During her M.F.A. in Creative Writing residencies at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, New Jersey, writer and professor Racquel Henry became obsessed with seeing a fox. “Our campus has wild animals, and everyone kept talking about these fox sightings,” she explains. “The red fox is most common, but the black fox is rare. When my colleagues and I began our literary magazine, we wanted it to be a different sort of publication – a mix of literary and genre writing side-by-side, which is relatively rare. We decided to title it Black Fox.”
Henry, along with Pamela Harris and Marquita Hockaday, met at Farleigh Dickinson. They got together in the sprawling Vanderbilt Mansion on campus and hammered out the details of their now-seven-year old literary magazine, ultimately deciding it would blend literary fiction with personal essays, book reviews, author interviews, poetry, and genre fiction, including mysteries, children’s stories, and thrillers.
“A lot of the magazines started at the same time don’t exist anymore,” Henry explains. “Our goal is to be a magazine that does stick around and give writers, regardless of genre, a platform.”
Tone, editorial content of Black Fox Literary Magazine
Black Fox editors publish a wide range of genre writing, and they’re open to experimental pieces. “I’ve published some really fantastic second-person stories,” Henry says. “I’m a huge fan when they’re done well. They work best when they’re in the short form, and we get to feel like a participant rather than feeling like the author is talking at the reader.”
One of these is Liza Carrasquillo’s short story “Cold,” (Issue #15, Winter 2017), which begins:
“When you reach the clearing at the top of the ridge, it is nearly midday. The sun beats down overhead on your heavy coat and exposed neck, causing your skin to shine. You run a sweaty hand over your short, dark hair and glance behind you as you hear the clumsy footsteps of the out-of-state college kids who’ve probably never hiked a day in their lives.”
Carrasquillo was still earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree when Black Fox published her story. Editors look for compelling stories told by emerging writers, as well as those who have several books published. They’re particularly excited to receive stories by writers of marginalized demographics and from writers internationally.
Contributors to Black Fox
Editors were eager to publish Jack Coey’s thriller, “Side of the Road.” “We loved it because the author was able to pack so much suspense and chill in just a mere three and a half pages,” Henry explains. “Plus, it had to do with murder.”
Coey’s story begins:
“He pulled the car off the side of the road, and turned off the engine. He was breathing heavily and sweat was on his face. He felt elated. He rolled down his window to get some cool air. Pictures of what he’d done flashed through his mind.”
Editors also admired “Bloody Sunday,” a flash fiction piece by Francis Fiordalisi. “This one was even shorter than ‘Side of the Road,’” Henry says, “but we loved the juxtaposition of the setting and the murderous act.”
Both of these stories appeared in Issue #8, Summer 2013. “We mentioned in the editorial letter that it was unofficially our thriller issue,” she says. “The founding editors and myself enjoy all fiction, but we really love dark fiction.”
Advice for potential contributors
Henry urges potential contributors to Black Fox Literary Magazine to read the submission guidelines online and follow them carefully so that the piece is properly formatted and sent through the online submission manager.
She and the other editors particularly enjoy well-written genre fiction, including young adult, mystery, flash fiction, and thriller. They look for poetry, personal essays, and other forms of creative nonfiction. In addition, they publish articles on the Black Fox blog.
“We are particularly interested in articles on the craft of writing, book reviews, book news, and publishing news,” they note on their website. “If it’s writing, book, or publishing related, then this is the place for it.”
Melissa Hart is the author of Avenging the Owl (Sky Pony, 2016) and Wild Within: How Rescuing Owls Inspired a Family (Lyons, 2014). Web: melissahart.com.
Spotlight: Black Fox Literary Magazine
“Quality fiction of all styles and genres, poetry, and nonfiction.”
Biannual, print and online.
Genres: Fiction, nonfiction, poetry.
Reading period: Year-round; check website for details.
Length: Prose to 5,000 words; 5 poems maximum.
Submission format: Digital submission through website.
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