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Wanted: Young writers for literary mag

Louise Wallace

Online literary journal, Starling, is looking for young writers to publish and you could be one of them.

Starling is a twice yearly publication and each issue will feature the work of young writers as well as a new work from an established writer. Starling Editor, Louise Wallace, is on the hunt for New Zealand writers under 25 years of age to submit either prose or poetry to the journal.

A helping hand for young writers

“It can be difficult for young writers to find publication with our more established print journals when they are competing for space with writers who have twenty or thirty or forty year’s experience.”

Louise, the author of two collections of poetry and the current Robert Burns Fellow at the University of Otago, knows how hard it can be as a young writer to get published.

“I grew up in Gisborne and I was always interested in English and writing at school but my opportunities were limited. The good thing about an online journal is that it’s able to reach so many people, both inside and outside main centres. Also, as a young writer it can be really hard competing for publication space with writers who have already established a name for themselves and who have maybe twenty, thirty, fourty year’s experience.”

Starling

Published online twice a year, Starling accepts submissions of poetry or prose from New Zealanders under 25 years of age.

Full instructions on making a submission are available on the Starling website.

Be unique and authentic

As editor of the journal, Louise has useful advice for young writers thinking about submitting work for publication.

“The thing to bear in mind is that we will be receiving hundreds of submissions and we can’t choose them all. So in order for yours to stand out, you need to have a unique writing voice.”

“You can achieve that by using really specific detail and things that are authentic to you — that way you’ll be writing something that no one else could. For example, if you wanted to describe something that smells bad, instead of just saying ‘a bad smell’, think about what ‘bad’ really means to you, and describe it like that. Does it smell like a sack of pipi left in the sun too long? Or maybe some really stinky blue cheese? Use detail to create your voice.”

Perseverance and self-belief

So writing skills are key but Louise thinks a good attitude is also important.

“Perseverance and hard work is a big part of it. If you don’t win a writing competition, or don’t get accepted into a journal, don’t feel disheartened — it happens to all of us! Remember that just because one judge or editor didn’t pick your work on that particular day, it doesn’t mean it’s bad writing.”

“So keep believing in yourself and your abilities, and always try again!”

Updated June 2015