You will submit to Small Room


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Launching its first issue next week at Avid Reader in Brisbane, Small Room is proof that things do get published outside of Melbourne. (Thank dog!) Content will be from writers I heart like Josephine Rowe, Christopher Currie, and Chris Somerville, and will be presented on a fold-up poster.

Yep, Small Room is resurrecting the poster format that was the trademark of Is Not Magazine, a now defunct Melbourne institution (may it rest in peace). According to Small Room editor Bryan Whalen, the Gold Coast team independently came up with the idea; once they realised it had been done before, they caught up with Is Not’s Penny Modra for an interstate exchange. ‘Turns out the projects are similar, but different,’ Bryan explained. ‘Both poster mags, just different ways of going about distribution, folding, execution.’

Out to prove that big is not always better, Small Room publishes small fiction, poetry, and art: fiction under 1000 words, poetry under 1000 stanzas*, and artwork under 100 dpi. I had submitted one of my shorter pieces, and got promptly rejected, but turned the rejection into an information-gathering exercise. I sent the magazine questions like ‘Hey, why do you not like my work?’ and ‘How can you not see the beautiful genius of my words…?’ No, I didn’t ask anything obnoxious like that, but I did ask what they were looking for and whether there were any other literary journals that they dug. 

Bryan sent me a lengthy reply:

…we’re not really a literary journal. We never want to be a journal. We like being a poster. Art is integral to Small Room, as is literature. Thus, each issue will have a new guest designer who, after receiving the stories, will design the issue with in any medium they choose (as long as it remains poster sized). 

He gave a detailed explanation of the selection process. Three editors go through the submissions pile, then ‘Maybes’ are sent out to a circle of acquaintances for extra feedback. 

I suppose what we’re looking for is what we believe is “quality writing;” however, “quality” is obviously subjective. What makes good writing? I’m not certain. Every argument I could put forth, I could just as easily argue against. Perhaps good writing is rife with paradox. I have no idea…

So, what did SR hope to achieve? 

Small Room would like to expose up-and-coming writers to the masses, while also featuring respected talents. Issue One will be sold in art galleries, bookshops and coffee bistros around Brisbane, Gold Coast and Byron Bay. We’d like to grow into Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide, Perth and overseas, but this takes time. Small Room will always be a poster, because the format can vary: eventually we’ll play with themes, folds, designs, etc. Also, we’d like to remain relatively inexpensive, so as to get more posters into more hands.

The next submission deadline will be late March 2010—plenty of time to nab a copy of the first issue, read it, and create an appropriate submission, unless you’re lit-journal rich and reading-time poor like me. Ergh.

*Hang on, that’s not small at all. Crazy kids.


You will submit to Peril’s ‘Why are people so unkind?’

Online Asian Australian culture magazine Peril is open for submissions again. Issue Eight’s theme is ‘Why are people so unkind?’

“Why Are People So Unkind?” has become a famous, perhaps notorious, Australian catchphrase. It’s attributed to our kaftan king and iconic Australian performer, Kamahl. Among other things, this issue of Peril challenges you to think about the ways in which cultural icons are created and maintained – what and who ARE our Australian icons these days? (Asian Australian Studies Research Network, 10 June 2009)

Issue Eight will be funded by the Australia Council, so Peril will be able to pay contributors. It publishes poetry, fiction, non-fiction, academic work, art, as well as blog-like articles containing links and embedded media (i.e. YouTube clips); it’s pretty flexible really, as long as submissions fits in with the style of the magazine.

Here’s a sample plate of what others have prepared earlier:

Photo courtesy of Kimi

Photo courtesy of Kimi

Submissions for Issue Eight close 30 September 2009.

One last note: Peril does not exclusively publish Asian Australian authors and artists, so don’t let its Asianness stop you. Sitting on something appropriately themed? Submit it stat!

You will submit to TLB7

Yep, it’s another Brow callout. You’d think that people would get sick of my Brow posts, but judging from the stats, maybe not. Nice to know that The Lifted Brow is getting lots of love on Google, or maybe people just want to check out that hot chick with the bia om T-shirt. Herm, back to Browing, submissions for Issue Seven are open until December 2009. For grant money purposes*, it’s going to be an all-Australian issue, and it’s going to be flogged like a <insert random word here>, so SUBMIT. Submission details are below:

The Lifted Brow is seeking submissions for an all-Australian issue until 1 December.

