Blognium: On Puns, Funds and Literary Guns

By Annie Waters (coeditor of Dubnium)

If you had told me, three months ago, that I would have solicited, read and edited over seventy pieces of writing, whittling them down to twenty which were then polished, formatted and compiled into an e-book and limited print edition; had you told me that, I would have laughed/vomited in your face. But someone did tell me that just three months ago. Luckily, I was not alone; I had just met six other young, intrepid writers and editors, without whom, I may never have come down from the ceiling. Never have I been put in a room with a group of people who are all so exceedingly awesome (and love puns as much as I do). Seriously, guys want to be us and girls want to date us.

We all bring different talents to the group: there’s Emily, who goosesteps better than any other grammar Nazi I’ve ever met; Sarah, who is pragmatic and decisive (a good thing when it comes to deadlines) and speaks legalese like you wouldn’t believe. Then there’s Samuel, deeply passionate about literature (among other things) and effusively self-deprecating as an editor; and Katie – the cool one – who has a bizarre affinity with the rules of hyphenation. Royce … what can I say about Royce? At heart a journo, he stands up for what’s right and gives us all much needed lectures on poetry (and sometimes shorthand). Sam’s a quiet one, but she’s driven and organised and puts her heart into everything she does. And me? I like volunteering for jobs (too many, says my untouched coursework) and tinkering with formatting in InDesign. We’ve learned a lot over the course of three months, from invoicing to ebooks, thanks to some fantastic professional development with the likes of Jennifer Mills, Patrick Allington and Simon Collinson. Overwhelmingly, the best thing to come out of this experience has been these networking sessions and getting to know other young, talented writers.

But, enough about us. We are just half of the grand scheme that is Dubnium. The other half is the young writers of South Australia, who responded resoundingly to our call for unpublished work. We were lucky enough to have a large pool of talent from which to select 20 stories and poems that we thought stood out; be it for their strong or different voice, intelligent coverage of an important issue or their commitment to forging their own style. Working with these young writers to polish their work has made us all stand back and reassess how and why we write the way we do. From our development sessions, we heard over and again that editing is all about feeling your way through a piece of work with the author by your side. It is nice to know that, in the solitary profession of writing, there is someone to hold your hand (or give you a good shove, in a loving way) at the end of the process.

Publishing on a shoestring budget has been an eye-opener, especially as we all have such high standards. It’s early days yet, but we’re hoping to go some way to filling the gap left by now-defunct South Australian lit mag WetInk. Why don’t you see for yourself? Our first issue is out now online and if you come along to our launch on the 10th of July at Hello, Yes, you can grab yourself a special edition print copy. It’s good, I promise. Marieke Hardy even liked a thing of ours on Facebook yesterday (which made me squeal and wee my pants a little). Let’s hope Dubnium Issue 1 does the same for you*.
*Side-effects not guaranteed.

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