Link Highlights for Writers and Readers
By Dewitt Henry, Literary Bookmarks Editor
- LITERARY HUB may be a little cliquish and bell-jarred around the Manhattan publishing scene, but I applaud the mission of culling “the best of the literary net,” and the RSS feed (“Lit Hub Daily”) to my email-box directs me each day to some first rate literary essays and essays about literature. Saturdays bring a weekly roundup, a best of the best. The editor in chief is Jonny Diamond and the Executive Editor, is John Freeman. Freeman, also editor of the biannual trade anthology Freeman’s, former editor of Granta, and Former President of The National Book Critics Circle, impresses me as a 24/7 tyro.
“Created by Grove Atlantic and Electric Literature,” boasts the site, and self-describes as “a site readers can rely on for smart, engaged, entertaining writer about all things books….Each day—alongside original content and exclusive excerpts–Literary Hub is proud to showcase an editorial feature from one of its many partners from across the literary spectrum: publishers big and small, journals, bookstores, and non-profits.”
2. ZOETROPE was founded by film-maker Francis Ford Coppola in 2000, “as a source of content and story ideas” for his print tabloid literary magazine, ZOETROPE: ALL STORY. As the site explains:
“an interactive crowd-sourcing, online writing workshop platform… the platform quickly gained traction among writers as a vibrant online community. A revolutionary use of the internet at the time, Zoetrope.com established itself as an early pioneer in social media. Writers that had been working in isolation now had an engaging community where they could share their stories, make contacts, and learn from one another. Directors, producers and other artists soon joined and the site transformed into a virtual studio. The website set the precedent for a new era of crowd-sourcing and writing workshops. Since then, 117,838 members have entered 742,188 reviews on 97,155 submissions.”
Membership is free. Writers are required to do on-line critiques of three stories posted by other writers before being allowed to post one of their own. In my own experience, I found the level of talent comparable to that in my graduate writing workshops. Serious participants soon became acquainted and established their own “rooms,” and in time this led to regulars founding such literary magazines of their own as McSweeneys and Night Train.
3. US ADULT TRADE EDITORS AND PUBLISHERS is the creation of a rejected, but tenacious fiction writer, Gerald Jones, now in its 11th edition, and lists the staff positions, snail and email addresses of most of the gatekeepers in trade publishing, along with links to his book, “Ginny Good.” For writers who are their own agents (such as most poets), this is an indispensable resource. He himself has sent out the following message to all 23,633 individuals listed: “Here’s a YouTube voice only video book you might like: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrcDrJYteCO6y7fkitnFnQw.
Pick a chapter, any chapter, they’re all good in different ways but ‘The Multimedia Video Book of Ginny Good’ in its entirety is best. It takes place mostly in San Francisco in the sixties but that’s not what matters. What matters is that nobody’s done anything like it. It’s the single most sublime work of literary art ever made…better than any book or movie or TV show….The only way you can get the multimedia version is to have me mail you a copy on a flash drive. Stick the flash drive into your computer or smart TV, lean back and watch. The flash drive includes the multimedia audio book, too. If you don’t want to watch you can listen. Everything I do is free. If you just want to read the book click this…You won’t do any of those things, of course. You’ll ignore it. You’ll think I’m whacked. You have more important things to do than read, watch or listen to the single most sublime work of literary art ever made. It’s no skin off my nose, either way. I did what I wanted to do. Thanks. G.”
4. THE PURITAN, “based in Toronto, and founded in late 2006…is committed to publishing the best in new fiction, poetry, interviews, essays, reviews, and more, from both Canada and abroad.” Attractively designed, lively and innovative, this online magazine features fiction, essays, author interviews, poetry and reviews. The editors pride themselves on “in-depth, expansive, and engaging discussions of Canadian and global literature.” Submissions are welcome; writers accepted in all categories are paid $100. They also run a contest, The Thomas Morton Memorial Prize, open for entrants in poetry and fiction (for a $15 fee) until October 10 and offering $1000 to each winner.
5. JUNCTURE NEWSLETTER is a promotional blog by award winning memoirist and YA author Beth Kephart, whose newsletter is worth signing up for if you are interested in writing memoir. You may want to take one of her regional workshops or to order her recent Handling the Truth: On the Writing of Memoir (Avery), winner of the 2013 Books for a Better Life Award–or not. But “Juncture Notes,” her monthly RSS feed to your email, is free and includes substantial discussions of essential memoirs, timely reflections, and writing prompts. From this month’s edition: “It’s never just about what we see. It’s about how we see what we see. Naming the objects in a remembered room isn’t going to matter much, for example. Reviving one’s experience with those objects, reflecting on and writing toward the interplay between the tactile and intangible—that’s the stuff of memoir.”
6. THE REVIEW REVIEW was founded by Becky Tuch in 2008 to help writers to “get a deeper sense of journals by reading reviews of the latest issues. This is not intended as a substitute for the actual journals, but merely a way for writers to guide writers toward the journals that most interest them.” Writers may apply to be a reviewer. Magazines, if not already listed in their database (WTP is not), may apply to be listed. Recent reviews include: Yellow Chair Review, Ink in Thirds, Driftwood Press, and Matador Review in an archive that lists 79 so far. There are also in-depth interviews with selected editors such as Aaron Burch of Hobart and Judy Wilson of Yellow Medicine Review; and a blog with writing tips on such topics as “Ranking Lit Mags, Ranking Writing” and “Sharing the Love: Editors Recommend Their Favorite Lit Mags.” I searched for reviews of Ploughshares and was delighted to find eight, including an excellent one by Becky Tuch in 2009, reviewing an issue guest edited by James Alan McPherson while I was Interim Editor-in-Chief. She discusses each story in detail and concludes: “Both McPherson and Ploughshares may serve as a guide for generations of writers trying to find the best ways to tell the stories that matter most to them.”
DeWitt Henry is founding editor of Ploughshares literary magazine; awarded the Commonwealth Award in 1992; has authored The Marriage of Anna Maye Potts (winner of the Peter Taylor Prize for the Novel) two memoirs, Safe Suicide: Narratives, Essays, and Meditations and Sweet Dreams: A Family History; a collection, Falling: Six Stories; edited five anthologies, including Sorrow’s Company: Writers on Loss and Grief; graduate of Amherst College, BA, and Harvard University, PhD; attended MFA program at University of Iowa; Professor Emeritus of Emerson College, MA. www.dewitthenry.com and http://dewittsend.ink.
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