Published on December 1, 2021

Veteran Upstarts

Concordia’s Soliloquies Anthology approaches its 25th year of publishing emerging writers

by Christina Marando

Getting started in writing and publishing can be intimidating for young talents who are beginning their journey into the literary world. The Soliloquies Anthology hopes to help guide them in the right direction, all while uplifting both new and established literary voices. 

The Anthology is a student-run literary journal that publishes poetry, prose, fiction, and non-fiction from both emerging and established writers. The team is composed entirely of Concordia University students, and aims to provide the student body with valuable publishing, editing, and design experience. “Opportunities within the publishing field can be scarce, especially at the entry level, so Soliloquies is a great way to enrich the university experience while developing practical skills,” says co-editor-in-chief Sophie Villeneuve. 

Soliloquies puts a lot of emphasis on highlighting rising talents in the literary world. “The second side of our mission is to publish new voices and foster an environment of individual creativity. We try to highlight Montreal-based authors and emerging voices as much as possible,” says Villeneuve. While the journal mostly focuses on highlighting local emerging artists, it has since expanded to include work from international and established writers as well. 

The Anthology was initially founded in 1997 as part of Concordia’s “Art Matters” festival. While Soliloquies no longer participates in the festival, they have since evolved into their own unique entity. “It’s fair to say that the anthology has changed a lot since 1997. In addition to printing physical copies, Soliloquies started publishing its issues online in 2011 through an Issuu site, which has allowed us to reach a wider readership,” says co-editor-in-chief Paola B. López Sauri.

Various past issues, from the Soliloquies website

Because Soliloquies Anthology is student-run, the masthead changes frequently. This has resulted in a fast-evolving journal that continues to grow and change with the times. “[The Anthology’s] members all eventually graduate and/or move on to other things, leaving space for other students to join and bring forth their individual perspectives” says López Sauri. “In that sense, Soliloquies is rarely the same; it is constantly being reinterpreted by the students who run it.” By taking advantage of the unique perspectives that emerging writers have to offer, the Soliloquies Anthology has created a space where they can exercise their creativity.

The Soliloquies Anthology features unique and creative works, without necessarily sticking to an overarching theme. “We haven’t set out to showcase any specific themes; our submissions are always open to any genres, styles, and modes of writing” says Villeneuve. When asked about their upcoming publication, the co-editors in chief felt that there were a lot of themes related to hurt and isolation. “In this year’s selection, it’s not as evident, but a lot of the pieces do focus on feelings of loss or pain. The overarching presence of these themes might be a reflection of the difficult and isolated years we’ve had.” 

The experience that the Soliloquies Anthology provides has been invaluable to the students and writers who take part in it. “We know of past contributors and/or previous team members who have gotten literary internships, received writing awards, and even started publishing their own music — and it’s wonderful to see all they’ve accomplished,” says López Sauri. “We would love to think their contributions to the anthology helped them build writing, editing, and/or publishing experience.” 

When asked what advice they had for emerging writers, the co-editors-in chief advised writers to always follow submission guidelines, and to do your research when submitting. “Research the journals you’re submitting to and make sure they’re the right fit for your writing. It’s usually better to pick out a select few literary journals you genuinely enjoy and focus your efforts into submitting to them,” explains Villeneuve. “A creative writing professor we’ve had once told us to make a point of getting a certain amount of rejections per month — that way, you know you’re consistently putting yourself out there and giving your writing a chance.” 

Finally, the Soliloquies Anthology team leaves aspiring writers with an important uplifting message: Don’t be afraid to submit! “Even if you’re not sure you’ll be accepted, and even if your pieces have been rejected in the past, you never know if it might get picked up and find a home somewhere.”

Soliloquies Anthology publishes biannually out of Concordia University, and Issue 26.1 is set to be released December 3, 2021. It can be found at the Concordia community Co-op Bookstore and on their Issuu page. Submissions for the next issue of Soliloquies Anthology will open at the beginning of 2022. Specific dates are still TBA, so those interested in submitting can follow them on Instagram, Twitter , Facebook, or their website for updates.

Christina Marando is a freelance writer and editor currently living in Laval.

Illustration: Todd Stewart