SAND is a nonprofit literary journal based in Berlin and published twice a year by a team from the city's international community. Featuring work by writers, translators, and artists from around the world, SAND seeks out fresh and underrepresented perspectives.
I was curious how and why this art and literary magazine began, so I asked Poetry Editors Crista Siglin and Emma Lawson, and Prose Editors Ashley Moore and Melissa Richer a few questions to find out. See my interview and a link to submission guidelines below.
HOPKINSON: Tell me a little bit about SAND.
SAND: SAND is an indie literary journal that features work by writers, translators, and artists from around the world. We seek out fresh work that takes risks and especially encourage submissions from underrepresented perspectives. Based in Berlin, we're a nonprofit run by an all-volunteer team driven by our passion for literature and art.
HOPKINSON: How/why was SAND originally started?
SAND: In 2009, Berlin's English-language literary scene was small but growing, and our founder Becky Crook saw an opportunity to foster English-language literature and art by creating SAND. Since that time, the English literary scene in Berlin has blossomed, and SAND's evolving team has published 20 issues of visual art and English-language fiction, nonfiction, and poetry (including translations) from forty countries and territories. We celebrated our 10-year anniversary this year.
HOPKINSON: Who is your target reader audience?
SAND: Our readers come to us for work that they won't likely find in more traditional journals. They're also probably as interested in the written word as they are in visual art. We are proud to provide a home for pieces that might be hard to define or place thanks to the risks that are taken with that work.
HOPKINSON: What type of work are you looking for?
SAND: We're currently open for poems, short fiction, flash fiction, translations, and visual art. We are eclectic and look for submissions that push the boundaries of form, language, message, and voice in fresh and unpredictable ways. Work that is haunting for its soul, edge, truth. We are all about work that subverts, whether subtly or overtly. Fresh can be slow, sensitive can be rough, bold can be quiet.
There's more information in the following links on standing out in our pile of fiction submissions, our approach to poetry, what kind of visual art we're looking for, and our commitment to diversity. Reading excerpts from past issues is the best way to get to know us. We also have a YouTube channel, where you can watch interviews with past contributors and a Q&A with our editorial team.
HOPKINSON: What kind of submissions would you like to see more of?
SAND: We receive a lot of good work at SAND, but there are some types of submissions we'd love to see more of. On the poetry side, we'd like to see more weird, challenging, and sensitive poems. Poems unanticipated. Work that considers time and the space of the page. On the fiction side we’d like to see more unconventional forms, speculative stories, genre-benders, translations, and stories that, like our international team, cross borders.
We are proud to be publishing very diverse perspectives and to see increasing submissions from writers and artists who are women, LGBTQ+, geographically underrepresented, and people of color. We'd like to continue seeing larger and larger numbers of these submissions, and to see even more work that explores disabilities and working class perspectives.
HOPKINSON: What are some of your favorite lit mags/journals?
SAND: We're big fans of literary journals and admire PANK, BOMB, Fugue, Alaska Quarterly Review, Banshee, The Lifted Brow, Gorse, Korean Literature Now, among many, many others. We also enjoy non-literary publications like Nansen, Kajet, Siberian Times, Riposte, Flaneur, and Dummy.
HOPKINSON: What is your favorite part of being on staff with SAND?
SAND: It's amazing to work for an organization that is as passionate, open, and committed to diversity as SAND is. We love how adaptable and welcoming our team is, and how we are constantly considering the ethics of literature, art and publishing: how to support writers, artists, and translators whose voices need to be heard more, how to encourage those writers and artists to submit, and how to treat their work with the most respect possible during the editing and publishing processes.
HOPKINSON: Where can folks send submissions?
SAND: Read our submissions guidelines and send your submissions to us on our Submittable page. We'll never charge you for submissions, though donations and journal purchases are always welcome (and help us to stay weird and independent).
HOPKINSON: If someone has a question, how can they contact you?
SAND: Most submissions questions can be answered in our submissions guidelines, which are found on our webpage and on our Submittable page. For any questions that aren't covered in the guidelines, we can be reached here.
DEADLINE: September 1, 2020
FORMAT: print and online features/samples
SUBMISSION FEE: None
PAYMENT: "Thanks to a grant from the Berlin Senate, we are now able to pay our contributors. We also send all contributors a free copy of SAND and promise faithful promotion of your writing/art for as long as we both shall live."
FORMS: poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, translations, visual art
SUBMISSION METHOD: Submittable