The Weird Reader is an online art and literary magazine founded in 2016 that publishes a new volume annually. Their tagline reads “A literary magazine full of the strange, disturbing, fantastic, and otherworldly.”
I was curious how and why this art and literary magazine began, so I asked TWR staff a few questions to find out. See my interview and a link to submission guidelines below.
HOPKINSON: Tell me a little bit about The Weird Reader.
TWR: The Weird Reader is a magazine that slips somewhere in the gaps between science fiction, horror, dystopian, humor, and traditional literary journals. Soon to release its third annual edition, it showcases fiction, nonfiction, poetry, art, and photography that captures a specific, tingly sensation of curiosity that we like to call lighthearted darkness.
HOPKINSON: How/why was The Weird Reader originally started?
TWR: The Weird Reader began with an idea from our founder, Michael Burnham, whose birthday is (appropriately) on Halloween. It originally started as a party/concert where friends could sell art, stories, and music. However, it didn’t quite turn out like Michael wanted, and it made him want to do more. He went to some of his writerly and artistic friends (including “the trilogy,” three best friends who remain with the journal today) and together they came up with the idea of a full on literary journal, with a professional call for submissions throughout the world. Despite the fact that it was already midway through the summer, they began to gather a team together to make it happen by October.
After many late nights, learning experiences, and amazing submissions, the first volume of The Weird Reader was finished, and the web version released on their projected date, October 13th 2016.
HOPKINSON: Who is your target reader audience?
TWR: We want anyone with interest in creative, unique, unusual, thought provoking stories to be able to enjoy The Weird Reader, regardless of age or beliefs, which is why we avoid “mature” content. If you enjoy the Twilight Zone, Over the Garden Wall, anything by Ray Bradbury, Agatha Christie, Alfred Hitchcock, or Edgar Allen Poe, you’ll enjoy The Weird Reader.
HOPKINSON: What type of work are you looking for?
TWR: We’re looking for short stories, flash fiction, art, photography, poetry, and nonfiction that stuns, thrills, inspires, and tickles. We’re not looking for stories that are weird for weird’s sake, but stories that offer insight, commentary, creativity, and imagination on humanity, life, death, existence, and mind-boggling ideas. We want a wide spread of themes, settings, characters, realities, universes, and conflicts, all bound together by a sense of deeper meaning and fresh imagination.
HOPKINSON: What do you wish you’d see submitted, but rarely comes in?
TWR: Nonfiction submissions have always been scarce. Right now, we are also hoping for more artists and photographers to join the Weird community. We love seeing the amazing and provoking art that solidifies what we want the Reader to convey.
HOPKINSON: What are some of your favorite lit mags/journals?
TWR: We love and respect some classics such as The New Yorker and The Paris Review, and have looked to them for inspiration. Deep Magic is another favorite, and we love Sink Hollow, which started in Cache Valley with fresh USU graduates, just like us.
HOPKINSON: Where can folks send submissions?
HOPKINSON: If someone has a question, how can they contact you?
TWR: We would be happy to answer any questions over our email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SUBMISSION DEADLINE: July 13, 2018
SUBMISSION FEE: None
FORMS: short stories, flash fiction, art, photography, poetry, and nonfiction