Sunday, May 08, 2005

A Literary Journal

I'll make this post short as I want you to read it quickly and provide your opinion as comment, before you lose your patience.
I have been (over the past few years) reading freely available articles of the New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Harpers etc. and recently found a fancy for articles published in AGNI, Virginia Quarterly Review, Story Quarterly and a few others.
I am unaware of any such literary journal in India, published in English. I have spread the question to other people who are into the field of journalism and have requested their response. I shall post their response as soon as I get it.

I was discussing with Meera last night, regarding the prospects of establishing a literary journal. What we mean by a literary journal is a periodical (say, a quarterly) which contains pieces contributed by a variety of people. The pieces would include poetry, fiction, analysis of various bodies of work, book reviews, opinions, well researched articles and essays and some artwork. I would like to invite your opinion on the following matters:

1. Are you aware of any literary journals in India in English?
2. Would you be interested in such a periodical publication?
3. What do you expect from such an effort? What would you like to see in such a journal? What would keep you looking forward to the next issue?
4. Would you like to contribute and/or involve yourself in the construction process?
5. Any other comments?

We would consider paying the contributing authors, but that would be possible only after some time. I suppose for the initial year everything would be voluntary although not lacking in quality. I have seen good writers and people who love to research something and present an opinion (these are not disjoint sets of people) come to this blog and to other blogs as well as write on their own blogs. It would be great if all the wonderful minds came together to make this possible. Details of this effort would be discussed later. I need your opinions and ideas now.


  1. Hey,

    Have you checked out

    - and

    1. Although your idea sounds good, but how are you goind to make it stand out from the rest/blogs. For instance, at work, me and my friends created an online (creative) newsletter for the whole organization. It was a hit. We had 13 successful monthly issues. And then, our CEO brought in the concept of blogging within the office itself... that is when our newsletter died. Blog made it more easier to express oneself than to getting it published in an online journal that ofcourse has restrictions/filtering criteria.

    So that is one thing that i want you to define.

    2. Would you be defining it geographically? Lets say, Chennai-based writers. I dun think we have anything specific to that, although Ryze has Chennai Read meets I guess

    Ok, my basic point is the ultimate delivery. okiez okiez... i might just go on and on. Feel free to e-mail me or call me (will let you know over mail).

  2. Dear DV,

    I will check out the sites. Have you checked out the links in my literature section? Pretty interesting ones...

    1. I am not interested in making it stand out. I am interested in creating a journal which is spectacular in its content and quality. If it doesn't stand out, I am ok with it. This will be a single file (PDF) compiled from a selection of articles picked by the board of editors and contributing editors (I am still working on teh definition and the roles of each). So, at the end of 3 months, we would have a small booklet in the form of a PDF files filled with graphics, articles, poems, reviews, short stories, etc. Pretty much on the lines of the journals I have quoted on my post. We would consider sending out printed and bound copies to people who request the same. Yes, money is involved and I haven't yet got my math on these things. Soon, we would be considering paying contributing writers too. Money related matters would surface after we get into the rhythm of this exercise.

    2. Nope.

    Please pour it in. I shall send you a mail shortly. Maybe you could share with us what goes into compiling a journal based on your newsletter experience.

  3. E,
    You know what I would love to see in the journal, brainstorming. Take a simple problem (rural or urban) and invite regular readers and authors to comment, criticize and elucidate the possible means of solving it. Once a year or once in six months we should make an attempt to take it beyond the world of the journal into the real world. Get the idea. I think I might have sounded too vague. And you can definitely put down my name under the volunteer list.

  4. Dear SS,
    Glad to have you along. How does one achieve brainstorming in a fairly static medium? We could have it realised upfront and then reported in the journal, or start out the discussion with a few heads nodding and shaking and then invite reader views and opinions (on the print medium or online). Is this what you mean? We could have something of that sort...

  5. Back from one of my sojourns. I would like to share with the readers that there is a literary magazine in India. Please visit Little Mag. Author of Indian writing shared this with me and I thought you might find it useful too.
    Seems like a nice effort and some of the stories were interesting. The poems I read weren't to my taste, but then hey! Worth a visit.

    Indian Writing is an interesting blog for those interested in the written word and the incidents that give flesh to the writer's world.

    It is so interesting to note that when it is opportune, everything comes to you of its own volition...


  6. Dear E,
    If its going to be a online medium, we can have something like a discussion board or forum. If its going to be print, then maybe start with a topic in one issue and publish the ideas in the next.

  7. Dear SS,
    I am seriously considering a print medium which might later on evolve to a print-cum-online mode. Your idea seems fine.

  8. Hi Eroteme, I guess you have made a relevant point by stressing on the need for a literary journal in India in altime favorites within this category are the periodicals by Addison and richard steel..i guess a literary journal should be a combination of one's language in tune with his/her sensibilities, the dose of humour, seriousness, thought that is invested behind a literary piece is also important..I do not believe that any creative work has to be something purely aesthetic or for that matter purely moral, it could be a proportionate blend of the two, which is what we noticein Steel and Addison's essays...I do not know of any such journals in attempt at a journal to some people is the 'Reader's Digest' but literary - it is not! I do not know about others but i guess Indian lot likes the story telling mode of presentation more, at least I do. Guess that's why Panchatantra's and the indian mythologies are so famous in our country!

  9. Hi A,
    Never heard of Addison and Richard Steel. Will look out for them. The blend is something that we would consciously introduce into the mag. We cannot afford to make it an entirely flowery affair nor a morose ink drops on paper...

    There would be stories and poems and essays and book reviews and analyses and pictures and paintings and odd snippets, but all to do with literature and the senses...

  10. Anonymous4:42 PM

    Thats a novel idea :-) .. So, its a YES...from my side - for construction process, and contribution too. !!.. .... KAR

  11. Hai!

    I think this is a really good idea, esp 'cause I've, personally, felt the need for a literary magazine.

    One of the reasons why I turned to blogging was the lack of such in India. You've the Youth Express, the NIE supplement, which is quite open to contributions but it is basically restricted to school goers. I did get a few published back in those days (gah! I am not THAT old ;)).

    Just wanted to let you know that I think this is a fabulous idea! Just that, I'd seriously be interested to see a magazine come out which does not, in any way, limit the flow of creativity. Just that I do not quite second sensibly stoned's idea of putting out a topic and invite opinions about it. It'd then become more of a forum than a magazine. Plus, after a certain time, when the "burning" issues are done with, the topics would seem bland and forced. To keep up with the "variegated style" idea, I reckon, you will have to just keep it open.
    To make it interactive, I reckon, you could probably add a feature like 'appreciate poetry'. (Obviously, I am biased, being tolerable in poetry than prose). Put up a poem in an issue, and definitely not the cliched ones. Ask people to send in their own interpretations. Would make for a good read to see how people relate to things quite differently.
    Hope to see this idea becoming reality soon! Good luck with it.

    ..V :)

  12. Anonymous8:04 PM

    Taj Maha Review from India

  13. Gowri Sivaraman7:19 PM

    Such a venture, a new journal would be of great use to writers and those who ike to see their work in print.
    I would like to contribute my writings
    best wishes to your effort
    Gowri Sivaraman

  14. There's an online community called Muse India. It's quite good.