When the Whitefish Review published its first issue in 2007, it was operating out of cofounder Brian Schott’s home and ran on a skeleton crew to craft the unconventional literary journal based in the Flathead Valley.
Now, Schott and cofounders Ryan Friel and Mike Powers have their own office in downtown Whitefish, a healthy list of staff members and contributors, and list of featured interviews in the journal ranging from actor Michael Keaton to retired football star Drew Bledsoe.
“It has changed over the years primarily with behind the scenes,” Powers said. “It has changed with the people we brought on and we realized we’d have to expand.”
The Whitefish Review has had to adapt to the pandemic. Its 25th issue was originally supposed to be released in June, but editors reopened the submissions window to allow for COVID-19 inspired work. In two weeks, they received more than 800 submissions. The issue finally came out this month.
“COVID hit and all of a sudden, literally the world was changing as we sat here,” Schott said. “It just seemed like if we put out an issue that didn’t address it or significantly relate to it, it would be a mess.”
With 10 more pages than normal, the “Metamorphosis” issue features acclaimed author Joyce Carol Oates, 16 pages of art and encompasses a combination of pandemic and non-pandemic pieces.
“Now, we’re 25 issues deep and nobody’s getting rich,” Friel said. “But we hope we’re enriching the community at large.”
“We’ve always wanted to turn the traditional literary journal on its head,” Schott added.
Whitefish Review’s official launch paired with the Montana Book Festival Sept. 10-12, although editors hope to throw an official party once the pandemic allows a safe setting.
As a nonprofit literary journal showcasing fiction, essays, poetry, cultural commentary, interviews, art, and photography, the Whitefish Review is supported by donations, grants and subscriptions. Copies are available in local and national bookstores and for order online at www.whitefishreview.org.