Audrey Bowers: Founder and Editor in Chief of Brave Voices Magazine

New series: 

What’s a pilgrim soul? Yeats might say that it’s who we really are, not who we pretend to be. We say it’s someone who isn’t afraid to admit they’re searching, a current student who is on a path, but doesn’t know exactly where it will lead. 

By Macy Jo Byerly

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#Bsuenglish students are doing incredible
things.
Audrey Bowers recently  founded Brave Voices Magazine, a literary and arts magazine that focuses on publishing
creative works related to the human experience. Bowers is a senior creative writing major at Ball State. She is a passionate storyteller, artist, teacher, social media manager, and editor. She loves corgis, children, and succulents. Her work has been published in the
Ball State Daily News, StudyBreaks Magazine, RethinkingKidLit.com, among other publications. She is editor in chief of Brave Voices Magazine.

What inspired you to start Brave Voices?

I was inspired by a colleague named Hannah Schneider who recently launched Thread: A Feminist Arts Collective. I worked on that publication as a submissions manager and prose reader. When that publication launched, I thought to myself, wow I would really love to create a project like this, but I just don’t have the time. I didn’t have the time because of how busy I was preparing to be a classroom teacher.

When I switched my major to creative writing, I knew that I had to create a project of some sort. As a writer and reader, I enjoy work that is vulnerable and honest. In my opinion, the name of my literary magazine and the work that we accept lives up to those expectations. The magazine was also partly inspired by Sara Bareilles’ hit song “Brave.” Like Bareilles, I want to see you “be brave” and submit your work.

What kind of works do you accept? What do you look for in what you accept for publication?

We accept just about anything creative. That means creative non-fiction, poetry, short stories, artwork, and multi-modal / hybrid pieces. I look for work that shows readers the human experience. I want to see/read about moments in the narrator’s/artist’s lives where they really feel – whether it be joy, anger, sadness, anxiety, confusion, etc. Even if you don’t feel confident in your work, I encourage you to submit. There is no judgment here, just a desire to possibly share your work.

What would like to see more of in submissions?

I would like to see more art and more prose. We have been overwhelmed and blessed with poetry submissions, but Brave Voices is not just a poetry magazine. We hope to share work from all kinds of creatives, regardless of their genre, mediums, and identity(ies).

How many issues are you planning to put out per year?

At the moment, I plan on putting out roughly four issues a year. However, once I graduate from Ball State, I may cut that to one or two issues a year because I really want this to be a well-established, long-term project.

When are your deadlines to submit?

The deadline for the winter issue is December 1st, 2018. However, we accept submissions on a rolling basis. We are willing to publish artists in more than one issue, but of course want to share as many voices as possible, so newer artists will be considered first.

How many people are there working to make Brave Voices possible?

We have about a dozen staff members, including myself. A handful are Ball State students and another handful are writers and editors that I have had the opportunity to meet online. I have a managing editor, copy editors, a design editor, social media editors, a webmaster, a lead poetry editor, a lead CNF editor, and a fiction editor.

I am always looking for readers to help decide what should or should not be published and am willing to allow other #bsuenglish students help grow this magazine. My current struggle is delegating the work as this project is like my child; it can be hard to trust others with something so near and dear to you, but it’s worth it in the end.  Self care is extremely important. If I’m running on fumes, the magazine will be negatively affected rather than improved.

Is there anything else you want to say about Brave Voices?

I want to say that working on this magazine is a labor of love. As a writer and editor, I wanted to contribute to the literary world and allow underrepresented voices to do so also. I have not made a single dime from this project, but I have created something I am proud of and have had the honor of working with so many incredibly talented human beings.

If you have even thought about creating your own publication, DO IT. The worst thing that will happen is that you don’t publish any issues and you move on to another adventure. I didn’t think Brave Voices would gain so much interest and I am blown away by the amount of people who value it as much as I do.

 

Do you know anyone who you think is a pilgrim soul? Send your suggestions to bsueng@bsu.edu.

 

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