By Charlotte Brookins
Iowa has a long-standing reputation as one of the best universities for writing in the country, most recently passing Princeton and Harvard in the top-ten ranking for writing. As the Writing University, the UI offers eight literary magazines, supported by the Magid Center for Writing, which provide students with experiential learning opportunities and direct writing and publishing experience.
Eight literary magazines at the University of Iowa
Ink Lit Magazine
Ink Lit Magazine is an undergraduate literary magazine made for first-years, by first-years and provides students with experience on both sides of the publishing industry. First-year student can submit material for publication, but anyone older must be an alumnus of the magazine. The magazine accepts nonfiction, fiction, poetry, drama, photography, and art.
It is the only magazine that limits submissions to first-year students. “Ink is particularly important because it highlights first-year work,” says fiction editor Calvin Covington. “The entire magazine is almost entirely the result of first-year work, and that includes the staff. When first-year work might get drowned out elsewhere due to lack of experience, Ink provides freshmen with an approachable opportunity to be published or involved when other magazines might seem too daunting.”
Snapshots is an undergraduate literary magazine produced for children. Anyone can submit to this magazine. Accepted genres include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, picture books, learn-to-read, art, photography, advice and memoirs, and graphic novels. It is especially unique because of its connection to UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital. The magazine works closely with the hospital to distribute publications to pediatric patients and other local youth. The magazine also staffs an artist who adds illustrations to accepted pieces.
After more than 40 years of publishing, earthwords is the oldest literary magazine on campus. An annual undergraduate literary review, the publication accepts fiction, nonfiction, poetry, art, and drama submissions. The magazine is dedicated to presenting student work and making it accessible while also emphasizing underrepresented voices and artists. In addition to its yearly publication, earthwords also collaborates with the English Department’s English Society in hosting events, like open mics, throughout the year.
Wilder Things, an undergraduate literary magazine specialized in speculative fiction, a genre that pushes and blurs the boundaries between areas like science fiction, fantasy, horror, etcetera. It accepts and encourages uncommon and unconventional writing, providing a home for unique works while also sharing them with a wider audience and exposing people to new and exciting writing.
Fools is a workshop-based undergraduate literary magazine founded in the summer of 2016 and has been flourishing since. Accepting submissions in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art, Fools focuses on collaborating on and workshopping the pieces that are submitted. Unlike many magazines that require anonymous submissions, Fools does not have a blind submission process—this is done to establish active collaboration and contact with authors and artists who submit. The contributors to the magazine have an active role in the production of each edition, as opposed to only going so far as to submit their piece. Despite its name, Fools has no shortage of cleverness when it comes to creation.
If you’re searching for a magazine with more frequent publication and submission opportunities, New Moon is a monthly undergraduate literary magazine. Published in the form of a one-page magazine, it embodies its name as it cycles through literature like the monthly phases of the moon. Given its size and publication frequency, the magazine prefers shorter pieces, like flash fiction, flash nonfiction, and poetry. Each edition is given its own theme, color, and texture to match the pieces submitted. With monthly releases, New Moon is the most frequently published magazine on campus, making it perfect for those who are always itching for the next read or the next submission opportunity.
Boundless/The Translate Iowa Project
Boundless, produced by the The Translate Iowa Project, translates submissions into different languages before being published. It accepts fiction, nonfiction, drama, poetry, and art. Boundless allows writers and readers to experience the written word in multiple different forms and dialects, giving them countless ways to interpret one singular work.
Co-President Kyler Johnson knows very well the impact that his magazine has. Johnson says, on the ability of words, “When we slow down, when we digest the ways words change throughout time and space, across country borders and cultural contexts, we understand that this deep, human way we are all connected—language—is a powerful force that changes and can also be used for change. The way we bend words in English or pull them across linguistic boundaries is a bit of magic. Through words, we give life to new ideas, new possible realities.”
Horizon Magazine is a self-proclaimed “literary magazine for hope.” Anyone can submit to this magazine in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, but works must focus on hope and happiness. When times seem particularly stressful and daunting, the sight of the sun coming over the horizon can be incredibly encouraging—and that is just what Horizon emulates. Additionally, the publication is determined to give first-time experience to those without it, meaning that when they select staff members, it gives preference to those without prior experience in the publishing industry. This way, Horizon is spreading both ebullience and experience.
Each magazine can be found online with physical copies at the Magid Center for Writing. To learn more about each publication and how to get involved, visit each magazine's website or the publications section of the Magid website.