Descant toronto

The death of Descant spells worry for Toronto journals

After 44 years, Toronto-based literary journal Descant Magazine has announced its latest issue will be its last. Editor-in-Chief Karen Mulhallen revealed that Descant has been in deficit for three years and can't continue in its current form.

Descant began in 1970 in mimeograph form and has since published quarterly as an international journal. Mulhallen has run Descant since the fifth issue. The other original staff were University of Toronto students. Issues have featured works of Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, Dennis Lee, and Timothy Findlay.

Descant held a fall fundraising campaign, which ultimately fell short of shoring up the publication's debts. Various cost solutions and possible replacement for Mulhallen as editor were not found, leaving the magazine high and dry.

"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."

She went on to thank everyone who has contributed to Descant over the years.

The demise of the journal is part of a larger and worrisome trend that foreshadows the lack of sustainability suffered by small press publications. WORN Fashion Journal might not have a whole lot in common with Descant in terms of content, but both are longstanding publications with loyal followings that just can't pay the bills.

And that is loss for Toronto's cultural scene.

Read the full notice from Karen Mulhallen here.

Photo from Descant's Facebook page


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