Thursday, March 25, 2010

Discovery Friday: New Letters

Today's guest is Ashley Kaine from New Letters magazine, yet another literary journal discount program member. Here she is:

At New Letters magazine, we have street “cred.” That’s what 76 years of pushing the finest literary goods gets you. Here at University House—our beautiful, century-old brick house on a high hill among Locust and Evergreen trees—you’ll find New Letters magazine, an international quarterly of writing and art, New Letters on the Air, our nationally syndicated on-air affiliate, and BkMk Press, a small award-winning press. We deal the finest essays, stories, art and poems. You can find them in our magazine, in BkMk Press collections, or discussed on public radio with award-winning host of New Letters on the Air Angela Elam. We work hard to find the best in literature and art, and once we find it; we look for more.

Under the guidance of the late editor, Alexander P. Cappon, the magazine published Thomas Hart Benton, Diego Rivera, Edgar Lee Masters, Pearl S. Buck, J.D. Salinger, e.e. cummings, among others. Over 70 years later, we still publish today’s strongest writers, some well established like Chinua Achebe, Kim Addonizio, Sherman Alexie, Conger Beasley Jr., Robert Day, Albert Goldbarth, Maxine Kumin, Mary Jo Salter, and Thomas E. Kennedy, who alongside New Letters’ editor Robert Stewart, won the 2008 National Magazine Award for the essay, "I Am Joe's Prostate," published in New Letters Vol. 73 No. 4. In addition to beating out magazines like The New Yorker for the National Magazine Award, we won the 2010 “Pushcart Triple Crown” for “Two Studies in Entropy” – a fiction work by Sara Pritchard; “How to Succeed in Po Biz” – an essay by Kim Addonizio; and “In Africa” – a fiction work by Edward Hoagland.

“For a single publication to be selected for three Pushcart Prizes in one year is nearly unheard of,” said Robert Stewart, editor of New Letters. “This shows that New Letters remains – in its 76th year – on the front line of national magazines that publish literature. I am especially gratified that recent honors for New Letters have come from diverse sources, ranging from the 2008 National Magazine Award, with its more commercial component, to The Pushcart Prize, with its emphasis on literary writers and editors.”

On the same pages as our established, award-winning contributors, you will find new writers with savagely provocative voices, like our 2009 literary award winner in poetry Heather Bell. Or D.L. Tucker in his striking essay “Double Vision.” Some of the fiction, essays, and poetry found in our issues go on to find the limelight.

The short story "Dirt Men," by Tim Johnston, first appeared in New Letters’ winter 2009 issue, and became the lead story in his collection Irish Girl (U of North Texas Press, 2009). That book won the Katherine Anne Porter Prize. The story "Dirt Men" now has been nominated for a Pushcart by board editors. Johnston reports that "Dirt Men" is the story he reads most at author events, and that David Sedaris selected Irish Girl as one of his favorite books of 2009 (The New Yorker, The Book Bench, Dec. 11, 2009) and has now chosen Irish Girl as the book he will be recommending on his 34-city, 2010 book tour. And it was found here first.

See? Here at New Letters, we don’t avert our eyes to surprising literature. We publish it. We promote it. We hold annual literary award contests to honor it. Then we keep looking for more. Come hang out with the gang online at, and request us as a friend. Or visit our Web site for information on our writers, issues, submissions, and annual literary awards (deadline mid-May), where we award $4,500 in cash prizes to winners in the categories of essay, poetry and fiction.

Subscriptions to New Letters are $36 for two years and $22 for one year. Call (816) 235-1168 or visit to join the New Letters family of subscribers.

No comments: