VW Editor Q&A&Q&A 0 Comments

In the dying hours of our hand-over, I sat down with outgoing Voiceworks editor Bel Monypenny, and we took some time to take stock of the past and the future. Here’s our conversation.

BM: So it’s my last day at Voiceworks and I still can’t believe I’m handing over my pride and joy. But this was all a bit unexpected for you too, yes? You already had plenty on your plate for 2010. Tell us what you’ve been working on already this year.

JJ: I’ve spent the last six months or so producing Virgule, the Voiceworks blog. It was one of those things that we’d really wanted to have for a while, so I took it upon myself to swing my arms around in the dark until something happened that vaguely resembled what we were hoping for. In a lot of ways we’re still finding our feet, really making it everything it can and should be, but we’re delighted with how it’s going.

It’s a real shame to see you leave, especially because you helped me a lot with that project and now you don’t get to reap the benefits and joys of it. Although it’s not as though you’re going to be homeless on the streets, is it? You’re moving on to another very green pasture. So I am wondering, what do you want to be when you finally grow up?

BM: A pony! Just kidding. I’m really looking forward to going back to books and working on narrative nonfiction at Hardie Grant – not to mention all their beautiful cookbooks! I’d also love to work on Young Adult fiction one day, but there’s plenty of time for that.

So let’s get all nostalgic – how did you initially get involved with Voiceworks?

JJ: I’d been a member of the editorial committee for well over a year, mostly working on some of the fiction in the magazine. I first found out about the magazine online, and that was one of the reasons I wanted Voiceworks to really begin making its mark on the internet, to open us up to people who might never hear of us otherwise.

BM: What grand plans do you have for your tenure?

JJ: My biggest immediate goal is to maintain the high water mark you’ve set for the magazine! Beyond that, I really hope the blog can become somewhere for our community to locate itself, where all the passion that exists within and outside the pages of the magazine can be collected, funnelled, and turned into some kind of literary rocket to the, umm … literary moon? Digital publishing is another thing I’m extremely interested in, and as the whole becomes a bit clearer I’ll be looking to bring Voiceworks to that cutting-edge as well, whether it’s as an iBook, iPhone App, Kindle book, or intra-cranial retinal projection.

BM: What are you most excited about?

JJ: Seeing all the fantastic content people send us. There’s always a huge amount of surprising, challenging, funny, all-around amazing work that comes into our inbox. I’m really honoured to be in a position where I’m able to work with so many people who are unafraid to put themselves out there and do so in great style, with great skill. I can’t wait to hold the first issue in my hands, to be able to say not ‘look what I did,’ but ‘look at what all these awesome people have done.’

I bet you’re going to miss that too, right? Gathering all that amazing work, putting it out into the world, and then finding the time, somewhere, to step back and have a bit of a ‘wow!’ moment. A year from now, what do you think you’ll be missing the most about this job?

BM: Definitely the people. I’ve learnt so much from my contributors and editorial committee members, Express staff and board members. And the editorial free-reign! You’re gonna love that. And being in the Wheeler Centre. And reading submissions. And EdComm meetings. And infinite possibility. And working with Sophie Cunningham. And seeing the latest font Aaron has come up with for the poetry headings. And the squeals people make when they get their first piece published. And that glorious moment when an issue reaches 80 pages. And hearing readers’ responses to certain pieces. We could be here a long time…

JJ: Any last words before you get escorted off the premises by security?

BM: Huge thanks to all the writers I worked with for being inspired, open-minded and invested in good editorial process. You’re in excellent hands with Jojo, so keep writing and submitting, and I’m looking forward to working with you all again!

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