this Canada-wide.”
Miller envisions the journal ultimately growing into a cultural force in the Canadian Lit scene akin to The Malahat Review, The New Quarterly or The Fiddlehead.
“We want to see what’s out there,” she said. “I think it’s a great opportunity to see what other people are writing. We can compare our storytelling, our poetry, our personal lives, then we can help situate them within the dominant narratives in their culture.”
And so far, as submissions have begun rolling in, she’s been excited with what Selkirk students have to offer.
“I just went through the poetry submissions and we’ve got students experimenting with form. We’re not just getting slam poetry, we’re getting pontoums and palindromes and lyric pieces.”
Then there’s the non-fiction.
“I’ve read personal essays that are amazing stories of survival. There’s lots of very brave work.”
As for fiction, she’s sure there will be a wide spectrum of submissions, and she’s open to that. Black Bear Review will aim to be inclusive of all genres.
The journal is currently accepting submissions of all genres at firstname.lastname@example.org