This month, as the editorial team behind each issue of Iris prepares our latest edition, we thought we’d take you behind the scenes with us to learn a little more about how Iris is produced. Today, we’re going to focus on fiction, and will take a look at poetry and illustration in subsequent weeks.
Iris actually began as Iris: New Fiction, when we initially thought that prose would be our major focus. (That changed pretty quickly!) After all, the lack of novel-length YA lit was what prompted us to found Iris in the first place. I had been asked to review one of the few LGBTQ novels written for the YA market and found it lacking in many ways. With a background in publishing (and education), we thought we could do better by seeking out the exception voices in LGBTQ YA that we knew were out there but just weren’t being heard.
We are so proud of the fiction that has found a home within the pages of Iris. We’ve been honored to feature award-winning writers of prose and to be the place of first publication for several writers. (There’s little that’s as exciting – at least for me! – as receiving an email from an accepted author who’s thrilled to have their first byline.) We’ve published college professors and college students in the same issue, and there’s a reason for that. Iris is committed to telling good stories, first and foremost, and we love that it represents the wonderful diversity in our community.
So, what is team Iris – including our Fiction Editor, college English professor Jay Dresden – looking for in our fiction submissions? We are looking for compelling, robust, engaging stories that are creative in their approach to our theme. We want to publish writing that illuminates what it is to grow up LGBTQ – the triumphs, the challenges, and the joy that we seek to foster in the community. In short, we believe in stories that are not only worth telling, but worth being read by young people who are not just the future of this movement, but a vital component of it today – and because of that, we know you’ll like what’s waiting in the third issue of Iris.