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  • Soliloquies Concordia

Experimental Writing and the Annoying Concept of Branding: An Interview with BAD NUDES


In 2016, Thomas Molander and Fawn Parker founded the literary magazine BAD NUDES and were quickly joined by web designer Sandy Spink and print artist Betsy Pelletier. The magazine is published four times a year and has quickly caught the attention of Montreal and Toronto’s literary communities.


The magazine is geared towards publishing fiction and poetry. In an interview, both Parker and Thomas mention that they look for work that excites them:

“Mainly, we’re trying to give exciting new work a home. I really feel lucky to know so many fantastic writers and it is a privilege to be able to work so intimately with them.” - FP


BAD NUDES publishes work by emerging writers that otherwise may not find a platform to voice their work; Parker and Molander refer to the work they publish as “experimental writing.”


“When I read a story, I like to be caught off guard, made to laugh, or to be surprised by how my expectations are subverted. They are operating in an experimental way that feels exciting; that’s what I always gravitate towards.” - TM


The magazine has a large presence on social media at the hands of Molander and Parker, although this was not something they had necessarily planned. Molander recalls how initially putting so much of themselves online made them feel uncomfortable:

“We were uncomfortable being shameless, to the point where we decided to go over the top with it to really make ourselves part of the branding.” This was not something being worked on consciously but was developed as a reaction to the idea of brand.


They go on to explain their process as “aggressive branding as a reaction to knowing that branding is annoying.” - TM


Part of establishing the BAD NUDES “brand” has to do with the design of the website since “every time the magazine comes out, we create an entirely new website from scratch - the way that a magazine would operate.” - TM


The website is designed to be a captivating experience that reflects the intent of the publication itself as well as the personalities involved with its making. Both Parker and Molander credit web designer Sandy Spink with what Spink calls “taking technologies that seem redundant or what appears like now useless software and making it useful.” This translates in their design for each issue of the magazine through the “fascination with windows ‘98” and wanting to see what “game interface would look like.”


Each issue provides an ambiance of web nostalgia that the audience looks forward to: “It’s based on outdated tech and somehow that resonates with people.” - SS


The success of BAD NUDES led Molander and Parker to create its sister press, BAD BOOKS, which has already published two books by authors previously featured in the magazine. “It’s really exciting to be able to work with longer pieces by our authors and get to know them on a deeper level. It was truly an honour working with JC Bouchard, MLA Chernoff, and Jordan Moffatt.”


The vision of BAD NUDES has resonated with individuals who value this type of work, especially because it is relevant to the tech-dominated era of 2018. Parker and Molander are both humbled with its success, and are happy to continue “constantly engaging with young voices who are doing their thing.” -TM


In response to their influence on the landscape of publishing, Parker says: “I like to think we’ve created a space for writers who might not fit in other places. Sometimes I see a poem and think, ‘That just has to be in BAD NUDES.’”


To read the latest issue of BAD NUDES, visit http://badnudes.com/


By Brenda Odria