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To give you the skinny on what Wordstorm’s new literary magazine, Counterflow, is all about we asked the editors a few questions. Take it away, Wordstorm artistic director, Carla Stein, and assistant artistic director, Amber Morrison

Why did you decide it was time for Wordstorm to publish a literary magazine?

Carla Stein: As Wordstorm has grown, it's become clear that our communities are replete with writers. We wanted to provide a space where poets and writers of short fiction and creative non-fiction as well as visual artists at all stages of their craft could contribute to showcasing the complexity of voices in our region.


What are three words that best encapsulate what Counterflow is about? 


Amber Morrison: If I had to choose only three: experimentation, community, and celebration. We hope to encourage new directions in the work of local creators, we want to create a sense of camaraderie and recognition for people in the area, and we want to be part of your success!


Talk about the mandate of Counterflow – why are you interested in establishing a home for work that explores unexpected directions? 


AM: Experimentation can be risky and that risk isn't always rewarded. Maybe you're trying out a new direction in your career and that's not what you're known for, or perhaps you're new to writing and you decide to try out a form that you've never used before. We want to encourage people to try something new and we want to support them in their choice by offering an outlet.


With an abundance of literary magazine options in the world, who is Counterflow a home for?


AM: Think of Counterflow as your own literary neighbourhood. This publication is a home for local writers, poets, and artists that are connected by Vancouver Island and the Salish Sea. It is a place to seek a sense of community through literary representation. By getting involved you are inspiring other people in the vicinity to take stock of who we are, and on a global scale, we're representing the place that we call home through our work.


What are some of the advantages and opportunities for making this a digital publication?


AM: A digital publication is much easier to share with readers because it is free to download on demand. Print is limited in terms of circulation, its costs can be prohibitive, and it is also more difficult to archive in a way that the public can access. Counterflow will be hosted and archived on Wordstorm's website and it has the potential to circulate around the internet through social media and email. Who knows where our publication could end up online!


Talk about the geographical catchment for Counterflow – Vancouver Island and the surrounding Salish Sea Basin – how did you decide that was the best fit?


CS: Wordstorm was born here in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island and the Salish Sea is never far from view. So it seemed that a publication highlighting writing from a West Coast perspective – particularly in that contributors are West Coast writers familiar with the Island and the Salish Sea – was a logical direction.


How did you land on the first issue’s theme – Beginnings – and what excites you about it?


CS: Counterflow is much like Wordstorm's first child and as every parent knows, the first steps that your child takes are also the first efforts you make in learning to parent. So we are taking our first steps as a publication and that's exciting in itself! We were also keenly aware that the global pandemic has challenged individuals and societies to think about new ways of relating to, working with, and respecting each other. Counterflow is inviting writers to think about new ways to create, consequently we are encouraging "beginner's mind" in our publication!


Want to be a part of the Counterflow neighbourhood?

Check out the submission guidelines.

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