Meet Shannon Lechon, the Editor-in-Chief of the Kudzu Review

 

Courtesy: @kudzu.fsu  

 

Are you a writer looking to be published? Do people need to read the stories you’ve written? Then look no further than The Kudzu Review. The Kudzu is an online publication at Florida State University that was first published online in Spring 2008. In this publication, there are three writing categories: fiction, nonfiction and poetry, and there is also a section for visual art. The Kudzu publishes an issue every spring and fall, with submissions opening up at the beginning of each semester. Starting in the fall of 2018, the Kudzu became a national magazine, meaning that any undergraduate college student in the US can submit a piece of writing to the publication.

To provide some more information about the Kudzu and its staff, I interviewed Shannon Lechon, the current Editor-in-Chief of the publication.

Courtesy: Shannon Lechon

 

Major: Creative Writing and Criminology

Graduation Date: May 2019

Hometown: West Palm Beach, Florida

Her Campus (HC): How did you first get involved with the Kudzu Review?

Shannon Lechon (SL): I joined as an editorial assistant the first semester of my junior year as a way of doing an English internship, working in the fiction section. I liked it so much I continued with it as a volunteer after my internship was over, and the next year I took over as Editor-in-Chief.

HC: How have you seen the Kudzu change since you first joined it?

SL: We’ve made a lot of changes in the past year. We used to release the Kudzu as a print edition, and now we’ve moved entirely online. The biggest change is that we’ve gone from an FSU-only magazine to a national literary magazine. We accept work not only from our undergraduate students but from undergraduates all over the nation. It’s such a positive change; we hear from so many more voices now. We’ve also moved our biannual reading from the FSU campus to The Bark, which hosts other events from the English department. That allows us to support local businesses and broaden the Kudzu’s reach to Tallahassee locals, not just FSU students.

HC: Why did you decide to take on the role of Editor-in-Chief?

SL: The previous Editor-in-Chief thought I would be a good fit for the role and asked me if I was interested. I wasn’t so sure at first, but I knew I cared a lot about the magazine and its future. I loved working with and publishing other writers and I really wanted the Kudzu to move forward with new ideas, so I took on the position. It’s been one of the best decisions I made at FSU.

HC: What are your career aspirations?

SL: I’d like to be an editor in the book publishing world someday. I really enjoy working with other writers and helping their work be the best it can be. I worked on the fiction team as an intern and a volunteer and I’d like to continue that into the publishing world, bringing new and diverse voices with brilliant ideas to bookshelves.

HC: How do you feel that the Kudzu has helped prepare you for the workforce?

SL: The Kudzu has been instrumental in learning how the publishing industry works. We go through the same steps that high-end literary magazines and book publishers go through, so I feel like I know what I’m getting myself into when I’m applying for jobs. It also requires good organizational skills and the ability to talk to people to ask them to fundraise, come in and present, and host events. I was not good at either of those things before joining the Kudzu, and I feel more confident and well-rounded now.

HC: Would you recommend that other students join or submit work to the Kudzu? Why?

SL: Of course! As part of the Kudzu staff, you get great experience working for a literary magazine. You learn to work with other assistants, have conversations about what makes a great piece of writing and begin your career. As for submitting to the Kudzu, I highly encourage it. It’s always great to hear from new voices. Whether you like photography, sculpture, prose poetry, limericks, literary fiction or high fantasy, there’s a place at the Kudzu for your work. We’d love to hear from you.

HC: What will you miss most about having this position?

SL: We have a fantastic team at the Kudzu. As much faith as I have that I’ll meet equally amazing people in the publishing world, it’s been wonderful to have a staff that cares so much about the Kudzu. They’re the people responsible for our magazine’s updated layout, our new website, and our new social media presence. I’ll miss the team when we all graduate.

HC: Finally, what advice would you give to the next Editor-in-Chief of the Kudzu Review?

SL: Make sure to rely on and listen to your staff. It might be tempting to try and do everything yourself, but the Kudzu works as a team. To continuously improve the magazine and move into the future, we need the ideas and input of everyone. I couldn’t have gotten through this year without them.

If you have a piece you’re dying to submit or want to read any past editions of the magazine, visit the Kudzu’s Website here.