This issue, released in May 2010, will be subtitled The Lifted Brow Poor People Magazine. It will be printed as cheaply as possible, and hopefully sell for about $5. Disposable, rollable, this one will do well on bookshop counters; subscribers at the time will receive two copies, one already gift-wrapped. We want to get this into many grubby hands.

Why? Think about a publication like Kramers Ergot or Eyeshot – genuinely crazily cutting and fun; rough, great work from a bunch of people you don’t often hear from. Then try to remember the last time you picked up an Australian magazine that did that. You often can’t use the word “edgy” without wrecking it, but we’re putting together a collection of the that-word sort.

Hopefully half this issue will come from previously unpublished people. They exist: students are lazy about sending their stuff places, and Brow gigs are often full of good people who do art and writing in their spare time but don’t ever even consider publishing. All that said, we’re looking for previous Brow contributors too, and for good work from people who’ve had books out. And we never get enough artwork from anyone. Fiction, nonfiction, poems, incidental art, comics: the only dictum is “Australian and rad”. Or if you will, “Austradia”. The issue will not actually be called “Austradia”.

But hence the widest callout possible. Please do forward it, print it, or otherwise push it. We pay!

What is The Lifted Brow?

The Lifted Brow is a biannual attack journal from Brisbane and Melbourne. We debuted or have published early work by Australians like Michaela McGuire, Kes, Ben Law and Mel Stringer, alongside work by artists like Spiral Stairs, Heidi Julavits, The Lucksmiths, and Neil Gaiman. We publish many types of writing, art, and music, but have probably shown a preference for underground or experimental work.

Literary Minded says we publish “the cream of fresh Australian voices”. Rose Quartz says we’re “the best place to go if you want to get a head start on, oh, the next five years in indie rock”. HTMLGiant feels we’re “badass”. We try twice a year to print a big, chunky magazine with readers in mind and it works well; without making heaps of money, we remain an independent publication.

Our year-end issue is an atlas of the world, covering 246 countries and other places. It is guaranteed for a time to be the only world atlas that has David Heatley, Rick Moody, and Chip Kidd singing songs on it.

How to Submit

Email everything to with AUSTRADIA in the subject. We are always taking open submissions, but your work will be read with priority when it includes that header. We need to have received your work by 1 December 2009, and will respond by early January, probably earlier.

No more than three pieces per person. No word limits or minimums. Art and comics should look good in B+W and reduce to 210mm h x 142mm w – 300dpi, any format OK. Same with writing, but if you want to impress us, make it a Word doc, 12-point courier, double-spaced, numbered pages. Musicians: there won’t be a CD with this issue. We are not that bothered by the Australian idea: we don’t, say, have special all-Australian funding; if you are pretty much Australian, or even very like Australian, that is fine.

The Lifted Brow

*Disclaimer: grant money purposes might be a lie on my part. But who knows, maybe we’ll get very good at writing grant applications over the next six months. Maybe Tom Cho will write one for us. 🙂

You will submit to Visible Ink

I can’t believe it. The boyfriend had netball. Sarah had a night shift. Everyone else…what was everyone else’s excuse? I’ve just been sitting in the Empress Hotel for the last three hours, randomly chatting to strangers and listening to more strangers read their stuff. Grr. NOT HAPPY. But I had promised to read tonight, so I did, performing my one and only good poem, ‘Red Den Beauty’, which will be appearing in the upcoming issue of Harvest.

Apart from the lack of friends, it was a good night. I got to chat to Tom Conyers about his book Morse Code for Cats, a contemporary novel about sex and drugs and a guy who tries to live his life like a book, and the friendly crew from Visible Ink 2009 happily answered all of my questions. I also scored a weird Greek pastry thingamybob and a copy of the Sleepers Almanac 2007. There were a lot of readings (some too soft for my underachieving ears), as well as some ’em & em dash’ beatboxing. 

Visible Ink is publishing its 21st bumper issue this year. There will be text, there will be artwork, and there will be funcakes at the November launch. The submission date is drawing near so do submit soon. I’m not sure what the editors are looking for, but have a read of the magazine’s older issues. If you’re still in doubt and are feeling charitable (there’s a $5 submission fee), send in your stuff anyway before 15 August 2009.

