Imprints of the City

NYC Literary Mags Endure—And Prevail

Tin House (circulation: 10,000) also plans to start publishing books "within the next year," says Spillman, either independently or as an imprint of an established publisher. For now, Spillman and coeditor Elissa Schappell have their hands full promoting the latest edition, a theme issue devoted to film adaptations of literature. Spillman says Hollywood was a subject worth covering because of increasing opportunities "for literary writers to work with smart people and have decent movies come out." But the choice of content also gave the Tin-meisters an excuse to throw a star-studded party at the Chateau Marmont on February 8. (Publisher Win McCormack paid the bill; Spillman says,"We'll be eating lint for the rest of the year.")

Watching all this very carefully is Karl Wenclas, the publisher of Philadelphia's Zine Beat, who held a press conference at CBGB last week to denounce overpaid New York writers like Rick Moody for pushing out the little guys. His rhetoric didn't go over well with the audience—George Plimpton repeatedly declared Wenclas's assertions to be "Nonsense!" and informed him that The Paris Review will publish five pieces from the slush pile in the next issue.

Wenclas says he's just trying to promote working-class writers like Ann Sterzinger, a pale, pretty brunette who took the stage and addressed Plimpton in husky French. But that may not have been the best approach. The next day, The Paris Review's Thomas Moffett said he didn't understand why Wenclas and company were directing so much anger at The Paris Review (circulation: 10,000). He recalled that the first issue, back in 1953, included a letter from advisory editor William Styron in which he said the magazine should publish "the good writers and good poets, the non-drumbeaters and non-axegrinders. So long as they're good."

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