Sarah Doukakos: It doesn’t, really. We’re not concerned about making a profit, so we are able to focus on putting together great content and getting it into as many hands/on as many computer screens as possible.
NS: Does it do anything that no one else is doing?
SD: We both encourage our staff to write up posts for our website. The people who put together each issue are all incredibly talented and passionate about writing, and we want to show that to our readers. It’s a fun way to give our publication some personality and show our readers that the people who put together our magazine are as interesting as the authors and artists we publish.
NS: Where are you from, and where do you live now?
SD: I have spent half of my life in Minnesota, and half in Michigan. I live in Ann Arbor, Michigan at the moment.
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?
SD: I feel like literary journals are a great way for people to create work without a lot of pressure. People can send in whatever they want and have a chance to get their names out there. Promises of fame and fortune are the best. I also feel the format allows more readers to find something interesting and unexpected. Picking up a magazine less intimidating and less of a time sink than picking up an anthology or book.
NS: What kind of stuff does Fortnight publish?
SD: We publish student-created poetry, prose, and art. We’ve published letters that are rants about sorority culture, single panel comics about graffiti, and instructions for an origami death mask. We like to keep things amusing and intriguing.
NS: Do you think literary journals are endangered?
SD: They will be endangered if they continue to house the attitude that the larger publishing industry often holds. People should not be afraid of digital content or allowing content to be used and viewed for free. It is a great way to get more people interested in something that they might otherwise ignore or overlook. It’s exciting the way that the internet is changing the landscape of all forms of art. The music and movie industry have been battling with content being released early or being pirated for years now, but it has created an atmosphere that is based more on the merit of a work for the broader population, rather than the tastes of an industry. It would be better if the publishing industry understood that that is a losing battle, and instead embrace the idea of free content or content that could have a suggested donation. Trying to put a cap on creativity in the modern age is somewhat futile.
NS: Will only the fittest survive, and could this be a good thing?
SD: Only the fittest will survive in print, but putting content online means that a larger variety of literary magazines and journals can thrive and gain attention, to the point that they may be able to print their content in the future. Printing is a huge expense, but putting content online is easy and relatively cheap (completely free for us. Thank you WordPress!).
NS: What about book-publishing?
SD: The landscape of book publishing might change with the advent of digital content, but that could be a good thing. It could create a closer relationship between authors or publishers and their readers. it may also create more of a market for short stories, since those are quite a bit easier to read online or on ereaders than say, the latest gigantic novel. It may be tough for the industry to change, but when they do, they’ll be more relevant and may in fact have a wider audience for their content. That would be fantastic.
NS: Had you heard of Sonora Review before this?
SD: I have. Oldest graduate-run student literary magazine. Pretty neat stuff. If you guys are the oldest, can we ask for the title of the coolest? Maybe best personality? Most awesome staff? I’ll let you ponder that.