Cover of Interview with Kay Allen from Corvid Queen

Interview with Kay Allen from Corvid Queen

At Chill Subs, we love fairy tales, folklore, and myth–though they aren’t always inclusive, and plenty are downright bigoted. That’s why we love Corvid Queen even more. They publish inclusive feminist fairy tales, folklore, and myths. Kay Allen–the editor and founder of Corvid Queen–was kind enough to answer all of our questions about the submissions process for tale-tellers and re-tellers looking for a home for their stories. Good thing, too, Corvid Queen will be re-opening for submissions this fall. No better way to prepare than to read about what they're looking for below.

If you could sum up your magazine's vibe in six words or less, what would they be?

magical/dreamlike/whimsical + vivid/eerie/visceral

Editors notoriously don’t get paid much (if at all) and tend to take a lot of flack. So, why do it? Is there a moment you can remember in your time with your magazine where you thought: ‘this, this is why I do it’?

I get that feeling every time I find out we're a writer's first publication. I love working with writers who are newer to the lit scene, and it's always an honor to be trusted with such a meaningful piece of work!

The lit mag scene is massive. What did you want to bring to the community with your magazines that is different from what others are offering?

We're interested in exploring a very specific focus: inclusive feminist fairy tales, folklore, and myths. Under that umbrella, we have a really excellent collection of fairy tales by and about queer and trans people!

We're also really proud to be a space where writers feel comfortable submitting stories about surviving, avenging, and dealing with the aftereffects of violence, especially sexual violence—we think fairy tales are a really powerful way of exploring those topics. We've published stories that grapple with these themes in a variety of ways and added some indexed categories to our site for anyone looking to read them.

What is your ideal cover letter to see for a submission? Simple and sweet? Professional? A few kind words peppered in?

I'm partial to a cover letter with some personality—when a writer tells us a little bit about the inspirations for their piece, or about their personal history with fairy tales, it can give us a little more context with which to interpret their writing. I would never discount anyone for keeping it short and professional, though.

Is there a specific kind of project you haven’t seen in your current submissions that you’d love to see come in?

We've published a few multimedia pieces that have artwork, audio, and code components, and we'd definitely be interested in seeing more of those. Since we're a digital-only publication, we think it would be great to feature things that you can't necessarily get in print.

Are there magazines you see as literary siblings, mentors, aspirations, besties, etc.?

We love Stone of Madness, Wizards in Space, and Luna Luna! Gingerbread House & Fairy Tale Review are our siblings in fairy tales, and The Spiral Bookcase is our bookstore bestie.

What do you see as a deal-breaker in a submission, regardless of the quality of the writing? (For example, poor formatting, vulgarity, etc.)

To help us read and respond to all pieces in a timely manner, we ask that writers submit only one piece per reading period, and stay under 5000 words. Submissions that don't follow those guidelines are going to be a hard sell!

Is there a part of the submissions process that writers tend to fret over that isn't all that important?

If you're worrying about the formatting of the piece you send to us, please don't! Any format is fine—and I actually find standard manuscript format a bit difficult to read on a screen. Any file type is fine as well (except a PDF, whenever possible—it's much easier to copy the piece over to the final proof from a doc or pages file type).

What is a recent piece published in your magazine that you think would make a great short film?

It's tough to choose just one, but I think Boys of Summer by Jennifer R. Donohue would make a really compelling short film. Structured around the last little league game of the season, this baseball-themed eco-fantasy is at once hopeful and heartbreaking.

There are the well-worn (for good reason) pieces of advice like "read submissions guidelines" and "read the journal you're submitting to," but do you have any other advice for prospective writers looking to get their work published?

I'd say it's important to remember that a response from a magazine is not about whether or not your work is generally "good" — it's about whether or not your work is the perfect fit for that magazine, at that specific time, in the context of all the other work under consideration. As a writer myself, I definitely find rejections disappointing, but I know from spending time on the editorial side that so many different factors go into that decision—some of them are in your control, and some of them are out of it. If you're newer to submitting work and feeling discouraged by rejections, I hope that can lessen the sting a bit.

If you could add one question to this interview, what would it be, and how would you answer it?

I'd love to tell you a little more about the future of Corvid Queen! We're currently looking for our very first cohort of readers, and once we have them on board, we'll be opening for our next round of submissions. We're only open once a year these days, so we're really looking forward to reading a new batch of fairy tales!

View Corvid Queen on Chill Subs

Logo of Corvid Queen literary magazine

Corvid Queen

"A journal of feminist fairy tales, folklore, & myths from Sword & Kettle Press. We believe that folklore helps us make sense of the world we live in. We love stories that represent a wide range of cultures, identities, & viewpoints. We love stories that embrace nuance & complexity."
Response time
3-6 months
Twitter followers
Submission guidelines