• The Southwestern

No work gets rejected: SWOSU graduate launches literary journal

Updated: Apr 6

Amber Thompson, a 2018 graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences, recently launched a literary journal with a unique model: no work gets rejected.

Too Well Away Literary Journal offers a total of 50 submission slots per reading period for poetry, creative nonfiction, flash fiction, and art/photography. All work that meets community standard guidelines is accepted and goes through a collaborative editing process.

Although she obtained her B.A. in Communication Arts with a Mass Communication emphasis, it was Thompson’s electives in the SWOSU English department that inspired a new passion for poetry and creative nonfiction.

“My professors really encouraged me to see the value of my experiences and my own voice,” Thompson, who last year self-published a short collection of poetry, said.

Since graduation she has submitted to dozens of literary journals and has had a handful of pieces published. But she was unsatisfied with the process of submitting her work.

“Rejection is an expectation in so many pursuits, especially writing,” Thompson said. “What I was frustrated with was the fact that it seemed like no place wanted to help me improve my writing or explain why it wasn’t a good fit.”

Feeling as though she wasn’t the only emerging writer facing this issue, she set out to create something new. Her aim with the journal is to provide writers with three things: publication, constructive feedback, and community. The name of the journal is taken from a line in Robert Frost’s poem “Revelation” that reads, “So all who hide too well away/Must speak and tell us where they are.”

“People who want to share a part of themselves creatively deserve to be heard,” Thompson said.

The first issue debuted online on Monday, February 15, with a total of 43 submissions with contributors spanning from SWOSU friends to around the world. A print version is available for purchase on Amazon.

The submission period for Issue #2 opened March 1 and closes April 30. There is no fee to submit. Individuals interested in submitting their work can visit toowellaway.com or email Thompson at toowellawaylit@gmail.com.

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