Lit Mags Unite for NYC Extravaganza

By Jason Boog Comment

elliott.jpgAs BookExpo America consumes New York City this weekend, three literary journals–The Rumpus, McSweeney’s, and Smith Mag–teamed up for an epic literary event at Highline Ballroom on May 30th. The line-up includes: comedians Todd Barry and Eugene Mirman, Nada Surf musician Matthew Caws; authors Anthony Swofford, Jessica Anthony, James Hannaham, and Amy Tan.

To find out more about the event, GalleyCat caught up with Stephen Elliott, the founder of the online literary site, The Rumpus. “Sometimes, especially in recent times, I’ll be hanging out with a bunch of writers or publishing people, and they’re so sad. For writers that not unusual. As a group we’re generally dissatisfied and the failing bookstores and magazines is just one more peg to hang that coat on. That has nothing to do with the state of the economy or how many books we’ve sold. It’s just part of our makeup and it’s probably one of the things that drives many of us to write,” Elliott explained.

“We think we’ll publish a book and it will make us happy. We’ve always thought that and it’s never been true … From the beginning The Rumpus has been a boost for everyone that cares about good books. One of our mottos is ‘Three celebrations for every complaint … We wanted to have a really positive event, do something fun, cheer everybody up if they’re feeling down, and celebrate celebrating if they’re not.”

Elliott continued: “But the economy, the closing bookstores, the failing publishers who are trying to save themselves by publishing the most unbearably worthless crap imaginable (I’m talking to you, Harper Collins, though not you Harper Perennial, despite the parentage) has a lot of people questioning their choices. And people are insecure and confused about what’s going to happen in the time of Kindle, Twitter, and blogs.”

He concluded: “And perhaps more important than anything the events we do bring people together to have a good time, offline. Interacting with other people, in person, and building community, is the best antidote for a cloudy day.”