We’d like to invite editors and writers to participate in our new series on issues and representations of race, class, gender, and sexuality in independent publishing. How do these issues affect you as an literary magazine editor interested in publishing underrepresented communities, or a writer who wants to challenge dominant notions of identity? What are your thoughts, concerns, ideas about how literary communities reinforce, respond to, and confront racism, classicism, sexism, and homophobia? Contact Marcelle Heath at

"Reading a literary journal is not like eating your vegetables. We’re not doing this so it can be preserved in a museum while people actually enjoy movies, television and video games."

Eli Horowitz, McSweeney's

bird cage image


Megan Garr, Versal [TBA]

Jarrett Haley, BULL: Fiction for Thinking Men [TBA]

Laura van den Berg, Part II

Laura van den Berg, Part I

Allison Seay, The Greensboro Review

Mary Miller

Eilis O'Neal, Nimrod International

Erin Fitzgerald, Northville Review

Don Bogen, Cincinnati Review

Andrew Porter

Nam Le

Benjamin Percy


Luna Digest, 1/5

"One of the more interesting literary magazine discussions to come about in recent months has happened via email, twitter feeds, and blogs about Andrew Whitacre’s post titled “The End of the Small Print Journal. Please.” on the identity theory editors’ blog."

Luna Digest, 12/15

"The Atlantic Monthly decides not only to be the first magazine to sell single short stories for the Kindle, but they will also charge 4 times as much as One Story does for a single story. And One Story will actually print the story out and mail it to your house."

Luna Digest, 12/8

"Today’s the day The San Francisco Panorama from McSweeney’s hits the streets. The idea is to put out an exciting newspaper edition to show the power of the medium in a world of declining newspaper publishing incentives."

Luna Digest, 12/3

"For most people who read fiction and spend much time online, this won’t be news: Electric Literature recently twittered the entirety of Rick Moody’s story “Some Contemporary Characters” over three days with the assistance of several co-publishers, of which Luna Park was one."

Luna Digest, 11/24

"I’ve been stumbling across some great excerpts recently from David Shields’s upcoming book Reality Hunger: A Manifesto..."

Luna Digest, 11/17

"Just how much did Salman Rushdie have to do with Alex Clark’s resignation from Granta? (Nothing at all, according to him.)"


Teachers: Use Literary Magazines
By Nicholas Ripatrazone

"Before I go any further, I should admit that I could be doing a much better job in my financial support of literary magazines....but those who have worked in public education know the difficulties of working within community-voted budgets.  Literary magazine subscriptions at the classroom level are an educational luxury, not a need.  But that’s not a sufficient excuse."

Aiming High: The Impossible Ambitions of Versal
By Sam Ruddick

"I have no experience with gorilla suits or child soldiering, myself, but I think it’s reasonable to suspect that standing around in a gorilla suit is better than being coerced into shooting people, or getting shot at."

Espresso Book Machine
By Marcelle Heath

"On Demand Books's digital photocopier, book trimmer and binder, and desktop computer that can produce a trade paperback book in five to ten minutes."

Poets Publishing Poets: A Review of Cave Wall 5
By George Held

"When a young prize-winning poet decides to publish her own poetry journal, readers get to see how her taste compares to her talent."

I Don't Know How to Write About Race
By Roxane Gay

"This is only about race."

Interview with Former Greensboro Review Poetry Editor Alison Seay
By Jordan Elliott

"I don't know that it's a matter of being comfortable in our skin as much as it is our belief in the importance of the tangible book."

On Nimrod International: An Interview & Notes
By Jeffrey Tucker

"For poetry, we dislike poems that are actually more like journal entries rather than poems. For fiction, we see a lot of stories that are really just “talking heads,” stories in which people stand around and talk and yet nothing happens."

Dismissing Africa
By Greg Weiss

"One of the many risks of Witness, 'the magazine of the Black Mountain Institute,' presenting an issue dedicated to the theme of Dismissing Africa is that the very notion of dismissing 'Africa' already dismisses the individuals who live in Africa."

Poets and Prose: Gerard Manley Hopkins and Fiction Theory
By Nicholas Ripatrazone

"Robert Olen Butler is careful in his definition...he is not arguing that yearning is individual to the short short story form. Rather, yearning is endemic to fiction."

Literary Magazines in Peril?
By Travis Kurowski

"At least part of the problem is the usual one: All of these magazine have no doubt a vastly greater number of people desiring to be published in their pages than they have readers willing to financially support their endeavors."

Interview: Erin Fitzgerald, Northville Review
By Marcelle Heath

"I like when someone's very quietly or very openly fooling with an emotional manipulation dial."
"While my stories aren't autobiographical, I really do believe in the whole write-what-you-know thing. One time I wrote a story from the point of view of an old sick man and it was just terrible. It was like really bad Carver. The man sat around watching daytime television and eating pie."

Sort-of Prose Poems
By Nicholas Ripatrazone

"James Harms offers a contemplative effort in a lean essay that turns the prose poem discussion in a noteworthy direction..."

Poetry 2.0
By Marcelle Heath

"Setting aside, for now, its ideological nomenclature, its appeal lies in the interpretative dynamic between text and image..."

Greetings from Knockout
By Brett Ortler

"We started KO because we wanted to try something that was different than we'd seen in other literary magazines, both in terms of thematic slant and in terms of mission..."
"He said that if he were asked to be poetry editor of a magazine, he would aim for unity. I told him that was more or less the exact opposite of what I wanted to do..."

