Letter • Wells Tower • October 1, 2013
Dear Fellow Reader,
There are, right now, flocks of manila envelopes flying through our airspace, containing poems and stories that could change your life. But the troubling thing, for all of us who believe in the power of good writing, is that if these envelopes do not bear return addresses from brand name literary agencies or well-known authors, there are, unfortunately, very few first-rate publications willing to give them a second glance.
My first stories made it into print not through the efforts of an agent or a publishing house, but because the slush pile readers at an independent literary magazine took the time to open the manila envelope I’d sent, unbidden, and to read the work according to its merit rather than the cachet of the writer’s name. Many of the writers whose work I cherish would have remained unknown if literary magazines like A Public Space had not fostered them at the start of the careers.
By editing and publishing not-yet-known literary talent alongside familiar names, the staff of A Public Space does us a great favor. They not only bring us exceptional essays, poems and stories: they discover and nourish literary artists whose work we’ll be reading decades from now. But the publishing climate is difficult, these days especially, and A Public Space depends on the generosity of people like us—people who care about the strength and beauty of the written word—to continue its important work. Please join me in supporting A Public Space.
Wells Tower has written for Harper’s Magazine, McSweeney’s, and The Oxford American. He is the recipient of the Paris Review Discovery Prize and a Pushcart Prize. A collection of his short fiction will be published in 2008 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
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