A Peek into Pulp Magazine

Managing Editor Brooks Lewis talks paying contributors, goals, and changes

Pulp Managing Editor Brooks Lewis pictured with the Summer 2016 edition of Pulp Magazine. (Kier-Christer Junos)

Behind the cover of Pulp Magazine, readers will find a cherry-picked fusion of cultivated texts and images. Poetry, prose, interviews, paintings, sculptures, and other works by mostly-local talent can be viewed on every one of its 40-50 pages, with a majority of them distinctly sourced from KPU.

Pulp has identified as “Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s magazine of literature and visual art” since they were founded in 2011, and until recently, they have been entirely run by volunteers. This fall, they will be paying their contributors for submissions for the first time—a decision made in the hope of securing a greater variety of works in the magazine.

“It’s kind of to get people submitting some of their best work and to get more submissions, because that’s been a problem, where we’re seeing some awesome submissions but we’re not receiving tons of them,” says Brooks Lewis, Managing Editor of Pulp. “We know that there are tons of awesome writers, but they’re all submitting to magazines that are a bit more reputable. So by offering a bit of incentive, we’re trying to increase our reputation as well as give back to the writers.”

Per page, they will be compensating their contributors $15 for prose, $20 for poetry, and $20 for each piece of art. Miscellaneous contributions, such as screenplays, would fall under prose.

Other than for financial gain, students can use their involvement with the magazine as an opportunity to learn and gain experience in editing, writing, and production. For artists and writers alike, the magazine offers a chance for exposure and validation. Lewis also stresses that the community at Pulp is ready to welcome new team members with open arms, though staff positions at the publication will remain unpaid.

Running on a small, volunteer-based team can make meeting deadlines difficult for Pulp staff, which is why they have also decided to cut back on how many issues they will publish each year. Now only two will be hitting the stands annually, compared to their previous three. Less paper printed means more submissions packed into each issue, and their overall goal is to strive for quality rather than quantity.

“We’re trying to increase the quality of the magazine because we’re proud of it and we want everyone else to be proud of it too,” says Lewis. “It’s Kwantlen’s magazine.”

He aspires to create a paper that is as prestigious and well-made as UBC’s and SFU’s, while still maintaining their local contributor base. Most of their staff is in the university’s creative writing program and sees creating Pulp as a way of “giving back” to that community.

The most recent issue of Pulp—which has a mustard yellow, female face surrounded by airplanes and parachutes adorning the cover—was the first to have a screenplay included in it, and Lewis is looking forward to further experimentation with new and exciting content.

“I would love for us to be able to showcase the fashion and design students,” he says. “The more variety, the better, and that goes for art as well as writing.”

At this point in time, the general aim of the magazine is relatively uncertain. Lewis says that the staff at Pulp are “still figuring that out,” considering that few have been on the team for longer than a year, but their optimism about the future is high.