The Future of the Gatekeepers

The Little Magazine in Contemporary America

I’m a proud contributor to an anthology releasing this week from the University of Chicago Press, The Little Magazine in Contemporary America, edited by Ian Morris and Joanne Diaz.

The collection features 23 prominent editors whose magazines have flourished over the past 35 years. You’ll find insights into how their publications sometimes succeeded, sometimes reluctantly folded, but mostly how they evolved and persevered. Other topics discussed include the role of little magazines in promoting the work and concerns of minority and women writers, the place of universities in supporting and shaping little magazines, and the online and offline future of these publications.

My essay, perhaps unsurprisingly, speculates on what’s ahead for little magazine publishing. It’s titled “The Future of the Gatekeepers.” (Read advance reviews of the entire book here.) Other contributors include:

  • Andrei Codrescu, Exquisite Corpse
  • Dave Eggers, McSweeney’s
  • Keith Gessen, n+1
  • Lee Gutkind, Creative Nonfiction
  • Amy Hoffman, Women’s Review of Books
  • Don Share, Poetry
  • Betsy Sussler, BOMB
  • and other excellent authors and editors

I’ll be discussing this topic at a panel this week at the annual AWP Conference in Minneapolis, on Friday, April 10, at 10:30 a.m. Official description:

The Little Magazine in America: Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? (Jeffrey Lependorf, Don Share, Ian Morris, Jane Friedman). A diversity of literary magazine experts discuss and debate the sometimes secret history and roles of “the little magazine” in America. Where do literary magazines seem to be headed now? What other routes might they take?

You can catch me on another panel related to literary journals on Saturday, April 11, at 3:30 p.m.:

Literary Publishing in the 21st Century (Travis Kurowski, Daniel Slager, Jane Friedman, Emily Smith,  Gerald Howard). In 1980, Bill Henderson assembled The Art of Literary Publishing, an anthology that defined the challenges publishers would face for the next thirty years. In recognition of the seismic change in the industry over the past decade, Literary Publishing in the 21st Century brings together a diverse group of publishing professionals to explore challenges the next thirty years may hold. This panel assembles four contributors to the anthology to explain how publishing will thrive in the 21st century.

If you’re also headed to AWP this year, I’ve curated a list of sessions focused on the business side of writing and publishing.

Posted in Conferences & Events and tagged , , , , , .
Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the co-founder and editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors.

In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. She also has a book forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press, The Business of Being a Writer (March 2018).

Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.

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