Archive for September, 2012

Contributor News

Several Monkeybicycle contributors have new books and projects going on right now. Please take a look at the links below and help support great writers!

Website and print issue six contibutor, Jay Wexler, has a new book called The Adventures of Ed Tuttle, Associate Justice, and Other Stories out now from QP Books. You can read more about and order it here.

Print issue five contributor Katie Schwartz has a new mockumentary out called The Penis Files. The synopsis:

Until “The Olson Penis” was created by Dr. Olson 10-years ago, historically men’s penises grew for procreation when a woman ovulated and retracted immediately. 200 years ago, men who were devoutly religious and monogamous experienced penile growth for procreation only. Conversely, women have always been born with vaginas and sexual freedom not governed by religion or politics. In February, a committee of women met to discuss “The Olson Penis” being covered by Obamacare.

Watch The Penis Files below.

The Penis Files from Katie Schwartz on Vimeo.

Website contributor Alison Barker has an interesting website up now called NOLA Studiola, where each month’s content is curated by a different artist. This month’s curator is one-sentence story contributor, John David Harding. You’ll want to check it out.

That’s it for now. If you’re a Monkeybicycle contributor and have a new project you’d like us to mention, drop us a line.

The Great Write Off and The State of the Book

Years ago I would take the train every weekend morning from Astoria, Queens, to Park Slope, Brooklyn, for days of fun and fulfillment. I made the almost two-hour commute because I was a volunteer at a place called 826NYC back in its early days and there wasn’t anything else I would’ve rather been doing with my weekends. In the mornings I worked in the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co., where I’d sell things like capes and secret identity kits to local kids and their parents. And in the afternoons I’d open up one of the store’s bookcases and pass through the secret entrance to the back room where I’d tutor students of varying ages in everything from writing to math. Sometimes I would also help to research grants and ways for the organization to find funding in its infancy. Finding funds was nearly as important as the work we were doing with the kids.

It’s probably a little easier for 826NYC to find funding here in New York—especially in the very popular borough of Brooklyn—than it might be for other 826 franchises, or literary nonprofits of all kinds, around the country. They have, after all, New York behind them. Those other places, save for LA, probably don’t have celebrities stopping by, or quite as many deep pockets to work with. But that doesn’t mean they’re not as important. Some of those places are doing just as much for the local children and for the literary community as a whole, and should probably be given a fighting chance. One of those places is the small press hotbed of Michigan.

Michigan has a lot going on: tons of great journals, small presses for days, wonderful bookstores, and what seems to be an overall love of all things lit. I should disclose that I’ve never been to Michigan for any length of time, but I do have relationships with many people and literary endeavors there, so I think I have a pretty good idea about what’s going on.

One of the big players in Michigan is Dzanc Books, a publishing house I’ve done design work for over the past six or seven years and which is Monkeybicycle’s parent company. But even if none of that were the case, I’d still be a big fan of Dzanc and what they do. Over the years they’ve held write-a-thons annually to raise money for their projects and keep things moving forward. This year, they’ve teamed up with several local literary nonprofits for a friendly competition in order to spread the wealth and hopefully draw a bit more attention to all the good-doing parties involved. It’s called The Great Write-Off. In addition to Dzanc, there are five other organizations participating: 826Michigan, Fiction Writers Review, InsideOut, National Writers Series, and The Neutral Zone. Each of these places has their own team and is looking for both writers and sponsors.

The Great Write Off will take place from October 3rd through the 5th. It’s all done online, so you don’t have to worry about being local. If you’d like to participate from Boston, you can. Just select a team and sign up. And if you know a writer who is involved, you can sponsor their efforts by donating. More on that here.

The Great Write Off will end with a day-long symposium on the 6th at Rackham Auditorium on the University of Michigan, called The State of the Book and presented by one of the participants, Fiction Writers Review. Some of the speakers include Dave Eggers, Charles Baxter, Philip Levine, and others. It does help if you’re local for this part of the event.

Nonprofits require a lot of support and a lot of hard work to keep going. Events like The Great Write Off are a perfect example of the passion and hard work that the folks who work with them have. So do your part to keep literature alive in Michigan and throughout the world by donating and/or participating on one of the teams. You might just be supporting the next great novel.

Full details for The Great Write Off and The State of the Book are available here.