The Hunger is an online literary journal published three times a year: Winter, Spring, and Fall. You can read their inaugural issue on their site to see what types of writing and art they are publishing. Their site has a nice, clean aesthetic with some pretty amazing art. Don’t miss the art on their About page or in the first issue!
I wondered how and why this journal came to be, so I asked Editors Lena Ziegler and Erin Slaughter a few questions to find out. See my interview and a link to their submission guidelines below.
HOPKINSON: Tell me a little bit about The Hunger.
ZIEGLER/SLAUGHTER: We think of The Hunger as an opportunity for literal madness. It’s a place for readers and writers to divulge their secrets, cradle themselves in well-crafted words, and explore the broad strokes of humanity our contributors hone in on in their work. We want this to be a journal that people actually read. We want it to be a home for anyone who craves intimacy with strangers. For people who aren’t embarrassed to be messily human.
HOPKINSON: How/why was The Hunger originally started?
ZIEGLER/SLAUGHTER: We met while we were both living in Kentucky, pursuing MFAs in Creative Writing, and instantly became soul-bonded best friends. Our friendship became foundational to our careers as writers, as we found ourselves inspired by each other’s work; we became each other’s “ideal reader,” dealing with many of the same themes and feelings in our writing, even though our styles are often very different. We talked about how much we wished there was a journal where we could go for writerly inspiration, just to read the kind of work that makes us want to cut our guts out. We talked about how rarely we find opportunities to publish polished, spectacularly honest work with a confessional bend, that doesn’t necessarily adhere to expectations of literary writing, but doesn’t sacrifice on quality or talent either. Ultimately we felt that if we wanted it to exist we had to create it.
HOPKINSON: Who is your target reader audience?
ZIEGLER/SLAUGHTER: Anyone. Literally any alive human creature–but particularly anyone who likes to write or read viscerally honest work, but is afraid there isn’t a place for them. Come looking for answers, come joyful or broken; The Hunger is the place for you.
HOPKINSON: What type of work are you looking for?
ZIEGLER/SLAUGHTER: The type of work you are really, really proud of, but are afraid might be too confessional or explicit for a literary magazine to want to publish. Work that is unapologetic. You hear this a lot, but we actually mean it. Work you’re scared to have other people read. Work you’re kind of scared even exists. We love a balance between the humorous and the heartbreaking, and we have a passion for weirdos.
HOPKINSON: What do you wish you’d see submitted, but rarely comes in?
ZIEGLER/SLAUGHTER: More hybrid work! More well-crafted literary strangeness/madness. More work from LGBT, gender non-conforming, and POC writers and artists, and people whose experiences and backgrounds aren’t represented or talked about much in the writing you encounter on a regular basis.
Work that stands alone without explanation. Ambiguous endings. Self-harm that doesn’t only involve cigarettes or liquor, but the full range of possibilities. We aren’t terribly hung up on plot and would really like to receive more energetic, voice-driven fiction with exceptional characters. We’re a little tired of long, standard literary fiction. Anything over ten pages needs serious momentum.
HOPKINSON: What are some of your favorite lit mags/journals?
ZIEGLER/SLAUGHTER: Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Black Warrior Review, DIAGRAM, Tammy, Rabbit Catastrophe Review, Millennial Pink Magazine, and elsewhere.
HOPKINSON: Where can folks send submissions?
ZIEGLER/SLAUGHTER: We ask that people send submissions via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Because we want the quality of work to speak (or howl) for itself, we read submissions with names redacted, so it’s pretty important that there is no identifying information on the document. For more info on our preferred word counts, open reading periods, and the type of work we crave, check out our submission guidelines: thehungerjournal.com/submit.
HOPKINSON: If someone has a question, how can they contact you?
ZIEGLER/SLAUGHTER: The best way to contact us is by email, at email@example.com, or through our Facebook page, facebook.com/HungerJournal. If nothing else, shout your troubles into a vacant night sky and we’ll probably show up eventually.
DEADLINE: April 15, 2018
SUBMISSION FEE: None
FORMS: fiction, poetry, nonfiction, hybrid/experimental, art/photograhy