We’re headed down to the desert, to the Silver State, home to Las Vegas and great literary magazines! Check out the journals we’ve highlighted below who are proud to be published out of Nevada!
I would like to caveat this particular stop on our lit mag road map by admitting my deep well of unresolved feelings towards the great state of Nevada. First, I write this having just returned from a Sunday night wedding at a casino in Reno, which on its own explains enough. Second, I did my time in the Arizona-New Mexico style deserts, which are harsh but give life to deep beauty and all that, blah blah blah, whereas my scattered but legitimate set of experiences in the Silver State has left me convinced that its deserts are, frankly, scary death pits where no one will hear you scream. Military bases, bunker fields, UFO landing areas, brothels in trailers with Ford F-150s lined up outside, fighter jet testing courses, Native American reservations (this is for another blog post on not this particular forum but the government for sure gave the First Peoples the worst land, call your senators), places your phone doesn’t work and Google literally tells you aliens intercepted the signal, unmarked dirt roads leading up into desolate rocky mountains with no plant growth visible for miles on end… not to mention Burning Man and (dice roll please) Las Vegas. All this to say: the whole place is a mystery and will continue to be so for a very long time, so it’s good that there are many writers and organizations here to keep an eye out and comment on that vast empty place inside the state — and inside us all.
In typical Nevada fashion SNR likes and publishes work that is “unconventional, surprising, and risky.” From the English and Creative Writing departments at Sierra Nevada College, an unexpected patron of the arts nestled near Lake Tahoe, it’s run by students, advised by faculty, and accepts poetry/fiction/nonfiction. It’s basic in a college-lit-mag sense but it is, like the granite mountains in which it lives, solid.
Equally basic and equally solid is this lit mag from the Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno. Here’s to community colleges as breeding grounds for experience, experimentation, and unsuspectingly touching art.
Because even Las Vegas has a basic and solid side! Red Rock Review springs out of the College of Southern Nevada’s School of Arts and Letters, has been around since 1996, publishes biannually, and will respond to your fiction, poetry, or nonfiction submission within six months.
Basic and solid with a unique twist: they’re partnered with the Associated Students of University of Nevada (ASUN) and because of that have an exceptionally high degree of caring about people and creating social activity. This University of Nevada at Reno lit mag publishes work from students, locals, and people-far-away alike, so send something in! If you’re in town, they host a bunch of open mics, workshops, and impromptu zine-making sessions.
The Black Mountain Institute is a situation and a half, in the best possible way. “Easily the shining star in the Las Vegas literary community,” notes one great Las Vegas lit scene resource, and is home to not one but three stellar publications, two of which you definitely know about if you’re a writer and three of which you definitely know about if you’re a poet: Witness, Interim, and of course The Believer (cue Imagine Dragons, Smash Mouth, etc). Closely partnered with and located on the campus of the University of Nevada Las Vegas Creative Writing Program, the Black Mountain Institute is #goals status for universities and community writing centers alike. They’re integrated into the public, they’re using tech and media right, they’ve got a strong activist wing, and their live events are the perfect add-on to your next bachelor/ette party!
The only non-institute-related literary magazine in Southern Nevada and perhaps all of Nevada entirely, Helen was named for Helen J. Stewart, the “First Lady of Las Vegas” who pioneered the Las Vegas valley in the 1880s. Though named after a woman, Helen seeks works by all peoples, especially those of color, LGBTQIA+, disabled creatives, and other marginalized voices (the only NV lit mag to do this specifically!). Bonus: they also encourage and accept spoken word submissions.
by Melissa Hinshaw