Sprout Magazine is an online literary journal publishing social commentary, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, art, and media works by contributors 13-22 years old. While the temptation with such a name as “Sprout” is to clichéd metaphors about tender young growth, such commentary would not be reflective of this publication’s focus on real world social issues that demonstrate an awareness of the world from a variety of youth perspectives – bold, raw, and unafraid.
But indeed, the editors themselves choose the word “sprout” as a direct reference to the people they are trying to inspire: young creative minds who have taken root, but have not yet blossomed. As it says in their mission statement: “We are simply a plot of land for seeds to grow.” Also, the editors add “we like the color green.” Clearly, some humor is welcome as well.
The editors also belong to this community of young creative minds, each with their own already impressive backgrounds of achievement, perspective, and expertise. Founder and Editor-in-Chief Victoria Hou [pictured] is also the Editor-in-Chief of her high school’s print magazine and last year won Silver Key for Scholastic’s Art & Writing Competition, West Region. Co-managing Editor Sophie Govert is a recent graduate of the Iowa Young Writer’s Studio. Her work has been published in her high school’s literary magazine, she is secretary of her school’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance and a vocal part of the LGBTQ+ community. Co-managing Editor Joonho Jo is an alumnus of the Iowa Young Writer’s Studio. Outside of Sprout, he is a staff writer for the oldest preparatory school newspaper in the United States, The Exonian, and writing editor for Pendulum. He won a first place in the Letters About Literature contest in NH, sponsored by The Library of Congress.
It was their combined vision which inspired this literary start-up “to have a space where young minds can share their thoughts and opinions about society through creative expression. As Sprout’s mission is to broadcast social commentary, it was fitting to use an online literary platform – a site anyone can access – to showcase the raw art from our contributors.” As such, readers can expect to find “all kinds of meaningful and creative works, each addressing a social or political topic.”
Some recent published works include “On Christianity” (Avery B); “How to Avoid Getting Bullied in Middle School” (Joonho Jo); “The Political Science of Politics and Science” (Nina Tate); “Why You Shouldn’t Make Friends with Monsters” (Fenn De Bont); “Piedmont Needs Feminism”; poetry by Victoria Hou, Allie McGinnis, Mar C., Sophie Govert, Dylan Escobar, Michelle Wang, Kelsey K., Clara Eugene; and art by Catherine Zhao.
Sprout accepts “pretty much any form of creative media” year round, currently publishing a new piece once every two weeks. “Once a submission is received,” Sprout explained to NewPages, “all editors on the editorial board assess the work, seeing if it contains a message that is socially or politically driven. When deemed appropriate and relevant to our mission, the piece is reviewed under a critical lens for grammatical errors, inconsistencies in content, and strength of message.” Authors are then sent a url to their published work, which remains on the site.
Sprout editors hope to increase both their editorial staff and their submissions as they move forward. And, the editors note, they are also looking to compile pieces into an electronic issue for their readership.