R177. Behind the Curtain: The Editors Speak

Portland Ballroom 253-254, Oregon Convention Center, Level 2
Thursday, March 28, 2019
10:30 am to 11:45 am


The submission process can be daunting and mysterious. Most of us use an online submission system and then patiently wait—sometimes for more than a year—before receiving a canned rejection. So what can the average writer do to be a better submitter of their work, to catch an editor's eye, to get past the slush pile? This diverse panel assembles some of the top literary magazine editors in the country to answer your questions about the submissions process and what goes on behind the scenes.



Lisa Lucas

Oscar Villalon is the managing editor of ZYZZYVA. He is a former book editor at the San Francisco Chronicle, as well as a past board member of the National Book Critics Circle. He is also a contributing editor to Literary Hub.

Allison Wright is the executive editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review. She also serves as president of the nonprofit literary organization WriterHouse and editor of Tiny Hardcore Press. Her writing has appeared in the Atlantic, VQR, Popular Mechanics, Literary Hub, the Rumpus, and elsewhere.

Emily Nemens became editor of The Paris Review in summer 2018, after five years co-editing The Southern Review. Her fiction has appeared in The Gettysburg Reviewn+1the Iowa Review, and Esquire. Her debut novel, The Cactus League, is forthcoming from FSG in 2020.

Karissa Chen is the editor-in-chief at Hyphen magazine, fiction editor at The Rumpus, and a contributing editor at Catapult. She has published prose in numerous publications including Longreads, Gulf Coast, PEN America, and Guernica. She was awarded a Fulbright research grant to Taiwan in 2015–16.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center