A note from our co-editor, Stephen O'Shea.
After crossing from San Antonio to Scotland in the reverse migration of those Scots made martyrs at the Texas Alamo, I immediately contacted Melissa Reid. This second-year, postgraduate author wanted to launch a Strathclyde literary magazine, and I wanted in on the ground floor. I’d no knowledge of the project’s development or what my role in the magazine would be, but my supervisor, Dr. Colin, spoke highly of Melissa. And Melissa delivered.
Her idea for Quotidian, a magazine featuring literature on the “everyday” via brisk online publications, grabbed my attention and held it. Melissa scribbled life into the idea of a multi-media magazine, and by the end of our first encounter she had made her vision my own. There was the practicality of targeting a modern audience with literature of a consumable length alongside the simplicity of the magazine’s style and format; and yet the whole thing unfolded beautifully, complex and multifaceted as literature itself.
I bought in, and over the next several months—as I settled into my degree at Strathclyde, found work and involvement with university clubs and organizations—I continued meeting with Melissa to accomplish the hidden layers of labor that build a magazine from threads of ideas to the world-wide web. There were applications for funding, registration with the Student Union, spreading social media awareness and sprouting a grassroots initiative for submissions to our debut issue. There was an editorial team to build, an awareness IKEA fieldtrip to plan, and Scottish universities to be networked. There was a website to create—templates, formats fonts—there was a submissions system to devise and, finally, there was writing to be read.
When Melissa and I first talked about launching Quotidian through the University of Strathclyde, my only skepticism was the quality of submissions we would receive. Melissa’s plan—highlighting the subtleties of realist fiction with the vision of a manifold online presence—promised the framework for a brilliant medium. However, there was one requirement for the development of a great literary magazine that was beyond our control: and that was great literature.
My skepticism spawned not from an ignorance of Scotland’s literary reputation—this was a primary factor in my crossing the pond—but from a fear that Scotland’s writing community would not take our magazine seriously. The night of our submissions deadline, this trepidation was mollified. With a hundred submissions from over half a dozen premier universities across Scotland, the quality of submissions to Quotidian surpassed all expectations.
Melissa and I read every single story and poem over the winter holidays, and after consulting our assistant editors for a tentative shortlist, the entire team came together to discuss which pieces would be featured in our debut magazine. What I can promise you, our reader, is that these stories will stick; the poems will whisper in your mind long after you’ve closed our tab; and the literature you read will be from the best new writers across the whole of Scotland.