Bon Voyage
By Marcelle Heath

"I imagine party-goers huddled around a fire pit as they share stories about stalking a would-be lover..."

In Brief: The Appeal of Brevity
By Nicholas Ripatrazone

"Contemporary flash fiction has been slugged, whipped, and slapped: dragged through the literary mud, pegged as incidental..."
"Kayla Soyer-Stein recreates the wonderful magic and sense of the uncanny that fairy tales offer..."
"Recently I won a best humorous poem competition, and it appears I have a knack for healthy self-ridicule..."
"I think about that a lot—about the balance of light and dark and about allowing my characters to have an open destiny. I think that’s one of the most important aspects of story writing..."
"It calls itself the 'farthest north literary journal for writing and the arts,' which sounded a bit suspicious to me, so I did a little poking around to verify the assertion..."
"The history of Poetry is a history of resistance in all directions..."
"The 1990s was a wild, wonderful, idealistic decade in Prague. Excellent exchange rates and the possibility of a relatively uninhibited way of life lured expatriates in droves to the Czech capital. In short, it was the perfect time for the founding of a literary journal..."
"One author climbs to the top of a tree trunk support beam that’s part of the architecture of the writing space. Another is balancing a couch cushion on his head and explaining wog: a dog who uses a dog-sized wheel chair to get his back end around San Francisco..."

Avian Arts: The LBJ
By Nicholas Ripatrazone

"While literary niches often result in suffocation, eighty pages of plaid, The LBJ’s aviary focus proves malleable enough..."
“'In consideration of what looks like a total collapse of our economic system,' he said, 'I thought the bookfair went very well...'"
"There are two wooden figures on my husband’s desk. Figurines. They are meant to resemble humans, black humans. African-Americans..."
Briar-Rose Redux: New Novella at Anderbo
February 5, 2009

By Marcelle Heath

Anderbo, one of Esquire blog's five best literary magazine websites, has published its first novella, "We Were There and Now We're Here" by Kayla Soyer-Stein. It begins with an epigraph from Gunter Kunert's postmodern "Sleeping Beauty." In Grimm's classic tale, the whole castle falls asleep along with the princess after she pricks her finger on a spindle and is cursed for a hundred years sleep; the servants, the farm animals, as well as the Queen and King. A hedge grows up around the castle, preventing anyone from entering it. When a hundred years pass, a prince arrives and the briar-rose parts, revealing the castle and its sleeping inhabitants in medias res. He kisses the princess and the curse is broken.

Kunert's tale is a prayer for those who died in the hedge, dreaming of Sleeping Beauty as she once was. Because a hundred years have passed, and of course Sleeping Beauty is no longer beautiful or young. She's old and wrinkled, and no longer desirable to the prince who finds her.

"We Were There and Now We're Here" reverses the role of prince and princess with the May-December romance between forty-one year old Camilla and her seventy-three year old former high-school teacher, Mr. Avery. This fine-tuned and delicate novella posits the hazards of happy endings and of story-telling, with its narrator, Susan Morris. She recounts her friendship with Camilla in the late-fifties Manhattan, where they both attended an all-girls school on the Upper East Side, and where Mr. Avery was their teacher. In the empire of girlhood, Camilla's infatuation with Mr. Avery is also a mandate, and their attempts to gain his favor a ruse to survey one another and perhaps deflect from lesbian desire. For Susan, her longing for Mr. Avery is decidedly chaste:

If anyone were to suggest to me, at this time, that my love was only an imitation of her love, that I had been brainwashed into it, I would have been outraged. I thought about Mr. Avery constantly… I would imagine running into him outside of school and having him be impressed with whatever I was doing—he wouldn’t say anything that would embarrass me, of course, but I would see it in his eyes. Later he might mention me to his wife: “I saw one of my favorite students at the Met today,” he might say. “Susan Morris. She was so enthralled by one of the Gauguin paintings that she didn’t even notice me at first. I had to say her name twice. Have you ever met a fifteen-year-old girl who cared so much about art?

In the realm of myth, there are usually three important tasks that a heroine or hero must complete, and in "We Were There" they are not tasks per se but incidents that change the course of their friendship: In the first, Camilla and Susan overhear a conversation about Mr. Avery's possible lecherous behavior toward the girls. In the second (chronologically the first), Mr. Avery asks Susan to submit a piece to their literary journal. And in the final and fateful third, Mr. Avery offers Susan a ride home one rainy day after school. Kayla Soyer-Stein recreates the wonderful magic and sense of the uncanny that fairy tales offer, even as she warns us not to believe everything we hear.

[Above picture is a German postal stamp, Deutsche Bundespost, of Sleeping Beauty meeting the old woman spinning.]


McSweeney's issue 33

Timothy McSweeney's Quarterly Concern issue 33, The San Francisco Panorama; Founding Editor: Dave Eggers; Published: San Francisco; Est: 1998.

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CLMP's Lit Mag Adoption Program for Creative Writing Students

Upcoming Creative Nonfiction redesign

Galley Cat says Rick Moody's Twitter story generates Twitter backlash

"Fictionaut and the Future of the Literary Journal" at Galleycat

More editors leave Granta after magazine "restructuring"

Trailer for Colson Whitehead's short story "The Comedian" from Electric Literature #2

McSweeney's offers preview of their upcoming newspaper issue, the SF Panorama

On the lit blog Bookish Us: “Why Don’t Aspiring Writers Read More Literary Magazines”



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