Introducing The Ex-Puritan

Dear friends, readers, contributors:

We write today with an exciting update: we’ve officially rebranded to become The Ex-Puritan.

This work has been in progress for years. For years, we’ve debated as a masthead how to fix the magazine’s branding, with the goal of making the outside of our magazine match what we publish on the inside. We’ve been a regular publishing home to diverse and traditionally marginalized voices who have expressed very valid reservations about our name, which is what prompted this initial work. But we’ve also been a staple of the CanLit community for fifteen years—for better or for worse—and we’ve heard from many of you about how much love you’ve had for this publication.

We’re adding the “Ex” to our name in recognition of both of those positions: that the name “The Puritan” is unwelcoming for the voices we privilege in our publishing mandate, but that our history in this community is not something we want to do away with entirely. As we transition to becoming The Ex-Puritan, the “Ex” in our name represents an interrogation of this complex history and reminds the writer/reader that the “story” of our publication is yet-to-be-written. Our story is collective, collaborative, never static, and always up for responsive, experimental and community-accountable change.

Our emphasis on accessibility, as well as diversity and experimentation, means that the overall "voice" of The Ex-Puritan is never monotonous or predictable. It is and continues to be defined by the work we publish.

We’ve been working with The Public, a community-centered, social justice design studio that works alongside non-profits, grassroots organizations, and people trying to change the world for the better. The Public has designed a beautiful, welcoming new website for us that privileges experimentation, inclusivity, and accessibility. We want to highlight a few of the exciting new changes for you today:

  • We’ve officially launched our hybrid/experimental section, a safe home for writers and artists experimenting with new forms of storytelling. We invite you to experience our first published piece: “Our Aesthetics: Celebrating Black Sound” from Hush Harbour Press. It is a celebration of Black sound and Black joy, and we’re so excited to be able to share it with you. The new hybrid/experimental section of the website has been designed to give artists as much agency as possible in determining how they want the public to experience their work, and we’re looking forward to sharing more pieces with you in the future.
  • You’ll notice a human-shaped widget that hovers on the right side of all of our webpages. Click on it to tailor the reading experience to your individual needs. This widget is from Userway, a powerful, AI-accessibility tool. Userway keeps our website up to date with WCAG 2.1 guidelines, and the widget has 100+ options to personalize the reading experience. There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to accessibility, and Userway’s widget ensures that each reader’s experience can be individually tailored for their specific needs.
  • We have new, welcoming social media templates that we’ll be sharing over the upcoming weeks. These will help us share what we publish with increasingly larger audiences, with the goal of attracting even more readers in the future.

This work, of course, is not completed as of today. Migrating 15 years’ worth of publications—71 issues, with more than 1000 published pieces!—takes time. We ask that you be patient with us as we clean up issues of spacing, author photos, metadata, and hyperlinks in our archive.

There are still more changes to come. In December 2023, we’ll be publishing our first annual report, which will include a demographic breakdown of who we publish to ensure that we are meeting our mandate of prioritizing underserved and traditionally marginalized voices in our publishing practices. We’ll also be seeking further sources of funding to be able to increase our fees for our contributors; although we increased the rates for poetry in fall 2022, we’re hoping to be able to increase the rates for other sections soon as well.

Take some time to explore our new website. Our hope is that you will be as excited about the changes that we’re making as we are.

Sanchari Sur & Kelly Baron

Editor-In-Chief & Publisher 

The Ex-Puritan

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