Happy New Year, writers! Our first Lit Mag Spotlight of 2015 is shining on Enizagam, a journal staffed entirely by teenage writers from Oakland School for the Arts. Created to give high school students hands-on experience in the publishing industry, Enizagam is much more than an impressive class project—it’s a high quality literary journal that publishes top-notch poetry, fiction, and interviews by writers from all over the globe. In fact, recent judges for Enizagam writing contests have included world-renowned poet Nikki Giovanni and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Olin Butler.
CONTEST: Leave a comment on this blog post by January 22 to enter to win the last three issues of Enizagam signed by all of the staff members! This contest is now closed. Congratulations to our winner, Lindsay, and thank you to all who participated!
Give us the lowdown on your journal’s mission.
Enizagam journal strives to provide high school students with behind-the-scenes insights into the literary journal publication process in order to give them work exposure for the literary industry. Additionally, we love producing the journal for the sake of encouraging new and diverse writers to submit their best work. We aim to promote writers from all over the world, as well as right in our backyard.
Describe your ideal submission in 15 words or less.
A refreshing perspective: raw and original, sweet or savory, alluring and electric, timeless.
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?
This past year, in our 8th issue, we discovered a young poet named Kat Harville. We selected her as a finalist, and then Eileen Myles chose her as the Poetry Contest winner. It was only after she won that we learned of her age—like many of us, Kat is seventeen years old. Enizagam is her first publication. Her most popular poem with us was “the floating bed,” a beautiful declaration of love. We all fell in love with the piece. It was dripping with imagery and relatable in a spectacular way; drawing the audience into believing they had experienced this kind of intense love. The writing is unique: simplistic images that are strong and bold combined with elaborate, complicated lines that make the reader stop and think about what exactly it means. There is a lot of depth to this piece; there’s something new to understand every time you read it.
Regarding submissions: What’s the most common turnoff that you encounter?
As a journal, we celebrate raw, wild, and explicit work, and we are always looking for new perspectives and stories. Despite that, we are a high school-run journal, and we do not accept anything sexually offensive or any erotica. As young, female editors, we are tired of reading misogynistic and degrading works, and we do not accept anything too sexually graphic or offensive to any race, gender, or identification. There is a difference between work that is sexual, provocative, or seductive, and work that is explicitly erotica—and we are not interested in any of the latter. To us, offensive work is an automatic no; we do not accept any of it in our workplace and we don’t want to allow any of it to come from our journal.
What’s the most common oversight?
Previously, we experienced overwhelming amounts of pages for each fiction submission despite the posted word count guidelines. The set word count for fiction is now 4,000 words.
Why is your journal awesome?
Enizagam has grown substantially over the years, and it is run by staff who are constantly growing alongside it. We are a youthful staff team, yet we have a high standard for the level of maturity required to approach the journal. We have received submissions from all over the world, from Palestine to Canada, and our contest judges include a wide range of authors such as Nikki Giovanni, Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket), Kim Addonizio, Michelle Tea, and Robert Olen Butler.
Where can readers find your submission guidelines?
We receive all of our submissions through Submittable.
What else would you like to say?
Our school is located in downtown Oakland, and the city’s energy and vitality are always moving around us as we work. We love being a part of the dynamic Bay Area literary community and contributing to the city’s love story with art through Enizagam and our staff’s individual successes.
Follow Enizagam on Twitter!
Contest: Leave a comment on this blog post by January 22 to enter to win the last three issues of Enizagam. This contest is now closed.