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Focus on the Incubator Journal lit mag

Writing.ie | Guest Bloggers | Random Acts of Optimism

Alison Wells

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The Incubator is a new lit mag that focuses on showcasing work from writers in Ireland and Northern Ireland. The emphasis is on the short story form but with memoir, essay and poetry too.  The official launch of the first issue (exciting!) is on Sunday 8 June, 2pm at the Black Box in Belfast so they’d be glad to see you there! I’m speaking to Kelly Creighton, Editor, today who kindly agreed to tell me all about the vision and aims of The Incubator.

AW: The Incubator Journal is brand new, what can we expect?

KC: The idea for The Incubator Journal has been evolving for a long time and we’re excited to finally launch Issue 1 in June.

The Incubator will always showcase vibrant short fiction from writers living in – or originally from – NI and Ireland; June is also our memoir issue. You can expect reviews too, and a fantastic interview with Aileen Armstrong, the author of End of Days.

AW: Who’s behind the Incubator Journal, what’s your background and why did you decide to create a new lit journal? What is the ambition of the journal with regard to Irish writing?

KC: I’m the Editor and Anne Caughey is the Assistant Editor; we both come from writing backgrounds.

They say if you can’t find the book you want to read then write it. We’ve taken that idea to the journal and created the kind of journal that we would like to read. We want to read a journal from Northern Ireland with lots of diverse work by local writers and to get the chance to hear them read their work in a public launch. (Our launch is on Sunday 8 June, 2pm at the Black Box in Belfast – all welcome!)

We have an ongoing guest blog where we are always looking for 500 words on people’s individual creative processes, as The Incubator takes its name from the psychology of creativity. We are inspired by what makes people want to create and we hope others will be inspired too.

AW: Your emphasis is on the ‘contemporary short story’. Ireland had a strong tradition in the short story are you looking to update Irish writing from the traditional to new styles and topics? And if so what kind of writing are you hoping to see?

KC: The Irish short story is so diverse nowadays. We love that in Issue 1 we have memoirs from Ireland, Spain and Japan, and fiction from Africa and USA. Of course we also have the rural Irish tales too. It’s all about diversity. You don’t want to read the same story over and over. It was very clear to us that The Incubator has to be a journal that begs to be read from cover to cover. Also, we don’t want to tell people what kind of writing to send, no themes, we want to be surprised. We love work that has been meticulously edited and that has a strong voice.


AW: There are an abundance of literary mags out there, what do you want to be different about The Incubator?

KC: We don’t want any biographies sent with submissions. For us this is vital and fair. We read blind so that there is no predetermined idea of who will be published.

We have an ongoing guest blog where we are always looking for 500 words on people’s individual creative processes, as The Incubator takes its name from the psychology of creativity. We are inspired by what makes people want to create and we hope others will be inspired too.
AW: Tell me more about the feature issues that you hope to present in the coming months and your interview features.

KC: Issue 1 is memoir; we have four great memoirs for you and the review of a memoir. For Issue 2 we will be seeking (one scene) plays; Issue 3 is essays and Issue 4 poems, alongside flash fiction and short stories of course.

I was interested in interviewing Aileen Armstrong for Issue 1; I was struck by her honesty. Aileen is a great talent and has given us a brilliant interview that I know everyone will love. We have an interview lined up for the next issue with a poet, this was an idea pitched to us. We are very much about collaborative works. So get in touch, pitch us a review or an interview.
AW: What is most exciting to you about the Irish writing scene at the moment? Are there particular favourite authors who epitomize what you hope Irish writing can be on a worldwide stage?

JC: We are excited when writers from here do well. Irish writing is sensational at the minute and at the forefront of many prestigious prizes. Finding new voices to follow – through the submissions we receive – is really exciting too.
AW: Do you envisage a print format for your journal in the future? How does the online format work for you in reaching readers?

KC: There are no two ways about it, people love to see their work in print, and they can, they can buy a copy of the journal or download it. At the moment we can’t give contributor’s copies and that is something we would love to be able to do. Maybe down the line and through funding… who knows? For now, with the start of something new, the immediacy and the ironing out of any wrinkles in formatting, online is the way to go. There are lots of positives to being an online journal. Down the line a print journal is definitely something we will look at.
AW: How and when can people make submissions and what are you looking for?

KC: Our reading periods are:

June for plays, flash fiction and short stories

September for essays, flash fiction and short stories

December for poems, flash fiction and short stories

March for memoir, flash fiction and short stories

please send all queries to editor.theincubator@gmail.com

(and you can see all our guidelines here, http://theincubatorjournal.com/submissions/)

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