I encountered Montreal Serai a few years ago, when I moved to Montreal from Ottawa. It’s tagline says: Bringing the margins to the centre. It is faithful to this mission, whose relevance has increased with time. I know it has a long and laudable three-decade long history, but I will confine myself to speaking to its present and recent past.
Full disclosure: I have contributed to MS several times and my short story collection (2013) and novel (2018) were also given space here. I have enjoyed working with the editorial team and found them supportive.
A webzine that publishes fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and reviews of film, music, art, exhibitions, theatre and dance, its editorial board picks 4 themes per year and weaves its issues around them, making place for other pieces as well. MS does not follow transient literary or artistic fashions, rather, it has a solid focus on what can broadly be termed as the socio-political sphere. The non-fiction pieces contain critical and reflective perspectives which are intelligent, and at times contain some theory, while remaining accessible to a range of readers. There’s often a personal note. I like it that MS is not just text-oriented. The pieces are illustrated with arresting visuals. And MS features the work of a couple of visual artists every issue.
MS contributors come from diverse backgrounds and bring care and courage to their work.
I believe Montreal Serai plays an important role on the Canadian cultural landscape. (It has an international readership.) While staying its course, as mentioned above, it remains open to new ideas and engagements. This includes going bilingual (English-French).