J Journal: New Writing On Justice Releases Fall 2019 Issue

J Journal: New Writing On Justice Releases Fall 2019 Issue

J Journal: New Writing On Justice Releases Fall 2019 Issue

In its 12th year, J Journal stands as the only contemporary justice-themed literary magazine

Award-winning writers tell stories from Riker’s Island, a Super 8 motel room, and the back roads of Italy in the newest issue of J Journal: New Writing on Justice, the literary journal housed at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City.

The fall collection of stories and poems features work by Dennis Vannatta (Pushcart Prize and Porter Prize winner), whose story The Falls follows an itinerant looking for a connection after resisting arrest. In Jason Trask’s memoir about teaching at Riker’s Island, the price of life is defined behind bars and in central Maine. In Misian Taylor’s prose-poem The Yellow Mixing Bowl, present grief and past joy blend to create the dimensions of a life. And in Paula Yup’s spare lines, a sore throat in a Super 8 motel room “overtakes” presidential politics.

Thinking about justice unites these works, but each piece takes a side-long, tangential approach to the journal’s justice theme.

“The J Journal is where creativity and the written word meet our mission to educate fierce advocates for justice,” said Karol V. Mason, President of John Jay College. “In each edition, the authors share finely cultivated stories that explore the challenges and struggles many of us face.”

J Journal: New Writing on Justice is the only literary magazine that offers its examination of contemporary justice issues through creative, not scholarly, work. Each issue features fiction, poetry, personal narrative, and photography from across the country and abroad.  Contributors include established and award-winning writers, new voices just out of MFA programs, current and former inmates, law enforcement professionals, lawyers, environmentalists, mental health professionals, and college professors in the humanities and social sciences.

Along the way some of these writers have since published novels and books of poems. And, as an outgrowth of John Jay’s mission and the focus of our journal, a burgeoning community of incarcerated individuals both read the journal and submit their original work.

 J Journal has moved up in the Pushcart Prize rankings each year (a litmus test for literary magazines) and is in the company of some of the best university journals in the country, including The Harvard Review, The Massachusetts Review, TriQuarterly, and Notre Dame Review. Critics from review sites, including Library Journal, Utne Reader and ACJS Now (Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences), offer these remarks: 

  • “…the content [of J Journal] provides an engaging perspective on justice in America.” 
    Library Journal


  • “From the John Jay College of Criminal Justice comes J Journal: a strange and delightful hybrid of literary, creative writing on crime, criminal justice, law, and law enforcement…”
    UTNE Reader


  • “J” publishes work that grapples with crime, punishment and human rights [and] showcases voices and ideas that do not usually appear in other literary magazines….  I think we can expect great things from this lit mag.”
    The ReviewReview


  • “Opening this stylish-looking rag is not just a distinct pleasure, it is a nourishing experience.”
    — NewPages