We All Live in a Lit Mag Submarine!
Updates on Believergate, job opportunities, lit mag reviews, magazine markets and more
Greetings Lit Magstronomers,
New developments have unfolded regarding the resignation this month of Believer Editor, Joshua Wolf Shenk. After the L.A. Times reported on the bathtub incident that led to the editor’s resignation, a group of anonymous current and former employees under Shenk penned an Open Letter Regarding Joshua Shenk, LA Times, and UNLV. They state:
The details of this staff meeting as described by Shenk’s advisor to the LA Times don’t align with the experiences of the staff members who were present or with accounts that Shenk provided to staff members immediately after the incident. Regardless of the details, however, we do not view Shenk’s act of exposure as an isolated incident or rare lapse in judgement. We view it as an act of sexual harassment. We see this act as the culmination of a years-long pattern of inappropriate and disrespectful behavior that belies a chronic lack of care and concern for the comfort, boundaries, and safety of the staff — not to mention that of students, fellows, and others in BMI and The Believer’s communities. This pattern of behavior resulted in a workplace culture that was difficult and at times painful to operate within. We worked, in spite of this, to create the successful programs and publications BMI and The Believer are known for — work for which Shenk is credited throughout the LA Times article...
Shenk’s tenure at BMI and The Believer was also marked by breathtaking pay inequity and tokenism. He has a record of hiring young women and people of color, but paying them little — fractions of his own salary. At The Believer, he primarily employed editors on independent contracts and for years denied some of them living wages, raises, benefits, or any path to advancement, all while extolling their contributions to the award-winning magazine. Discontent was widespread at both organizations.
Brittany Bronson, “a UNLV MFA graduate and former part-time instructor in the English department where BMI resides,” writes that the university “issue[d] a silencing order [about their experiences] via the Dean’s Office of the College of Liberal Arts. According to one employee, staff was directed not to speak to the press or make any public statements.”
After the L.A Times story broke, there were national writers and thought leaders who publicly critiqued the employees who chose to file a Title IX complaint in response to the innocent bathtub flashing. One even joked that they must be ‘damaged souls.’ But to those of us in the ‘whisper network,’ we understood immediately. Actions never exist in a vacuum. Had Shenk earned the respect and admiration of his staff, they may have been more empathetic to his Zoom fumble.
In other news, several lit mags have advertised new work and volunteer opportunities. Electric Literature is seeking an Editor-in-Chief. “The EIC reports directly to the executive director, and will work with the ED to ensure that every piece published on electricliterature.com contributes to Electric Literature’s mission to make literature more relevant, exciting, and inclusive…This is a full-time remote position with a salary of $57,000 depending on experience.”
Vallum Publishing is seeking an Education and Outreach Coordinator. “VSEAL’s outreach program seeks to promote literacy and literary awareness through Poetry for our Future!, which provides literacy programs to underserved communities including women's shelters, shelters for the homeless, senior centers, children's camps (for low-income children), Native shelters, schools in low-income communities, as well as other community organizations…VSEAL is offering one youth the contract position of Education and Outreach Coordinator for 35 hours per week up to 280 hours total (8 weeks) at the rate of $15/hr. This position will be remote until the government deems it safe to return to the office.”
And Story Magazine is in want of readers:
If you’d like to learn more about a lot of little mags, NewPages has posted a handful of reviews this month. Write-ups feature Greensboro Review, Kenyon Review, Carve Magazine, The Briar Cliff Review, and more.
And if you’re looking for places to submit this month, then here are 325 Paying Markets for Short Stories, Poetry, Nonfiction. Yowza!
Icymi, here is my recent list of resources that will tell you about lit mags with fast response times.
And save the date, pals! On Thursday, May 27th at 12pm est I will be online and ready to answer all your lit-mag submitting questions. It’s going to be fun! Learn more here.
And that you never-not noticers of all things nefarious and news-worthy, you thinkers of thuggish thoughts all through the night as your third eye thumps like a thunder-struck throwback to all the Thursdays of your life, you whose mind-wheels never cease spinning, you whose question marks are flashlights in the darkness, you mystics, you makers of magic somethings from all the unknowable nothings, you whose life work is a commitment to out-loud wondering, and you whose waking dreams are ghost-haunted cloud-wanders full of comma-chasing, you and you, with your undying love for hyphens and oh, how they shall unite and save us all!, you unapologetic aficionados of the proper use of apostrophes, extraordinary in your extreme devotion to the Oxford comma, restless amidst the ever-revolving research of all the normal use of whatevers, is the news in literary magazines.
Have a word-hungry week, pals.