FROM THE PUBLISHER’S DESK: CHANGES ARE GONNA COME
MADISON, NJ — Many exciting things are happening at the press and they are a true north departure from business as usual. When I conceived Atticus Books five years ago, I maintained that we would focus on debut novelists whose compelling narratives and memorable main characters channeled the spirit of Harper Lee and Atticus Finch.
Atticus has stayed true to that mission and published the full-length works of more than a dozen new and emerging writers. In addition, we have produced books by previously published authors such as Steven Gillis (The Law of Strings), Colin Winnette (Fondly), and Nathan Leslie (The Tall Tale of Tommy Twice).
In all Atticus now has thirteen novels in its catalogue, plus five story collections, one memoir, and one anthology, a collective history of the American literary magazine (Paper Dreams).
Since 2010 we have gradually earned a reputation as a quirky fiction house, a moniker that we wear with pride, but it doesn’t encompass the many poems, essays, book reviews, and mixed media presentations our editors have curated at Atticus Review, our weekly online journal.
In 2015 I embrace the idea of Atticus becoming a publisher that defies description. Not because we’ve lost sense of our place in the small press universe but rather because we now have the desire to set forth in a new path, one that we will carve out with intent and purpose.
This summer Atticus will embark on five major initiatives that reflect a fundamental shift from our publishing house’s original mission:
1) We will publish our first memoir.
2) We will carve out a portion of the Atticus Review website to create a digital sports lit magazine and call it More Than Sports Talk, using Flipboard as our platform.
3) We will cover the 2016 presidential campaigns, primaries, and election: Atticus On The Trail.
4) We will create a digital scrapbook of stories and artifacts from our American veterans: Tales from the VFW.
5) We will broaden our mission to become truly global.
When I look at these initiatives, I notice a common thread. The first four are far removed from the pages of make-believe. In fact, each area of coverage is entrenched in the headlines of reality. However, none is far removed from what Atticus set out to do from Day 1:
Support writers whose inventive work we want others to read.
Support writers whose inventive work we want others to read.
This will be our mantra.
Our first memoir, Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe (Aug. 4, 2015), is a young mother’s arduous journey to find her birth mother.
People often ask what attracts me to a specific title. What distinguishes one work from another? There’s no science to my selection method, but Belief engages me on a few levels. First and foremost, I’ve wanted to publish a book by Lori Jakiela since I first became acquainted with her writing. She has a voice that resonates in my soul and reminds me of other writers (e.g., Anne Lamott) whose powerful, humanistic narratives have stood the test of time.
I also dedicate the publication of Belief to my daughter, Gwynne, whom my wife and I adopted at age two from an orphanage in Romania in April 1999. Belief is a book that speaks to me as an adoptive parent. I’ve always accepted that Gwynne, now eighteen years of age, someday may want to trace the roots of her own life and heritage.
Finally, my hope is that Belief may offer a comforting companion to readers who struggle to cope with the universal challenges of self-identity. May you never feel alone.
Like Writing? Like Sports?
More Than Sports Talk is an Atticus Review offspring dedicated to raising the level of discourse about sports. Our purpose is to honor the rich tradition and cultural significance of sports by harnessing the power of creative sportswriting.
What We Plan to Do:
• Deliver narrative threads and storylines that reach far outside the foul lines and well beyond the playing field.
• Publish artfully told works by writers who exhibit a skill for off-center storytelling, colorful human interest features, and compelling nonfiction.
• Profile the present and past lives of people involved in sports including athletes and non-athletes at every level.
• Celebrate the history and diversity of sports.
More Than Sports Talk is an online community of writers, general interest readers, and sports fans who are interested in the role that sport plays in our lives, whether it is instrumental or minimal, inspiring or exploitative, unifying or divisive.
MTST embraces the ambition of reintroducing the fine art of sportswriting into the mainstream. Our goal is to produce literature that examines the many factors that compel us to compete and drive us to be such fiercely loyal fans or detractors. MTST aspires to entertain, amuse, and provoke. It is a tip of the hat and a left hook to the side of the wide wonder of sports and its intersection with commerce, culture, and humanity.
Submit your work here. Moreover, follow @MoreThanSportsT on Twitter to watch this monthly pub unfold.
What Would a Born-and-Bred Hoosier Gonzo Journalist Do?
I’ve always fantasized about what it might be like to be Hunter S. Thompson. I now to get to live vicariously through Atticus author Jared Yates Sexton (An End to All Things).
Shortly after the AWP Conference dust settled, Jared approached me with the idea of covering the ’16 presidential campaign and election, and I bit. I mean, I really bit hard. Jared is an amazing writer and Atticus Review is grateful to present his ongoing series of bullshit-detecting dispatches from the Capitol. Seriously, “Atticus On The Trail” is going to kick ample derriere these next several months. You really need to pay attention. Your entertainment quota–not to mention our children’s future–may just depend on it. To keep up with our campaign coverage on Twitter, follow @AtticusPolitics.
Tales from the VFW
The main goal of this next project is to travel the country and listen to our veterans, preserving the amazing stories they have to tell.
Tales from the VFW is a digital scrapbook of stories and artifacts from our American veterans, woven together by the team of award-winning novelist and U.S. Navy vet Tommy Zurhellen, photographer Chris Motta, and publisher Dan Cafaro. The project can be described as a “moveable feast” of memories, recorded from veterans all across the country.
We know we’re not the only folks committed to preserving the stories of our vets; we welcome everyone to join our Tales from the VFW project. Do you have a veteran in your life with a great story to tell? Are you a vet who would like to share your experiences? Contact Dan with your story. If it’s a vet’s tale, it’s worth telling, and who knows? Tommy and Chris may come to a VFW near you to hear it firsthand.
Be a part of a uniquely American story and support Tales from the VFW!
~ DC 4/21/15 (updated 6/30/15)