The Writing University has launched a new series of interviews to highlight the various journals and publications across campus at the University of Iowa writing programs. We ask about the publication's history, submission process, etc.
Today's interview is with Mikey Waller and Jenna Mather at Ink Lit Mag. Ink Lit Mag is an undergraduate literary journal published through the generous support of the Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. Conceived, edited, designed, staffed, and promoted by residents of the Iowa Writers Living-Learning Community, Ink is open to submissions by all first-year University of Iowa students (regardless of major/area of study) as well as alumni of the IWLLC. The magazine is published biannually, and their reading periods run during the beginning weeks of both the fall and spring semesters. For more specific guidelines, please check their online submission webpage.
Hello Mikey and Jenna! Great to have you! First off, can you tell me the history behind Ink Lit Mag?
Mikey: Ink Lit Mag was founded in 2011. I was first introduced to it during my Honors Primetime course taught by Daniel Khalastchi. He told us the magazine was created because a group of first year students in the Iowa Writer's LLC saw a need for it in the community. It is an incredible idea to give new students a space to join an editorial staff and get their work published separate from the other magazines. I remember how intimidated I was as a first year, especially in such an active and growing literary community. Ink gave me, and many others, the confidence and experience to move forward and get involved. Now approaching it's eleventh year, I'm happy to see the magazine continuing to grow and thrive.
What makes Ink Lit Mag unique?
Mikey: Ink Lit Mag only publishes the work of first-year students and alumni of Ink or the IWLLC. This allows the magazine to seek out and highlight the work of first years, as well as continue to connect with previous contributors and staff.
Jenna: I think Ink Lit Mag is unique because it gives a great opportunity to first-year students on campus—the chance to both get creative work published and work on a real literary magazine! As a first-year student myself, this is something that excited me the moment I learned about Ink Lit Mag, because I realized I wouldn’t have to wait to start learning about the publishing industry, even as a new student with little experience. Our magazine gives that experience (our publisher, Danny, often refers to Ink Lit Mag as a teaching magazine) to first years, so we can gather and strengthen the skills we’ll need to work on other campus magazines and in the publishing industry after we graduate. It’s an opportunity I’m so grateful for.
When do you accept submissions?
Mikey: We accept submissions at the beginning of both the fall and spring semesters. They are typically open for around 4 weeks.
How can people get involved?
Mikey: All first years are encouraged to apply to be on staff at the beginning of each semester. Along with editor positions, we also take on readers for each genre to assist the editors in reviewing submissions.
Jenna: There are so many ways to get involved! First-years can join our staff (our applications open at the beginning of every fall and spring semester) or be readers who help our genre editors read through and vote on the submissions in our slush pile. Any first-year can also submit their creative work (fiction, nonfiction, photography, drama, art, or poetry) to us as well! But we love it when people who aren’t first-year students get involved with the magazine, too—anyone can go to our launch event every semester or read previous issues of Ink Lit Mag, which you can find in the Magid Center!
Where can people find Ink Lit Mag?
Mikey: Our issues can be found in the Magid Center (24 Phillips Hall). In a recent collaboration with The Perch, we are also planning to have issues available in the Main Library.
Thank you Mikey and Jenna!
For more information on Ink Lit Mag, please visit their website: inklitmag.com