PROTOCOLS is an online cultural journal that seeks to amplify the voices of Jewish writers and artists marginalized and excluded for their identities and/or ideas. They welcome submissions of all forms of writing and art for future issues. You can read all of their issues online here.
I was curious how and why this journal began, so I asked Literary Editor Cady Vishniac a few questions to find out. See my interview with Vishniac and a link to submission guidelines below.
HOPKINSON: Tell me a little bit about PROTOCOLS.
VISHNIAC: PROTOCOLS is an online quarterly for Jews to create, express, transform, organize, resist, and rebel as Jews. We come together as writers, artists, thinkers, and activists committed to meaningful practices of radical creativity and change as well as the endurance and dynamism of Jewish life and culture.
HOPKINSON: How/why was PROTOCOLS originally started?
VISHNIAC: PROTOCOLS was originally started to serve as a home for provocative writing and art from across the global Jewish diaspora with attention to progressive and leftist politics. Facing the uncanny crises of renewed right-wing populism and authoritarianism across the world, we felt an urgent need for a specifically Jewish cultural space that would bring together a wide scope of writers and artists separated by geography, language, identity, and media. In doing so, PROTOCOLS meant to create an interdisciplinary archive and networked community uniquely positioned to contest and transform our current world through the fields of Jewish culture and thought.
HOPKINSON: Who is your target reader audience?
VISHNIAC: Our target reader audience includes those seeking to engage with the particularly Jewish dimensions of art and leftist politics. We thus intentionally seek to engage a diversity of readers from across the global Jewish diaspora. We also have a particular interest in targeting thought and activism leaders, challenging and pushing their work forward.
HOPKINSON: What type of work are you looking for?
VISHNIAC: I want writing that is urgent. I want writing that presents an unsolvable mess and leaves my brain picking up the pieces. Don’t tell me how to get out of the mess! No wrapping it up with a bow, giving me answers, or going easy on me. I wish more people would write about the Texts of Judaism the way Devon Spier did in her poems for our last issue. Show me the mess that can happen when the Text and my values conflict, the sages gambling as I know the women do the work of “finding what precedes dust and ash.”
On a more concrete level, I will also say that I prefer the contemporary. There are a lot of nostalgic tales of the Old Country or tales of trauma incurred in the Holocaust out there, but we can tread new ground. What else? I rarely enjoy what people call “core” science fiction or fantasy, but am a sucker for magical realist narratives. I also like authors who know stuff, who address the facts that aren’t common knowledge. Fewer golems, more people who can write about giants in ways that let me know they’ve really read up on Jewish giants.
HOPKINSON: What do you wish you’d see submitted, but rarely comes in?
VISHNIAC: Translations! Linked flash! While we love and will continue to publish the more “traditional” literary forms of short story and poem, we’d be very excited to receive a more expansive variety of genres, including multimedia work incorporating sound, documents, video, etc. Or comics! Or something else!
HOPKINSON: What are some of your favorite lit mags/journals?
VISHNIAC: I have collected every back issue of McSweeney’s, mostly by carefully combing through second-hand bookstores. I do read Granta and Electric Lit, but so far I’m only naming the usual names. New Letters is beautiful and was so considerate with me when I won their contest as a naive undergrad, so I’ve got a major soft spot. Joyland, New Ohio Review. Obviously Lilith!
HOPKINSON: Where can Jewish poets/writers/artists send submissions?
VISHNIAC: Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
HOPKINSON: If someone has a question, how can they contact you?
VISHNIAC: By emailing email@example.com.
SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Open year-round
SUBMISSION FEE: None
FORMS: all forms of writing and art