Transitions in Hawaii Review

Change, lives in flux – transitions make up the 75th issue of Hawai‘i Review. “[The works feature] just moving from one space to the next,” said Editor in Chief Rachel Wolf, describing the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s biannual literary journal.

Although Wolf didn’t begin by narrowing down submissions with a theme, the common thread emerged on its own. “I found as we were starting to accept things they were all starting to gel around the common theme of change. So we went with that.”

But more than words go into creating an issue of the journal. Visual editor Scot Lycan scoured art shows both on and off campus before he found Peter Chamberlain’s abstract artwork to use as front-cover art. “The image is striking and very bold, and we really felt it spoke to us all,” said Wolf. “His [Chamberlain’s] vision seemed to match very well with what we were going for.” Although the journal is managed by students, Hawai‘i Review accepts non-UH submissions as well. Well-known writers, such as Margaret Atwood, have been published in the past. Wolf admits that finding a completely student-run journal that also publishes from outside sources is a rarity. “We publish the best of the best, but we do try to do a good balance of students and outside submissions,” she said.

Fiction and poetry have been the primary genres of past submissions, but all types of submissions – interviews or nonfiction, for example – are encouraged. Writers send in about 50 or so submissions per month, and on average 15 to 30 authors have their works published in each issue.

Within the next two weeks, the winners of Hawai‘i Review’s Ian MacMillan contest will be announced. According to Wolf, the award is a major draw for submissions and attracts a large audience. Named after an award-winning short-story writer and professor at UH Mānoa, the MacMillan award honors outstanding literary pieces in two categories: poetry and fiction. The winners will be featured in the 76th issue, which is scheduled for release in early May.

“Passion is key,” said Wolf. “Especially as a journal being brought out in Hawai‘i, the spirit of aloha is one of the defining features of any Hawaiian publication … the story has to have a heart.”

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