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A Celebration of Bighearted, Idiosyncratic Indie Journals

Erin McKean, editor of Verbatim
photo: Erin McKean

"I'm starting a magazine for idiosyncratic writing, poetry and fiction that is not easily categorizable in terms of camps of schools of thought and which therefore is unappealing to the current market place," wrote Rebecca Wolff, the editor of Fence, in 2000. That year, she organized Housing Work's first annual Literary Magazine Fair, attended by more than 70 other equally hopeful editors. The tide of independent journals with quirky manifestos and big goals has steadily gained momentum over the past few years. This weekend's fair will have well over 100 publications and a Saturday-afternoon "magathon" reading, from A Public Space, A Gathering of the Tribes, StoryQuarterly, Swing, Gulf Coast, and other journals. On Sunday, editors will showcase their webzines—on laptops scattered over a dozen tables—as well as publications devoted to food, humor, family dysfunctions, West Coast poetry, or getting rid of Bush. All publications are $2; proceeds go to homeless men, women, and children living with AIDS.


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