About SHARK REEF

SHARK REEF was launched in 2001 to give voice to emerging as well as established writers of the San Juan Islands of Washington State. Now, in collaboration with independent publisher, Iris Graville, SHARK REEF offers the same opportunity to all serious writers committed to producing original writing of high quality – regardless of where they live. Our literary magazine is for writers whose perspectives are often overlooked in the mainstream but whose voices are strong, not driven by publishing trends and nuanced with a kind of truth that comes with first-hand experience.

Since SHARK REEF’s debut, we’ve seen changes in the publishing world and our literary community. Now books can be downloaded from the Internet and listened to on iPods; small, independent presses are publishing high-quality work; and online publications are proliferating and being widely read. During that time, many writers featured in SHARK REEF have gone on to publish books, receive awards and garner outstanding reviews. When the loosely-organized Lopez Writers Guild which founded SHARK REEF disbanded, it made sense for SHARK REEF to partner with a local, independent publisher and persist in its efforts to give serious writers a place to see their work published. It is our mission at SHARK REEF to continue encouraging and supporting writers of this ilk.

See the Submissions page to send us your work. We can’t wait to read it.

Still Evolving: A July 2011 Note

In SHARK REEF’S early days, submissions were read by four readers, and work garnering the most votes appeared in our magazine. Now editor Lorna Reese partners with a different guest editor for each issue. With this issue, we invited two poetry co-editors to read and decide on all poetry submissions.

Because visual art inspires and enriches our lives, we have, from the beginning, welcomed art submissions as well. Now, just as we accept writing submissions from serious writers, wherever they live, we also welcome visual art submissions from anywhere in this country or the world. To manage the anticipated increase in submissions of art, we have added an art editor Judith Connor, featured artist in the Summer 2011 issue.

Casting a wider net requires more hands and we are thrilled to welcome these new editors to our crew. Together we will endeavor to continue bringing good writing and art to our growing audience. We invite you to be part of it. See our submission guidelines and send us your work.

How SHARK REEF Got Its Name

SHARK REEF is not just the name of our literary journal; it’s also a place. Named after a nearby reef, Shark Reef is a minimum-impact nature sanctuary on Lopez Island in Washington State. It boasts a variety of marine life and impressive, sweeping views of San Juan Channel between Lopez and San Juan Islands and the stately Olympic Mountains beyond. A well-worn path leads to a spot parallel to some offshore rock piles, called Dead Man’s Island. Scrambling down the rocks takes visitors to the water, kelp beds, rock formations and tide pools which are prime for exploration. The current flows swiftly along the cliffs on the tide change in these turbulent waters of the channel. Throughout the year, seals lounge on the rocks and cavort in the surrounding slower waters.

When it was time to decide what to call our fledgling literary magazine, one of the founders brought a list of names for us to consider. Some were names of places on Lopez Island where we all live, and it came down to either Jasper Bay or Shark Reef. We chose the latter because it had a bit of “bite” to it. It was as simple as that. A couple of years later, when we agreed to publish a paperback book of selections from the first several issues of SHARK REEF, the name “Currents” seemed appropriate.

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