narrative magazine

2 Obituaries: Narrative and Opium

Narrative (September 21, 1995 – October 29, 2010) Longtime literary magazine Narrative, a nonprofit profit organization dedicated to storytelling in the digital age, finally succumbed to a rare enormous cyst, having suffering from Being So Full of Itself. Narrative will be remembered not only for its contemporary “lit lite,” but for their colorful array of contests, to which slush-pile fated folk tirelessly submit; and most of all, they are remembered for the awesome mug (w/ logo) provided to “Patrons” upon a $5,000 – $9,999 donation. Their “Backstage VIP access” allowed donors to read unpublished work, but (to mitigate such sadism) only by accomplished writers. Contributors were either attractive, or were friendly with professional photographers, pointing to a glossy cosmetic tragedy of sorts. Please join us as we celebrate their passing this Sunday at 11am at the Alpha Smegma Pi House. If you would like to submit an elegy, please include a submission fee of $15 at the door. All manuscripts should be in 12 pt. type, double spaced with one-inch margins, sequentially numbered pages, and contain exactly four metaphors, three similes, two foreigners, and one tear drop stain. If applicable, an editor will condescend with you.

Opium (October 19, 2000 – October 29, 2010) Opium Magazine died of exhaustion during its most recent Literary Death Match tour, on whose behalf editor and MC Todd Zuniga (clearly with independent financial means) perennially traverses the world betwixt London; New York; Beijing; San Francisco; Oxford; Edinburgh; Boston; Los Angeles; Toronto; and inexplicably, Kansas City. Zuniga’s enthusiasm for life (and frequent flier miles) was not just conventionally conveyed with the exclamation points adorning almost all of his descriptions of said events, but more notably, with hair gel purposefully rendering his look “chronically just woken.” Remembered as the first online literary journal to publish more event announcements than actual fiction, Opium is survived by approximately two thousand participants and audience members who must now find something else to do tonight. Of the occasional story that was published, they provided their trademark “estimated reading time,” assurances for their fickle readership that not too much time would be wasted. Opium is heroin’s main constituent, which may explain how publishing there can collapse a vain. Condolences may be offered at your nearest International Airport, Concourse B (Gate B7), where Zuniga’s apparition, on layover, will be briefly seen sitting by an outlet recharging his iPhone and hair.

Mean / 4 Comments
October 29th, 2010 / 10:05 am

Yeah, I’m talking about this again

Though I’ve long since placed the Narrative Magazine email newsletter on my Spam list for their well documented stinky habits, I heard thru Twitter that apparently their $20 submission fees and multiple grants just quite weren’t footing their retarded-sized website bills, so now they are just laying on the floor and asking people for money. (“RT @beoliu: Narrative Magazine wants donations. Is there a way that I can laugh in the face of an e-mail?)

I went into my spam and got the letter, sweetly titled “What’s $10,” which I’ve copied after the jump, if you care.

In answer to @beoliu, I’ll offer you my personal response in the way of e-laughing, which I just sent their way, and totally encourage you to, too!

Dear Narrative Magazine,

Eat my motherfucking dick.


You can address your own dickspeak sentiments to


Uncategorized / 111 Comments
May 20th, 2010 / 5:05 pm

Robert Swartwood nicely calls out Narrative Magazine on twitter about their $20 submission fees and their $10K NEA grant FOR A WEBSITE [“helps (a little)”] and they, as usual, avoid giving a straight answer. Bring em coal, Santa!

2007 Form 990 – Narrative Magazine

3105153810_8b22f78b4fSo, forgive me for posting, but there’s more talk about Narrative Magazine, which just announced the results of its Winter Fiction Contest: $3,000 goes to the winner, Janet Burroway.

The discussion begins at Literary Rejections on Display, where Writer, Rejected points at an old post at Arts and Palaver that suggests Eds. Jenks and Edgarian ‘fix’ the contests. Elizabeth Brody comments on the LROD post that she is working with Web del Sol to investigate Narrative Magazine. Then Jason Sanford, after posting the Notable Stories of 2008 and awarding Narrative Magazine best online journal of 2008, responds to various concerns at his blog. Words continue over at the Our Stories blog, where Alexis Santi offers suggestions to Tom Jenks and Carol Edgarian as to how they could improve Narrative Magazine‘s transparency. It was suggested that someone ought to post Narrative Magazine Inc.’s 990s, to which a commentor, Andrew W., responded by linking to the Foundation Center and reporting a few things:

Unfortunately it’s not all that helpful in putting together of story of exactly how they spend their money: for example, in 2007, Narrative had assets in excess of $230,000 (w00t!) and spent $50,000 on editorial services, $15,000 on copyediting, $29,000 on a webmaster, and $39,000 on author fees. There’s no way to know what the actual breakdown on all that was without asking them, but it’d be good to know how in the world they can spend $29,000 in one year on a webmaster.

I figured I might as well (re)post that information here.

After the break, a few selections from the 990. If you care to look at the entire 990 that Narrative Magazine Inc. filed for the year 2007, you may do so by clicking on this link (PDF). If you care to search the Foundation Center’s 990 Finder, then enter Narrative Magazine Inc.’s EIN: 03-0542711.


Uncategorized / 145 Comments
April 26th, 2009 / 2:05 pm

Mean Monday: Narrative Magazine Again! A Comment That Takes Things One Step Further


I was starting to understand Blake Butler’s argument regarding the amount of solicited writers that Narrative Magazine publishes versus the money they take from the unsolicited pile. And then David Kemp left this in the comment section, which spreads the responsibility even further than the editors of Narrative and I found his comment more or less convincing:


Uncategorized / 109 Comments
March 16th, 2009 / 8:29 pm

Narrative Magazine (‘the gold standard of online publications’) wants $20 to read your short-short

Reporting live from the Narrative Magazine offices, my man Russell Jones, AKA ‘The Only Black God’ AKA Osiris AKA Big Baby Jesus:

WalMart’s down the street, son.

But I mean really…

Web Hype / 84 Comments
February 23rd, 2009 / 5:06 pm

Narrative Magazine is edited by George W. Bush

It seems a lot harder for an online literary journal to be smarmy in the way of Zoetrope: All Story: since it’s the web, usually there’s a bit more wide of a perspective, and you tend to get a better grab bag of unusual work.

Narrative Magazine is near the top of my list of online journals that feel like they are edited by George W. Bush.

First off, you have to ‘join’ the site so you can even read the posts. It’s a free website, but in order to have ‘backstage access’ (is this Guns N Roses?) you have to sign up and let them spam you, which honestly is probably too much hassle for a lot of people. Geesh.

Moreso, though, it’s the content. Right now on the site they are featuring a story by Kate Chopin…

Yes, that Kate Chopin, and no I am not kidding. I mean, in case you didn’t feel claustrophobic enough reading the Awakening in high school, they figured they should give you a chance to catch up with the new new shit. MMM.

For the most part, also, Narrative is known as a place where ‘slush pile’ is a thing that curdles in the whey.

Which is weird, considering their TWENTY DOLLAR SUBMISSION FEE, which I will discuss more after the jump.


Uncategorized / 114 Comments
October 13th, 2008 / 1:37 am