"An Underlying Sensibility of Spaciousness." A Chat With Steven Wingate, Editor of Oakwood Magazine
Editor of Great Plains lit mag takes us into the world of his magazine
Another interview has wrapped, friends!
Today I had the pleasure of speaking with Steven Wingate, Editor of Oakwood Magazine. Oakwood is housed at South Dakota State University, and is edited by students. In recent years the magazine has expanded to include writing from people of all ages, so long as the writer has a connection to The Great Plains region.
I am a city girl, born and raised. The extent of my knowledge of The Great Plains is encapsulated in the 800+ pages of Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove. So of course I had to ask Steven a ton of basic questions. What are The Great Plain’s physical boundaries? Is there a dominant sensibility of this area? And, does Oakwood Magazine seek to celebrate the region or offer a more complicated picture?
While there is some dispute about this, Steven classified The Great Plains as Wyoming, Iowa, Minnesota, North and South Dakota, and Nebraska. Insofar as sensibility, Steven described an appreciation for spaciousness. This is also reflected in the aesthetic he curates for the magazine, with a careful attention to the magazine’s layout and the white space on the page.
And no, Oakwood is not interested in work that merely celebrates the region. This is as much a home for writing that reveals a push-and-pull with these places as it is for writing that presents a singly positive view. Submissions also need not be exclusively about this place, so long as the writer themself has a personal connection to the area.
The magazine is edited by students. So we also talked about what the kids are up to these days. Do they ever like work that Steven disagrees about publishing? Are they social media savants? Are they all teaching him how to use the latest “widget-wodgets” (my extremely technical term)? You’ll have to watch the video to find out.
Oakwood is open right now for submissions. They seek work written by writers who are affiliated with The Great Plains region. Submissions will close mid-February. You can expect to hear a response by around March, with the issue going to print in April. Submissions are free, and should be submitted as an attachment via email.
To all of you who have been coming out to watch and attend these sessions, thank you! Your support brings me joy!
And of course, thank you to Steven, for taking the time to shed some light on this corner of the literary world.
Reminder: The next interview will be this Friday, December 10th at 11:30 am, with Joshua Bohnsack of TriQuarterly. Learn more and register here.