Interview with Editor: Leah Browning

Leah Browning has worked as a freelance writer and editor since 1995.  She is the author of three nonfiction books for teens and pre-teens (Capstone Press) and two chapbooks: Picking Cherries in the Española Valley (Dancing Girl Press, 2010) and Making Love to the Same Man for Fifteen Years (Big Table Publishing, 2009).  Browning’s fiction, poetry, essays, and articles have previously appeared in a variety of publications including Queen’s Quarterly, 42opus, The Saint Ann’s Review, Blood Orange Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, Brink Magazine, and Autumn Sky Poetry, as well as on a broadside from Broadsided Press, on postcards from the program Poetry Jumps Off the Shelf, and in several anthologies.  In addition to writing, Browning serves as editor of the Apple Valley Review, an online literary journal.  Each issue features a collection of poetry, short fiction, and essays.

Natasha Stagg: How does your magazine fit into the world of publishing today?

Leah Browning: It’s an online journal.

NS: Does it do anything that no one else is doing?

LB: Not really.  I love reading traditional print journals, and if anything, my goal was to recreate that experience.

NS: Where are you from, and where do you live now?

LB: I’m originally from New Mexico, and I’m currently living in California.

NS: How do you feel about literary journals in general: simply a necessary means to an end, or something more worthwhile than even anthologies these days?

LB: I guess I’d say neither.  I don’t see them as more or less important than anthologies. They’re different but both valuable.

NS: What kind of stuff does your journal publish?

LB: Short stories (including flash fiction), essays, and poetry.

NS: How do we submit?

LB: In a nutshell, I request exclusive submissions pasted into the body of a single e-mail message. There are no reading fees, and submissions are read year-round.

NS: Do you think literary journals are endangered?

LB: No. Print journals are struggling more right now—in particular, those whose university funding is disappearing in this difficult economy—but many are heading toward a hybrid or online-only format.

NS: Is becoming “online only” something to be worried about?

LB: I don’t think I can answer that, at least not from the perspective of a print veteran. The Apple Valley Review has always been online only.

NS: Will only the fittest survive, and could this be a good thing?

LB: I don’t think it’s that cutthroat, no. Also, despite the challenges, people start new literary journals all the time.

NS: Had you heard of Sonora Review before this?

LB: Yes. I was fortunate enough to live in Tucson for several years, and I’m familiar with the University of Arizona’s creative writing program.

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