‘Brink Literary Journal’ holds contest for hybrid writing

From Jan. 1 to Feb. 15, ‘Brink Literary Journal’ is holding a hybrid writing contest judged by award-winning author Lars Horn.


Photo courtesy of Brink Literary Journal.

Stella Shipman, Arts Reporter

Printed with colorful imagery and compelling literary pieces spanning genres, the Brink Literary Journal in Iowa City offers a creative outlet for both readers and writers. Now, writers have the opportunity to receive awards for submitting their work.

From Jan. 1 to Feb. 15, the Brink Literary Journal will accept submissions for its hybrid writing contest and will award the winner with $1,000 and the publication of their piece in the journal’s October issue.

The Brink Literary Journal is an Iowa City-based literary publication that focuses on hybrid writing, which is any form of literary work that combines mediums or crosses genres. Nina Lohman, founder and publisher of Brink, said it is work “that doesn’t fit in a lot of literary boxes.”

Lohman launched Brink in spring 2021 as a place for authors whose writing did not fit standard literary categories to share their pieces. She realized the necessity for such a platform after struggling to find somewhere to share her own hybrid work.

“I came to realize that if I had this trouble, I am certainly not alone,” said Lohman. “I know this because a lot of the work that I like to read is writing that is hybrid in nature, you know, writing that requires more than one discipline or its dynamic or uses different parts from different literary traditions to tell the story that it needs to tell.”

The contest will be judged by Lars Horn, a writer and translator working in literary and experimental nonfiction. They are the author of the award-winning essay collection “Voice of the Fish.”

The winning contest submission will gain more recognition if chosen by Horn because of Horn’s credibility as an author and hybrid writer, Lohman said. She added this kind of recognition might otherwise be difficult to find in the literary world because of literary boxes that constrain hybrid writing.

In mid-November 2022, Humanities Iowa granted Brink with funding for its contest prize. Humanities Iowa is a non-profit organization located in Iowa City and neighboring states that is committed to providing individuals or programs in communities equitable access to support.

Heather Plucar, acting executive director of Humanities Iowa, said the organization’s mission has recently been evolving “to target intergenerational audiences as opposed to just purely the out-of-school adult public.”

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Brink built a strong foundation of publicity, reaching a vast majority of high school students in Iowa City, Plucar said. This audience corresponds with Humanities Iowa’s evolved mission to reach intergenerational audiences.

As a new arts organization in Iowa City, Brink has been welcomed with open arms. Hannah Bonner, the poetry editor for Brink, explained that other organizations within the community, like Iowa City Poetry and Public Space One, have embraced the publication.

Like Lohman, Bonner hopes the contest will offer hybrid writers an outlet and opportunity to gain traction in the literary world and continue to provide Brink with visibility.

“I feel like anyone, like any arts organization, is really psyched to support everyone,” Bonner said.
“It just always feels like you are part of a group who is eager to amplify, like anyone who starts something new.”