If you’re friends with fiction writers, you’ve probably heard a lot of griping lately. The market for fiction—especially short fiction—is shrinking. Memoirs are hot, even if their writers haven’t done anything particularly memorable. That’s why now you see bookstores lined with faked biographies and “memoirs” written by people who are still in their twenties.
Westchester is fighting back, thanks to publisher JoAnn Duncan Terdiman and her Westchester Review. Terdiman believes that people love reading short stories and poetry as much as writers like writing them—and that a lot of those writers can be found here in the county. “There is so much talent here,” she says. “And there is less of an outlet for it. A lot of magazines that accepted fiction have folded. I thought, ‘We should start our own literary review. Who needs Redbook?'”
So start one she did, and last March the first issue of The Westchester Review arrived at newsstands to an overwhelming response. “We had between two hundred and fifty and three hundred submissions,” she says. “Everyone who stocked it sold out of it, and ordered a few more and sold out of those, too. When we had our launch party, three hundred people came.”
This week, the second annual issue of the Westchester Review hits shelves. You can find it at any of the local indie bookstores in the area, as well as places like CafÃ© Mozart in Mamaroneck and Futterman’s Stationery in Larchmont. Soon, you’ll be able to get it from Amazon, too—keep checking the website for a direct link.
At only ten bucks, you get a lot of train trips worth of meaty stories. Like last time, the Review features around 200 pages of locally produced fiction and poetry, from a few dozen established writers as well as those moonlighting as scribes. “Lots of people who submitted have very successful other lives, but still always had fiction writing in the back of their minds,” says Terdiman. “And we have a lot of closet poets in our area.” For those who can wait and want a preview of the issue, writers from the Review (along Manhattanville’s Inkwell) will give a reading at the Hudson Valley Writers Center on May 4.
Terdiman reports that she’s already receiving submissions for the review’s 2009 edition. Think you have what it takes? Get your work to the Review by July 1.