News of the literary world

After enjoying reading Etchings’ sixth issue, I thought I’d head down to Etchings Issue Seven’s launch at Lentil As Anything. For those of you unfamiliar with the publication, Etchings is a high quality art/writing journal that is published by Ilura Press. It publishes themed work from established writers such as Alice Pung, and J M Coetzee, as well as up and coming peeps such as Geoff Lemon, Ryan O’Neill, and Chris Currie. I’ve just got my hands on Issue Seven: Chameleons, and it looks like a riot with Bundit Puangthong’s artwork splashed across its covers; hopefully, the text on the page will be just as colourful.

The launch opened with words from the two guest speakers, Shanaka Fernando and Kevin Rabalais. Being the founder of Lentil As Anything, Fernando was the most qualified to explain the ‘Pay As You Feel’ theme for the night. In what might be an unprecedented move, Ilura Press ran a special offer of ‘Pay As You Feel’ book sales and subscriptions at the launch, upholding the independent press ideal of focusing ‘mostly on literature and believ[ing]…strongly in creating a culture, rather than selling books’ (Lisa Dempster from Vignette Press, 14 July 2009). 

Following Fernando, Kevin Rabalais described small literary journals as ‘the news of the literary world for serious readers and serious writers’, and cited Etchings’ inclusion of an excerpt from J M Coetzee’s Summertime as an example; Summertime has since been longlisted for the Booker Prize.  

A couple of readings followed. I didn’t stay for very long; it was a more mature crowd at Lentil As Anything and I felt a little out of place, attracting the scrutiny of Christopher Lappas (help!) and several nappy-wearing babies, but I wasn’t the only one feeling nervy: Vivienne Christie seemed to be speeding through her piece ‘Things we can’t tell’. A. S. Patrick seemed to enjoy performing the truncated version of ‘Ducks’, whilst Geoff Lemon was a no show, which is a shame since I had enjoyed his ‘Albatross’ reading from a while back.

Vivienne Christie performs at the Etchings Issue Seven Launch, an image from 'The Forgotten Ballroom' appearing behind her. (2/8/2009)

Vivienne Christie performs at the Etchings Issue Seven Launch, an image from 'The Forgotten Ballroom' appearing behind her. (2/8/2009)

The submission deadline for Etchings‘ next issue is coming up. Issue Nine’s theme is ‘Love and Something’, so if you’re babysitting some quality love stuff, send it in before mid-August. Two weeks: that’s plenty of warning.

Bia Om Submissions

Just a quick update: The Lifted Brow is still accepting atlas-themed submissions for Issue Six, which will be published end of this year. As I can’t submit anything myself (damn), I’m looking for some Viet-lovin’, so please, please, please write about bia/karaoke om bars* and what not**. International contributors welcome!

Back to you Charlie.

'Charlie' looking hot in her bia om tee from 'Het Xay - awesome Vietnamese American apparel' (Photo courtesy of Het Xay)

*Note: ‘In Vietnam, bia om (literally ‘beer hug’) restaurants are places where men are entertained by scantily-clad women. They are more well-known for prostitution than fine dining.’ (Chao-Vietnam, 8/12/2008)

**Disclaimer: writing about bia/karaoke om bars does not guarantee you a spot in TLB6. Good writing, however, does.

You will submit to The Lifted Brow

The submission deadline for Issue 6 of The Lifted Brow is nearly upon us, so here’s a repeat of the callout for all you hamsters out there:

TLB6 is an atlas of the world, newly observed by lots of bands, writers, and artists that you like. Participation is easy:

1. Pick a country.

2. Send us fiction or nonfiction, a song, or a comic based on that country. The relationship of your piece to the country you pick can be as real, fake, or loose as you want.

Writing should be under 1,200 words. No length restrictions for songs or comics. Artists, we print in black and white, and artwork should reduce to A5 (148 x 210mm).

If you want to do something other than prose, music, or comics, try us. The dictum here is “If in doubt, just do it.” Your piece doesn’t have to be called the same thing as the country; in brackets afterward is cool.

The deadline is 1 July.

If you want to send us unthemed submissions, you can, but we won’t write back for months and months. We only do one themed issue and one unthemed per year, so unless you are a very patient person, please submit simultaneously to other magazines.

