Kerry Winfrey
May 10, 2014 2:00 pm

Every week in Young Adult Education I write about a YA book I love, but this week, I thought I’d mix it up. Instead of telling you about a book I love, I’m telling you about a literary magazine I love. Okay, so that might not be “mixing it up,” per se, but I’m a creature of habit.

One Teen Story is a literary magazine devoted solely to YA, which might be the best idea ever. I’ve read a lot of literary magazines in my time (because it’s basically a requirement of majoring in creative writing), but here’s a thing you probably already know about lit mags…they don’t feature much YA. Or any YA. So when One Teen Story offered to send me a few copies, I was stoked. It turns out One Teen Story is the lit mag I’ve always wanted, and one of the stories almost made me cry! But enough about my overly emotional tendencies. Let’s talk about OTS.

Each issue of OTS is, as the name suggests, devoted to just one story. Personally, I think this is a great strategy because sometimes in longer lit mags or short story collections, some stories can get lost in the fray. With OTS, you have to focus on one story and give it your full attention. Luckily, the stories in OTS are all amazing. They feature a mix of established YA authors (Tara Altebrando, Gayle Forman, Matt de la Pena) and newer names.

As soon as you see an issue, you’ll notice how gorgeous this magazine is. Yes, you can see the issues on the website, but in person they’re even more of a delight. The bold covers look like beautiful zines, and each issue is the perfect size to slip in your purse and carry around with you. Here’s one of my favorites:

What’s even cooler: on the OTS website, you can get all sorts of extra information about each story. For example, I loved Angelica Baker’s “The Feather Trick.” It reminded me of one of my favorite writers, Lorrie Moore, and it came very close to making me cry. It’s about being a big sister, family dynamics, and feeling like you let someone down (among other things). There just aren’t enough stories about brother-sister relationships! On the website, you can read a lovely interview with Angelica where she talks about the ideas behind the story, the story’s ending, and writing advice. You can also watch this really neat video introduction to the story.

It’s also worth noting that One Teen Story publishes stories from a diverse list of authors. If you follow the YA community at all, you know that the rallying cry for more diverse voices has grown stronger and stronger in the past few months. And if you pay attention to the lit mag community at all, you know that this year’s VIDA count highlighted which lit mags have a long way to go in terms of featuring women (I mean, seriously, McSweeney’s?). The list of authors in One Teen Story is made up of more than just white men, which I definitely appreciated.

One Teen Story accepts submissions throughout the year. If you’re a teen writer, you should definitely submit to their writing contest. It’s open until June 30th and it’s judged by Tara Altebrando! You can win $500 and, even cooler, you get published in One Teen Story.

You can find One Teen Story on Twitter and Tumblr. On their website, you can read excerpts from the stories and find more information about subscribing or submitting. What about you guys? Have you read One Teen Story? Let me know in the comments! And, as always, I love to hear your suggestions for books to feature in Young Adult Education. Leave me a comment, send me an email at youngadulteducation@gmail.com or find me on Twitter @KerryAnn.

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