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Lit Mag Spotlight: Neon Magazine

NeonHappy fall, everyone! This month’s Lit Mag Spotlight presents Neon Magazine, a UK-based journal welcoming international contributors. Their editor, Krishan Coupland, took the time to tell Writer’s Relief a little about his ideal submission, how Neon came into being, and what makes them stick around. Enjoy! (Oh, and check out Neon‘s blog. It’s great!)

CONTEST: Leave a comment on this post by October 3 to enter to win a Neon mini-subscription consisting of the current issue and the next issue to be published! PLUS: Readers of this article can receive a discount on a Neon subscription up through November 1, 2013! Just visit this special link. This contest is now closed. Congratulations to our winner, Penny, and thanks to all who participated!   

Give us the lowdown on your journal’s mission.

I want to publish stories and poems that are different from the kinds of things that normally appear in literary magazines. Weird, haunting, impossible yet entirely plausible stories. Poems that play with language or space and yet still make sense without needing to be decoded.

Neon began mostly as a project for myself. Because of that, I’ve always tried to publish the kind of thing I love to read. I’ve been fortunate that so many other people enjoy the same type of writing.

Describe your ideal submission in 15 words or less.

Fresh, attention-grabbing, and really quite weird.

Tell us about a piece you recently published that got the staff really excited. Why did you love it? Why did it strike a chord?

In the latest issue there’s a sequence of poems by Sarah Greenfield Clark. You can read the first one online and then download the issue free if you want to read the others. I liked the way that each piece was complete in itself, but added to a longer story—and it helped that this longer story was absolutely gripping.

Regarding submissions: What’s the most common turnoff that you encounter (in terms of craft)?

I’m not a big fan of stories where the narrator directly addresses the reader—to my ears it just sounds kind of quaint and corny. There’s nothing particularly wrong with it, but it doesn’t really suit the atmosphere I’m going for with Neon.

What’s the most common oversight (in terms of submission guidelines)?

I receive a lot of submissions that include some poems or a story, but no other information. In these cases I don’t even know the name of the writer. Submissions sent without a cover letter always seem quite impersonal to me. Even a quick hello is better than nothing.

Why is your journal awesome?

I work really hard to get amazing writing for the magazine, and there’s not been an issue yet that I’m not proud of. There are pieces from a dozen issues ago that still haunt me. If Neon is awesome, it’s because of the awesome people who write for it.

I’m also proud of the fact that the money from subscriptions and donations is shared with the writers whose work I publish. That way, if you subscribe, you really are supporting the work of the writers you read.

Where can readers find your submission guidelines?

The guidelines for Neon can be found here. If there’s anything that’s not addressed there, or something someone would like more guidance on, I’m happy to answer questions by email. Just get in touch via the contact form.

I get a lot of submissions for the magazine and just can’t respond personally to each one. I always make a point of writing a personalized response to subscribers and donors though.

Submit to Review Board

What else would you like to say?

While I’m here, it’d be great to let people know about some of the other things that can be found on the Neon website. Firstly, there’s the blog, where I publish interviews with the writers featured in the magazine, as well as book reviews and news from past contributors. Then, there’s the link directory, where I’ve collected hundreds of useful links and organized them into lists of literary magazines, agents, publishers, and organizations. Most are UK-based, but many will be of interest to writers all over the world.

Check out Neon on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+!

This contest is now closed.

8 Responses to Lit Mag Spotlight: Neon Magazine


  2. Love Neon and love this interview! Always good to hear what editors are looking for in submissions.

  3. I love the energy of Neon. Every litmag has its own flavour but Neon seems to find the poets who are just that bit different, while still having great literary skill.
    Everyone seems to be talking about the mag at the moment! The Review Review has been discussing Neon too. Good luck to you.

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