Each October, I have the privilege of collaborating with the Boston
Book Festival team on the One City One Story program. I read submissions and help choose the story that will engage the entire city with themes, characters and plot. Then the author and I take the stage during the festival for a town hall-style group conversation.
Discussing a story with its creator and the general reading public (rather than a book group or students) is a powerful experience. I’ve watched each year as authors – Richard Russo, Tom Perrotta, Jennifer Haigh, Rishi Reddi and Jennifer De Leon – marvel as a passionate audience dissects their work, forms theories and asks thoughtful questions about the story and the writing life.
That’s why I am always delighted when The Writer hosts a short story contest such as Two Roads Diverge, the outcome of which is represented in the March 2016 issue. We asked Colum McCann, short story practitioner and best-selling novelist, to read the top 10 entries and choose four winners. You can read his choice for first place here, second place here, third place here and an honorable mention here.
Key for me, however, is publishing new works of fiction for a wide reading audience. We don’t often get to do that, and I hope you appreciate the deep dive we take into the genre – craft interviews with McCann, Caroline Bock (first-place winner) and cross-genre author Megan Mayhew Bergman. Our commitment to supporting original work grows out of my Boston Book Festival experience, where I see in real time the hunger readers have both to read stories and to understand their provenance.
In addition to the short story theme of this issue, you’ll find many pieces on marketing your work, whether you’re putting together a promotional strategy or looking for a literary agent.
If you’re on the path to publishing – a short story, perhaps – we wish you success, and we hope you consider our magazine a supporting partner.