Originally published in Forum.
You know that story you had about a cyborg in futuristic Jamaica or that poem about flying fairies set in Jacob Riis Park? You might finally get a chance to see those pieces in print.
For the first time, Newtown Literary Journal, Queens’ only literary journal, is asking writers for speculative fiction and poetry submissions to publish in their fifth issue dedicated to that genre. Speculative fiction encompasses a range of the more fantastical fiction genres, including science fiction, fantasy, horror, the supernatural, and dystopian, among others.
“We’re really excited about this and we really expect there will be a good response from the Queens writing community,” said author Katherine Garrigan, who is guest editing this issue.
Garrigan, whose short stories have been published in such journals as Apparatus Magazine and Corvus, said speculative fiction and poetry is a broad genre, touching on science fiction and magical realism, but ultimately asks the question, “What if?”
Being a Queens native who is part of a speculative-fiction writing group in the borough, she believes there is a lot of interest in writing and reading in these types of stories and poems. It may also give some genre writers access to a new audience.
“I think giving authors a chance to showcase their work in something like Newtown means that people who wouldn’t normally give the genre a chance will read it,” Garrigan said. “You know there are very good stories out there that may not get the recognition they deserve.”
According to her, this issue can give writers an outlet for their work that just didn’t seems to fit anywhere else. It also encourages some authors to write in a different genre they’ve been interested in but never had an opportunity to do.
“There are a lot of people who are fans of ‘Game of Thrones’ who might decide that this is their time to put their ideas down,” she said.
Newtown Literary has historically encouraged women and writers who also work in another language other than English to submit their work to better reflect the linguistic diversity of Queens. For their speculative literary issue, that hasn’t changed.
“This notion that women don’t write sci-fi or non-white populations are not interested is just nothing I’ve seen reflection of in reality,” Garrigan said. I think people that think that don’t get out enough, and I would absolutely love to prove them wrong by showcasing a wonderfully broad slot of authors from all different types of background of great stories.”
Garrigan also encourages writers to send speculative poetry because she believes that many writers dabble to speculative fiction, speculative poetry is often underrepresented.
She also admits that the journal largely gets submissions from the western and middle parts of Queens and encourages more people from the eastern and southern Queens to submit.
“We need people to send their stuff over,” she said. Don’t be afraid to do it. We want to read it. We really do.”
The deadline is on July 31. More information on how to submit is available at Newtownliterary.org/submission-guidelines/.
Writers who are selected for publication will be asked to read at the launch party. The date and location have not been decided yet.
Newtown Literary issue 4 is available now at Astoria bookshop and on Amazon.com.