Editing Anthologies

Verandah journal
Verandah journal

‘Being a literary major, I’ve always been told to think outside the words on the page in front of me; to see their effect, to see their purpose, and to understand their importance.
I’ve always believed that the most important thing about the words on those pages is that someone found value in them, enough to share them with the world.’

A few months ago, I started a blog where I would begin my editing career. These were the first words that I published, and little did I know how much more meaning would be assigned to them when I’d begin to read through the hundreds of submissions that we received this year for Verandah journal. It was tough, and it was long, but we narrowed them down to a wonderful bunch of writers with hilarious, morbid and frightening stories to tell. This past Sunday, we launched them for the world to see.

With a crowd of around forty people, The Owl and Cat Theatre transformed into a literary and art festivity. We had readings from some of our wonderful contributors and our prizewinners were awarded their prizes for outstanding creativity and literary genius.
I’m so excited to be able to share this with you through Busybird, as the team here is so passionate about anthologies and the joy they bring with them. Their own [untitled] was launched the week previously, and it was wonderful for them to have such a great turnout.

This type of publication is one that fosters and nurtures some of the greatest writers. As Blaise mentioned in her blog From Little Things … Busybird has been the launching pad for quite a few literary careers, and knowing that you were one of the people who saw a future in their writing must be an outstanding feeling. As Verandah has had around 30 authors every year for the past 31 years, it would take quite a bit of time to check how many authors have gone on to greater things, but it would be just as powerful to know that our humble and confused team of editors were able to give someone the confidence to pursue a career in writing. Aspiring writers ourselves, being able to find greatness in a piece is equally as rewarding as being able to stand in front of them and offer them a printed anthology with their name just inside the cover.

We also had the wonderful opportunity of meeting one of the first Verandah editors, who began this beautiful mess over thirty years ago for a new team to continue each year since. The world is in need of anthologies now as much as it was when Verandah was first launched into Melbourne’s literature scene.

Sure, publications like Verandah and [untitled] probably won’t attract a lot of attention and probably won’t sell out. They aren’t made to be financially viable, and we’ve donated more of our time to them than we have to sleeping, but they offer a world of possibilities to those who aren’t confident in their skills. They assure them that they have something to say, and that they’ve found a place where they can comfortably say it. I’m incredibly glad to be able to intern at a publishing house that sees the value in small publications (and one that has produced so many!).

We’ll be launching this Sunday the 11th of September down in Geelong for the first time ever. Though we’ve focused on being in Melbourne the past few decades, it’s important for us to move around to other cities and encourage submissions.

If you have a short story, some poetry or any other creative outlet that you want to share, be sure to watch out for anthologies looking for submissions; or if you want to be an editor yourself, keep a close eye on Verandah’s website in the next few weeks. We’re just about ready to choose a new band of crusading editors and designers for Verandah 32.

Lauren Magee, Editorial Intern

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