Seanín Huges has been a writer for many year and started to explore poetry in her early thirties, She was very fortunate to find a great deal of advice and support within the Irish literary community. Her work was published by Dodging The Rain, Poethead, Banshee and The Stinging Fly quite early on. She also read at several festivals, had work featured on the inaugural Poetry Jukebox in Belfast, and published her debut pamphlet, Little Deaths, with Smithereens Press in January 2019.
Seanín is currently studying BA Hons English as a mature student at Ulster University and aims to move into teaching, facilitating workshops, and editing.
What do you hope to achieve during your time at the Blue Nib?
Having had a taste of editorial work in the past, I’m very excited to take up this opportunity with The Blue Nib. There is nothing in this world quite so gratifying as a good story or poem, and I’m thrilled to be able to offer a platform to both new and established writers.
As someone who was lucky enough to find support early in my career, I hope to offer the same to other writers through my work; to really empower writers, validate their urge to create, and in the process help produce what is already a wonderful and diverse publication.
What are you hoping to find in your submission pile?
I’m drawn to work that is textured, nuanced and unafraid to explore darkness in all its guises. I will read absolutely anything, but find myself hooked by stories that offer a new perspective, or grant a voice to something seldom understood. I love truth and grit, even more so when it is laced with imaginative and innovative use of language.
What do you not want to see in your submissions file?
Most importantly, I appreciate submissions that follow the submission guidelines. Consistency with the guidelines means the editor can focus purely on the quality and suitability of the work.
Your stories deserve my full attention, so please do read the guidelines carefully and proofread before submitting. Of course, mistakes happen (I’ve made more than one blunder when submitting work myself!), but it is lovely to know that a writer is sufficiently invested in themselves to acknowledge the submissions process. Besides that, I don’t believe in excluding anything – for example, if I say I’m not keen on romance, I may just miss a gem of a perfectly executed love story.
What would turn you off a submission?
Clear lack of thought and/or effort. I believe writers should honour their work, nurture it, and learn from it. One thing I have learned is that editors can easily detect a submission fired off on a wing and a prayer. I care about the work submitted to me, just as I care about submitting my own work; my relationship with the contributor works best when they care too. I’m also allergic to prejudice in all forms – racist, sexist, ableist or other discriminatory work will not be accepted.
What do you see as an editors main responsibility to our contributors? And to our readers?
To our contributors: my time, care, attention and professionalism. So often, there is a gap perceived between writers and editors, when the reality is that many editors are themselves writers, and they understand the frustrations of the submissions process first hand. I want contributors to feel that their work is valued.
To our readers: a rich and diverse range of literature that showcases the sheer scope of voice available out there. It is a remarkable time for literature, and I see my role, and the rile of The Blue Nib as championing that.
What makes a submission really shine in your opinion.
For me, work really shines when, having finished it, I’m left with a sublime feeling of having gained something intangible, something that could only be gained from that story or poem. Simultaneously, a sense of loss at having finished reading for the first time – that desire to experience the work again as a brand new thing in itself.
What are you reading at the moment, or what have you read recently that struck a chord with you and why?
I’m currently re-reading Patrick McCabe’s The Butcher Boy, an Irish classic from the early 1990s. I’m a sucker for stories that explore dysfunction, dispossession and human frailty. Other favourites include Niall Griffiths’ Sheepshagger, June Caldwell’s Room Little Darker and Sophie Mackintosh’s The Water Cure.