The Bosphorus Review is an online, English-language literary journal based in Istanbul. They publish fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and book reviews. They “aim to provide a platform for cross-cultural exchange, making space for literary works and non-fictional commentary for readers in Turkey and across the world.”
I was curious how and why this lit mag began, so I asked Poetry Editor Liam Murray a few questions to find out. See my interview with Murray and a link to submission guidelines below.
HOPKINSON: Tell me a little bit about The Bosphorus Review and how/why it was started.
MURRAY: The Bosphorus Review came about through a real need for somewhere for Istanbul’s various communities to have a place to publish work. The city has a vibrant literary culture in terms of Turkish language literary publications, journals, and zines, but in terms of the English language, we were quite limited to news-sites and tourist/new-comer guides. When Luke Frostick, a published novelist and short-story writer, met with Thomas Simkins, a poet, at a Spoken Word event, the two hit it off and came to this very conclusion and The Bosphorus Review was born.
HOPKINSON: Who is your target reader audience?
MURRAY: Since those days, what started as a rather rough and tumble assortment of local writers has expanded to contributions from all over the world, and this has only been paralleled by the readership, which is global. Although we like our international appeal, we still do like to highlight the wonderful literary and cultural developments of our city, country, and region, so we give that extra priority, especially in terms of our choices for book reviews and non-fictional works. That said, those interested in Turkey and our cultural milieu will find the magazine a lot of fun, but there’s also lots for literature fans and culture vultures in general to feed off of.
HOPKINSON: What type of work are you looking for?
MURRAY: As I said above, we like to provide a platform for local writers, or those who have a link to the city and the region, whether through the subject of their work or the facts of their own lives in general – but, never at the expense of good content! If you have something to get across, it doesn’t matter if you are a haiku writer from Kashmir or a science fiction nut from Alabama, just get in touch.
HOPKINSON: What do you wish you’d see submitted, but rarely comes in?
MURRAY: As the poetry editor, I would like to see us form a greater link with Turkish writers. The contributions we have already got from them have been great, and they only need to provide an English translation to present alongside their text – which we’re glad to help with. But poetry translation can be quite daunting, so I understand it might take a while for them to put us on the consideration list.
HOPKINSON: What are some of your favorite lit mags/journals?
MURRAY: I’ve found some real gems online, especially journals that match us in terms of capacity and scope. Sonic Boom is an India-based journal that specialises in Japanese forms to the same degree that we like to prioritise, but not exclusivise, Turkish themes, for example, and I’ve really enjoyed digging into their editions recently. We also have a very vibrant zine culture here. It’s very punk and there is a true spirit of community in that scene, with a proliferation of at least 20 publications in print.
HOPKINSON: What is your favorite part of being on staff with The Bosphorus Review?
MURRAY: It’s a labour of love. With that, comes a natural satisfaction that isn’t tinged with the more capitalistic needs that sort of emerge naturally in more established literary rags. We hope to extend this even into our next phase, which will be seeking support on Patreon and through other such sponsorship in that we will be transparent and give each contributor an equal share of the pie. I think this will ensure that the labour-of-loveness aspect successfully resists what would otherwise make it a “job” in the duller sense.
HOPKINSON: Where can poets send submissions?
HOPKINSON: If someone has a question, how can they contact you?
MURRAY: Email is the best way, for sure. But we try our best to handle the social media messages.
SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Open year-round
SUBMISSION FEE: None
FORMS: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, book reviews