Literary journals continue to expand the boundaries of style and content, responding to the changing world around us and venturing into new territories. oranges journal does both with its focus on fiction, mental health and culture writing. Publishing on a rolling basis in an open online format, founder and editor of oranges journal Jade Green [picutred] says, “I wanted to create a strong brand that would stick in people’s minds, and build a beautiful website on which I would be proud to feature my own work. The name ‘oranges’ pretty much creates its own branding; it’s a bold, outspoken, unique color which definitely aligns with our feminist mission and the kind of writing we want to publish. As soon as I came up with the name, everything else just fell into place – a very organic process!”
Green comes with a background and education in journalism and has curated a culture and mental health blog called The Narrator before creating oranges. She is a fiction and mental health writer and produces/hosts a podcast about creativity called Pivotal Slice. She also volunteers in the mental health sector supporting survivors of sexual violence.
When asked about the inspiration to start oranges journal, Green shares, “I have been submitting to literary journals and magazines for many years, but I have never come across a publication that completely aligns with my own values and aesthetic tastes, so I decided to create my ‘dream’ journal. Having worked in print journalism for many years, I was feeling quite lost and beaten down by the patriarchal systems I had found myself working within. I had also started volunteering for a women-led charity, supporting survivors of sexual violence, and had experienced first-hand the incredible power of women forming communities and standing up for what they believe in. You could say my inner feminist rose up and steered me onto this path!”
Having been on the other side of the submissions process as a writer, Green offers contributors a professional approach to reviewing submissions. “I read every submission at least once,” Green explains, “sometimes two or three times, and make notes on my first impressions for writers who have paid for our feedback service (first impressions are like gold dust!). Emotional authenticity is a key factor in the writing we select for publication, so I am monitoring my own emotional reaction to each piece as I read – my intuition or ‘gut’ feeling is really doing the deciding for me. I have found that each time we open submissions, the process of selecting pieces gets harder because the quality of the writing and emotional strength of submissions goes up. I just have to take it one piece at a time!”
As a result, oranges journal readers can expect to find “emotionally authentic, compassionate, developed writing from a diverse range of writers,” Green says. “We are committed to amplifying marginalized voices, and empowering, inspiring and informing the reader. Deepening empathy, and raising awareness of issues faced by women and marginalized people, is vital to our mission.” Some recent contributors include Shrutidhora P Mohor, Scarlett Murray, Naomi Shippen, Kayla Adara Lee, and Inés G. Labarta.
There are always challenges and rewards with running a literary publication, and oranges journal is no exception. Green admits, “Putting myself ‘out there’ has always been difficult for me; I was raised in a working-class environment where pursuing any kind of creative career was unheard of, so I have never really felt valid as a writer, and certainly not as a businessperson. Founding the journal and running it with a business mindset has required me to overcome huge personal barriers. The greatest joy I’ve experienced is sharing the stories of the incredible writers who submit work to us and giving that validation back to them. Whenever I send an acceptance email to a writer I get a genuine buzz, and whenever I see supportive messages or posts about the journal on social media, I know all the hard work and pushing through fear has been worth it!”
With oranges journal off to a great start, Green looks to the future, “We are planning on extending our feedback service to include 1:1 coaching for writers, as it is part of our mission to support and facilitate growth within our community. We have a podcast episode coming out very soon which will feature readings from some of the writers we have published. In the long term, we would love to publish a print version of the journal including visual art and photography, with a portion of the profits to be donated to charities supporting women and marginalized people. We want to continue to grow oranges into a powerful, unstoppable business as we need intersectional feminist organizations now, more than ever.”