By The Seventh Wave

Amplifying community voices with Magic Cabinet

Next week, on Jan. 16, TSW is launching our first cohort of the Community Anthology program: 32 new voices across four anthologies, each curated by an editor-in-chief. This is a new program for us, and we have a Seattle-based philanthropy organization, Magic Cabinet, to thank for quite literally making the magic happen.

In April 2023, we found ourselves asking the same question we had been grappling with for years: How do we publish more people? While it might seem easy — just include more people in your annual literary magazine — it’s never actually easy: we’re a volunteer-run staff and our 12-person editorial team is already at capacity publishing 32 other voices per year. If only there were some way we could give our editorial keys to other editors or curators to publish their own issue on our platform, we thought. After a few conversations with our strategy team, we had an answer: Community Anthologies, a cohort-based storytelling platform that takes everything we have learned over the past nine years in publishing, and turns that into an editorial blueprint for four editors-in-chief to curate their own mini-anthologies. The only hitch? Funding, of course.

Around this same time, we met Magic Cabinet, a local foundation that is flipping traditional philanthropy on its head by truly supporting community-led, community-based, and community-driven programs, projects, and organizations. You can read more about their grant-making philosophy and pillars on their site here, but among the things we had in common was a single word: cohort.

Our collaborative approach to publishing had kindred energy to Magic Cabinet’s trust-based philanthropic practices, and so it only took a few conversations for our teams to realize we could partner up to make real impact together. We couldn’t have given our editors the keys had Magic Cabinet not given us the car, so to speak. Eight months later, here we are: one week away from showcasing the results of this program, partnership, and new path to literary publishing:

If you follow us on social media, you’ll see we just announced the 32 voices within our four anthologies. We have our four editors-in-chief — Bianca Ng, Patrycja Humienik, Sarah Madges, and Briana Gwin — to thank. They saw our vision and exceeded all expectations, spending the last five months working tirelessly with their contributors. We can’t wait for you to get to know these voices:

There’s a lot of unseen work that goes on in publishing, especially in digital magazines. This program would never have become a platform without our Art Director, Meg Sykes, who built a new digital home for our Community Anthologies. In part, that’s what this partnership provided: it gave us the funds to invest in this new wing of our website. You can read more about our partnership with Magic Cabinet over on their site here.

Stay tuned for our official launch on Jan. 16, and if you’re an artist or writer who’s ever wanted to curate or edit your own anthology, we’ll be opening up applications for our 2024 EIC cohort this spring. You can see our FAQ page for info about applications. And sign up for our TSW newsletter to stay in-the-know about upcoming opportunities like this one. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek into the essence of each anthology.

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