We here at the Royal Bison always love to hear stories of what it's like to be a maker/artist/designer in Edmonton. For the Spring 2017 Bison, guest writer Lindsay Jones brings us in depth interviews with some of our long-term vendors.
Matthew Stepanic is an Edmonton-based writer and editor. He is a graduate from The University of Alberta and has become a vibrant force in the literary community. Glass Buffalo is Matthew’s passion project; the enthusiasm he has for providing emerging writers a space to share their voice manifests in all that he does.
Read on to learn more about why this Royal Bison vendor thinks there is nothing better than the smell of ink and paper filling his car after picking up magazines hot off the press…
What do you do and why do you love it?
MS: I work as an Editor at Glass Buffalo; we publish emerging writers from the U of A. We focus on new voices in fiction, non- fiction, and poetry, and put three issues out per year. It is exciting to be part of the literary community, and to see young writers succeed in their field of work. We nominate our writers for awards, and they are often recipients of these awards, which is really cool. We had seven nominations at the last Alberta Magazine Awards in March; it is amazing to see their success and see where it takes them.
Glass Buffalo is published in Edmonton. What does being an Edmonton-creative mean to you?
MS: One thing that I have found being in Edmonton as a creative is that there is a huge community spirit, especially in the literary community. From the beginning of Glass Buffalo I felt welcomed and supported – there was a lot of space for us to expand and grow. This warm reception made the process a lot easier.
MS: People always make fun of me for this, but I love the smell of paper and ink. When my car smells like paper and ink, because it is filled with a bunch of magazines that is a good feeling. In addition to this though, I am proud of some of the literary recognition Glass Buffalo writers and myself have received. It kind of feels like I am tooting my own horn to say so though [laughs]. Back in October of 2015 I won an International Media Award and that was really exciting. When your work and the work of your writers is recognized outside of the community you exist in, it confirms that what you are doing means something and that people are noticing.
Looking into the future – where do you see Glass Buffalo?
MS: That is a good question [laughs]. We have put thirteen issues out now, and have definitely been thinking about what the expansion of Glass Buffalo would look like or mean. It’s interesting, because when something isn’t your full time job, you have to move a little slower. We have been trying to find ways to grow; we know we are always wanting to be about emerging writers, but now we have to decide whether or not that means we begin expanding beyond the U of A. The Chapbooks have been a great way for us to grow – it is a way for us to move into a zone where we expand what we print, and work closer toward the formation of a full fledged publishing house.
Complete this sentence: To me The Royal Bison is __________.
MS: Quirky Community.
It is a place that I love to be a part of. It is a quirky space where we all accept that we are artists in a variety of capacities. I get excited to meet new people and to see familiar friendly faces. The people that attend the market and the people that sell at it are all part of the experience; we build connections and those connections become a vital part of our involvement within the community. Each time we are part of the Bison, we walk away with new readers and new collaborators.
Matthew Stepanic is a writer, editor, and entrepreneur residing in Edmonton, Alberta. Interested in purchasing a copy of Glass Buffalo’s latest issue? Stop by one of their stockists: Audrey’s Bookstore, Tix on the Square, Mandolin Books, and Transcend Coffee House. Looking to submit your writing? Visit the Glass Buffalo submission page for more information. Don’t forget to swing by their Royal Bison booth May 5 – 7, 2017.