Discover more from Lit Mag News
"We are Very Interested in That Dialogue Between Voices." A Chat With Juli Min, Editor of Shanghai Literary Review
Founding Editor of Shanghai-based lit mag takes us behind the scenes
Another journal editor interview is in the books!
Yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking with Juli Min, Editor of Shanghai Literary Review. This magazine
is interested in art and criticism about urbanism, globalism, identity, and transnationalism, though by no means should submissions be limited to those topics. We'll publish a good story about cats in Africa if it floors us. Selected works will be published online and in print.
Juli started the magazine with some friends upon moving to Shanghai several years ago. She had been in New York City, where there had been a lively and thriving literary scene. In Shanghai, she found she wanted to recreate that experience. Through the journal, she and her fellow editors were able to connect to the literary scene that already existed as well as foster their own through readings, open mics, collaborations with local musicians and more.
Sadly, much of this ended at the start of the pandemic in 2020 and as Shanghai went into strict lockdown. Today, Juli has found that the scene is returning to life, though it is not quite what it was before 2020. China in 2023, she observed, is very different from what it was in 2016.
That said, the editors here are not interested in work that is expressly political. “We are very literary,” Juli said. “We are looking for writers who pay very close attention to craft.”
I noted that I thought the mission of the magazine felt vital and was rather beautiful, given the heating tensions between China and the U.S. Whatever is happening on the geopolitical stage, here is a space where artists are continuing to make art—writers telling their stories, poets sharing their poems.
Work submitted to this magazine does not necessarily need to deal with Asia explicitly. They have published a mix of established and newer writers, featuring a range of voices and subject matter. The common thread among the works is really just greatness.
Indeed, when I asked Juli if she had a particular wish list for work she would like to see more of, she said in fact she didn’t. The magazine already gets hundreds of submissions, and the editors are routinely struck by the high caliber of the work.
The editors read everything that comes in. For this reason, response times can be a bit longer than most writers might like. At present, Juli said, she has 1,000 pieces waiting in the queue to be read. She is trying to keep up with all of it and is doing her best. The editors treat the submissions with care, talk in detail about the submitted works, and occasionally work with writers to strengthen works that have been accepted before publication.
To the question of why she stays in this line of work, what keeps her motivated and inspired, Juli gave one of the best answers I’ve heard on the subject.
For that, and for so many more insights into this journal’s vision and process, you will have to watch the video, my friends!
Shanghai Literary Review publishes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, translations, book reviews and visual art. They just opened for submissions. All submissions are free through October 9th.
To all who came out to join us, thanks for tuning in!
And, of course, thank you to Juli for joining us all the way from China to take us behind the scenes of another lovely little magazine.
Lit Mag News is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.