For those of you not in the know, The Lifted Brow is

…a quirky journal and CD combo that began in Brisbane and has since migrated to Melbourne with its editor Ronnie Scott…The journal aims to publish stuff that usually wouldn’t be accepted anywhere else: quality genre fiction, eighty-minute-long epic poems, etc. It also experiments with layout: in TLB4, the contents section starts on page 24 which…is completely intentional. (‘Super power’, 3 May 2009)

I asked what Ronnie Scott had to say about submissions but he evaded all my questions—including ‘What name would you give your pet monkey (if you had one)?’—to offer the following piece of advice:

The main point is that the details are intentionally really open. This is a big, crazy project, with more than 200 contributors expected, so there’s room for all kinds of stuff. The best rule is “do your best. Then send us your best”. Unhelpful? Uh huh! Inevitable? Yup.

Grr. Definitely (deliberately?) unhelpful, Ronnie. In regards to submissions, the best thing I can recommend is brushing up on your TLBs. Scope out the scene. See if your stripes blend in with our jungle.

Speaking of  TLBs, TLB5 is launching on Friday 17 July 2009, so RSVP on the Book of Faces and maybe I’ll see you there. Yayness.

TLB5: launching near you!

TLB5: launching near you!

You will submit to Stop Drop and Roll

Well, it’s official. Stop Drop and Roll is extending its submission deadline for Issue Two:

Submissions will now be accepted until 30 September 2009.

This time period is just a little longer than it would take a wolf to gestate two litters back to back. Don’t be shown up by the animal kingdom; if you have any idea embryos lying around, we suggest you implant them now and get incubating.

Writers head to the website to peruse Writing submission guidelines, while all you tricky cats in the “other disciplines” pen can find your way to the Visual Art/Film/Design/Music guidelines situated very close by. We’re told you guys think laterally anyway.

For those of you who have not seen the journal, Stop Drop and Roll is a new Melbourne-based literary journal that’s small in length but punchy in content and design. (And yes, I am still salivating over the front cover of Issue One.)

Its editors, Sean Wilson and Liz Seymour, are looking for ‘new material that is bold, intriguing, intelligent, colourful, passionate and many other words besides’ (The Pitch), which frighteningly sounds like a menagerie full of exotic critters. However, Wilson and Seymour did appear at the Emerging Writers’ Festival to speak about what they were after. They want their journal to be a forum for discussion between writers (both emerging and established) and readers and are open to all topics so long as the pieces are intriguing and intelligent with ‘palpable energy of thought’.

Interested in reading/submitting? Become a Facebook fan, read about Issue One – Crash Course (see below), or check out Stop Drop and Roll’s submission guidelines. For more general tips on submitting of the writerly (i.e. asexual) kind, check out Chris Flynn’s dos and don’ts from one of my older posts here.



Issue One - Crash Course (courtesy of Stop Drop and Roll)

You will submit to Offset

Submission deadlines for Offset are almost upon us, so I’ve taken the opportunity to dig up a little bit more info about the publication. Offset is an annual literary journal that has been around for nine years now, run by a team of Victorian University students under John Weldon’s mentorship.

Last year’s No. 8 had contributors such as the critically acclaimed Paddy O’Reilly and Verandah 23’s Rhys Tate, and was favourably reviewed by Dominique Wilson in Issue Fourteen of Wet Ink:

…if some of the most engaging stories sometimes lack finesse, the real strength of this anthology is that the writing is crisp, interesting and energetic—they are not overworked and the enthusiasm of the writers shines through…Offset no. 8 is like a bouquet of wild flowers—colourful, fresh and exciting. (p. 52)

Last year’s editorial team was also interviewed by Vibewire (to access the article, click here).

This year, Offset No. 9 is run by Paul Mavroudis (chief editor), Ruth Chapman (design manager), Kale Elbourne (multimedia submissions), Jessica Adams (submissions coordinator), Stephanie Holliday (public relations), Scott McCulloch (arts supervisor) and Leticia (arts supervisor). If you want to submit to Offset, knowing the editorial team’s tastes and reading habits is very important—unlike most literary journals, student publications change their editorial teams with each issue—so, I’d try stalking them on Facebook.

So what is Offset looking for? Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and art…?

We’re basically after anything unique and passionate, but anything goes and we encourage everyone to submit a piece as we need a good mix of content. (Stephanie Holliday)

For the first time, Offset is accepting multimedia (for inclusion on a CD insert) and overseas contributions as well. All submissions need to be in by 12 June 2009.

For more information on Offset, email offset[at] or visit their website.

Courtesy of Offset No. 9

Courtesy of Offset No. 9