CRANFORD, NJ – Cranford High School senior Sophia Marie Joseph has had a lifelong passion for writing. But when she realized there was a lack of minority voices within the writing community, she decided to take matters—or rather, a pen—into her own hands.
Joseph recently launched his own online literary magazine titled “Cornelian Corner”. The magazine is intended to serve as an outlet for aspiring writers to publish their work, as well as to connect them with other writers to better develop their craft.
In particular, “the Carnelian Corner” advocates for people of color, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, women, immigrants, and other marginalized people.
The magazine prides itself on being a “magazine for minorities by minorities,” the website says.
Joseph said she decided to name the magazine after carnelian, which is a brownish-red crystal, because it is said to “help timid speakers become eloquent and bold.”
“I felt like [the name] was perfect because I want to be able to give a voice to people who haven’t had a voice,” Joseph said.
On her website, Joseph wrote that as a child she was selectively mute and had great difficulty with words and how to properly communicate them to others. But when she started writing, she found herself “falling in love with words”.
Joseph herself identifies as a black, pansexual, Haitian American woman, and said she wanted to start a literary magazine to elevate, rather than stifle, the voices of the marginalized.
Joseph said she was born to a first-generation Haitian American mother and a Haitian immigrant father. She grew up listening to her parents’ stories and learned that storytelling was a way to learn about her culture, values and traditions.
Joseph also published his own short story, “Madeira”, in honor of his grandfather. Currently, Joseph is working on two novels, a poetry book titled “Girlhood” and a prose book titled “Goodnight, Seol,” according to his website.
Those interested in contributing to “Carnelian Corner” can choose between submitting poetry, prose, opinion pieces, or novel excerpts. For now, Joseph is primarily accepting writing submissions, but she said she hopefully plans to expand the magazine to accept art submissions as well.
“Whether you’re an experienced writer or an inexperienced writer, there’s a place for you on this website,” Joseph said.
Each submission on the literary magazine will cost the writer $5, which will then be donated to NJ4Haiti – an organization that helps provide relief and rehabilitation for Haiti.
“When I was doing this magazine, I always had a vision to do something that could help my community in some way,” Joseph said.
NJ4Haiti is located in Elizabeth, where Joseph’s father lived when he first moved to America. Because of this, Joseph said it was an organization she felt compelled to associate with.
You can check out Joseph’s Literary Magazine at this link for more.
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