Everyday Journal is a Cape Town-based literary magazine, conceptualised during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, that seeks to emphasise the potential of the ordinary and minutiae of life while providing a platform for emerging writers to showcase their work.
The name of the journal was inspired by an appreciation for fiction that looks at the ordinary and turns it into something else, according to founder and editor, Anna Degenaar.
“There’s power in the small details, moments and feelings that make up human experience and we’re interested in all the different ways they play out in fiction,” said Degenaar.
The nostalgia-tinged first issue, which features short fiction by Omoregie Esohe Ashley-Christabelle, Anna van Dyk, Victor Ola-Matthew, Nick Mulgrew and Christina Coates, was published on February 10. Sivan Zeffertt and Cameron Sheehan contributed photography to the publication, while illustrations by Sheehan — who also designed the cover — adorn the Everyday Journal Instagram page.
“In ‘These Four Walls’, a young girl reflects on loss and her childhood home. ‘Float’ is about revisiting a painful truth, in ‘Featured Playlist: Five Summer Indie Hits’ thoughts of the past breakthrough into the present,” said Degenaar.
While ‘You, Me and Philadelphia’ and ‘Spring Break’ are both reminiscences of bygone times.
The publication received approximately 30 submissions between July and August 2020. Degenaar and the magazine’s editorial team — proofreaders, Isabella Hugow and David Humfrey — offered feedback on every story, whether they were published or not.
“Feedback was important to me because of the generic rejection letters writers often receive from journals. It can give your confidence a real knock,” remarked Degenaar.
She added that feedback helps writers understand the choice that was made and allows them to gain something from the experience.
The journal is print-only, a move that is at odds with trends in the contemporary African literary scene, as many publications exist solely online. “It was important to me that the writers could hold their work in their hands,” explained Degenaar. “It’s a really wonderful feeling to see your name in print when so much is already online, it felt right for it to be something solid you could put on your shelf.”
However, the publication may expand into a less tangible medium — Degenaar said she’d love for the journal to exist in an audio format too because she loves hearing writers reading their own work and is planning to launch a podcast.
Degenaar expressed her gratitude to all the individuals who supported the project and helped to bring it to fruition. After a small break, she plans to commence working on the second issue and hopes to continue helping writers to refine and improve their work.
Everyday Journal is available for sale at independent book shops across Cape Town, including The Book Lounge, Clarke’s Bookshop and Kalk Bay Books.
Picture/s: Everyday Journal/Anna Degenaar