Important Notice From Karen Mulhallen, Editor in Chief of Descant Magazine

After long and painful negotiations and deliberations for four years, with the literary and arts community, with the arts councils and donors, with our co-editors, and our foundation directors, we have jointly decided that Descant magazine in its present form is no longer sustainable.

In A Cabinet of Curiosities, Descant 167, Winter 2014, will be our final issue.

This has been a very hard decision to make. For the last three years Descant has been in a deficit position, and as head of the Descant foundation and Editor in Chief of the magazine, I carry all the debts.

Our vigorous fund-raising campaign this fall was very successful and I want to thank all of you who donated to the magazine. Unfortunately, we did not raise enough money to offset the shortfall. Grants have been in decline for more than five years, although other revenues such as sales and subscriptions have held steady or increased. We have cut costs everywhere we could, but many expenses over which we have no control have continued to spiral up.

I have personally searched for a solution, but have been unable to find either a patronage base or an editor (or editorial collective) to replace myself and take over the magazine, and be responsible for its publication and its foundation.

Descant has an enormous community. It is an international magazine with a strong focus on Canada and on emerging artists. We have trained dozens of interns, hundreds of editors have worked with us over the years, and thousands of writers and visual artists and musicians and dancers have been published in our pages.

Our issues have examined cities, like Venice and Berlin, countries like China and Latvia, regions like North Africa, artistic practices like music. We have published special issues on writers, Michael Ondaatje, Dennis Lee, Barbara Gowdy, and composers, R. Murray Schafer, themes like History of the Book, Romantic Love, Hotels, Fashion.

We couldn’t have done it without all of you.

We are now in production with our Winter issue, number 167, and the launch date will likely be late January 2015. We are also planning a huge celebration on the cusp of Spring. Check our website for news or send the office an email to get on our email list.

The co-editors and I are proud to have been able to publish for so many decades. It has been a pleasure and a privilege. We thank you all.

Karen

12 Responses to Important Notice From Karen Mulhallen, Editor in Chief of Descant Magazine

  1. This is too sad for words.

  2. Michael Redhill

    Karen, I’m so sorry to hear this. Thank you for dedicating so many years to this beautiful magazine.

  3. So sorry to hear that this day has arrived. Thank you, Karen, for the Herculean effort you have made over all these years to produce this beautiful magazine. It has enriched Canada and our culture.

  4. All Canadians ought to be concerned when a journal like this one has to shut down. It is magazines like Descant that keep a democracy healthy. I will miss your publications as well as this insightful and informative blog, Lesley.

  5. The current government will not be happy until science in Canada means the earth is 6000 years old and art means portraits of Stephen Harper hanging in every home. Writers need to put some energy into defeating this scourge so that Canada can bring back what we’re losing before we’ve lost everything. Sorry to hear this news.

  6. best wishes in your new endeavours. That international span was a tribute to your imagination.

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  10. Hello again Karen, Have just learned of your very difficult decision, and although I haven’t been able to contribute to Descant nearly as much as I would have liked in recent years, just knowing of the magazine’s existence has served as a sustaining context for what matters to me most. It’s disappearance will be a major loss. Bravo for what you’ve done, and thank-you! Vera

  11. This is terrifying! I know all lit mags (and other non-profits) struggle, but Descant is one of the longest-running and well-established Canadian lit mags out there! If Descant can fall, then what hope is there for the smaller magazines?

    On top of that, it’s just sad. I’m sure you fought as hard as you could, but well-established lit mags like Descant serve as role models for young upstart lit mags. It’s pretty crushing to see a role model fall. And for those of us aspiring writers who are hoping to get published in some of Canada’s well-established lit mags, seeing a well-established lit mag fall crushes a piece of that dream.

    Best wishes to all of your staff and volunteers in the future!

  12. marion robb-gardner

    Best wishes, Karen.

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