Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Missouri Review Gets Off On It...?

An LROD reader sent this funny note to me (using my real first name). Look at me, living in the light!:
You might want to blog about this. The Missouri Review Editor's Prize just ended, and they managed to say the last line (quoted below) with a straight face...Strange, considering we had that intern in the comments section a little while ago saying that Speer particularly looks for first-time authors. (I've quoted that comment after the Missouri Review comment below). Cheers and love the blog!   
From the Missouri Review: 
"We received over 2500 manuscripts this year, and the overall quality was extraordinarily good, making our decision a difficult one. This is of course a good thing: selecting winners of a contest should never be easy, and it certainly wasn’t for us. We’re very thankful to all the writers who entered this year. TMR is only as good as the work we publish, and we are grateful that so many writers sent us their very best work. We were particularly thrilled to find out, after we accepted her work, that “Unintended” will be Yuko Sakata’s first published story!" 
From an intern about this matter: 
"I've interned at the Missouri Review and I can say this: 3) as much as you probably won't believe this, TMR is sort of embarrassingly proud when they get a writer's first publication. so they aren't only trying to publish writers who know them. they are actively hunting out new writers because they get off on it."

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't understand what is "bleh" about this? The intern said that the TMR is "embarrassingly proud" to discover new writers and be the first to publish a writer. And they said they were "thrilled" to learn that their big-time contest winner is unpublished. Based on those two things, it sounds like they really DO like finding new talent and publishing people for the first time. They were so excited about the contest winner because out of thousands of entries, they picked someone who happened to be unpublished (I am assuming the contest was judged blindly).

Unless I'm missing something, I don't see why it's weird they'd say the last line "with a straight face." Sounds like the person who submitted this is just bitter about not winning and also perhaps not being one of the emerging writers a journal like TMR discovers. (If that's the case: join the club!)

Anonymous said...

The annoying thing is that they pretend that they only found out about this being Yuko's first published story AFTER they accepted it. I don't buy that for one second. Let's all be happy for Yuko, whom I'm sure wrote a great story, and sad about Missouri Review's dishonesty and false advertising. I don't get off on lies, myself.

Anonymous said...

YUKO SAKATA (Production Editor) is an MFA candidate at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. A recipient of the August Dereleth Prize and a fellowship from the MacDowell Colony, she writes fiction and is also a dancer and translator.

Surprise! -- another MFAer.

Boris said...

So, anonymous thinks TMR is lying because (s)he "doesn't buy it." Nice, healthy attitude there.

Just to review the opinions of the paranoid stylists: Lit mags are totally stacked against unpublished writers, preferring to publish creative writing professors. Except when they are Googling the names of contest entrants to ensure they haven't published before.

Oh, and something something something MAFers!! Grrr!

Anonymous said...

I'd feel better about things (and less suspicious) if the person who won was a 38-year-old science teacher from Dayton, Ohio who had never taken a writing class.

Anonymous said...

All we're going for here is honesty. To say they only found out that the winner was unpublished after accepting the story is nonsense. They read cover letters for the contest--they know where the work is coming from. The cards are stacked against mid-level writers, and for writers who are either unpublished or extremely well published. That's fine. I think MR is a good journal, and I think it is good they are searching for unpublished writers. But to claim ('surprise!') they only discovered this after finding out about the story is to, quite frankly, lie about the process on their end.

Boris said...

I'm fairly certain TMR judges their contest anonymously. And who sends cover letters with contest entries? Sometimes contests ask for a cover sheet with basic information, and that's all I've ever sent. It's entirely plausible that TMR didn't know the story's author when they chose the winner. I have zero reason to doubt them.

Anonymous said...

Boris,

You obviously didn't enter the contest (which asked for a cover letter and the writer's name on the story submitted).

Moi, je doute...

Boris said...

Looks like you're half right:

http://www.missourireview.com/tmrsubmissions/editors-prize-contest/

So, entry form, but name on first page of story.

Still no evidence that TMR is lying, and I'm not really sure what this "lie" does for them.

Anonymous said...

The problem, for me at least, is that they are acting as if work speaks for itself--independent of who the writer is or what his or her background is. Contests which are truly anonymous are like that. Here, they are seeking out new writers. That's great. But then they shouldn't pretend as if the identify of the author is irrelevant. There is no way they found out this writer had never been unpublished AFTER deciding to offer the award. The playing field is not level, as it would be in a truly anonymous contest, and I resent MQR acting as if it is, and
assuming we are stupid enough to fall for this claim. Nudge nudge, wink wink.

Anonymous said...

I wish someone completely out of the loop had won. Why has literary fiction become the exclusive domain of the MFA set? Are they the only ones who can write well?
I'd purchase a magazine that excluded writers who had ever been part of an MFA program. Just to see what's out there.

Anonymous said...

Not to say that there aren't good writers with MFAs, but I agree with the last anonymous poster. I'm a little sick of MFA candidates and would like to read the work of a writer who draws on life experience that does not include MFA creative writing classes. Maybe, I don't know, having a job and living in the real world?