Friday, June 29, 2012

TCR Story of the Month for June:" To Ipswich" by Edward McWhinney

Edward McWhinney
The Committee Room is pleased to offer "To Ipswich" by Edward McWhinney as TCR Story of the Month for June.

A brief tale of a conference attendee seeking escape from a stuffy meeting, "To Ipswich" is a beautifully rendered account of an individual's search for a life of deeper meaning.  

Edward McWhinney lives in Cork, Ireland with his wife and son. His stories have appeared in many publications 
including CyphersBarcelona InkWord Riot, Fiction on the Web, and Juked.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Brief Discussion with Jay Parini on Thirteen Books That Changed America:

The Committee Room continues its exploration into the books that have been most influential in the shaping of American culture with a discussion of Promised Land: Thirteen Books That Changed America (Doubleday, 2008) by Jay Parini. Reading Promised Land is like taking a speedy cruise through American literature with a genial and well-informed guide. 

In his introduction Parini writes -- "this was never meant to be a list of the 'greatest' American books: not The Scarlet Letter, The Great Gatsby, or The Education of Henry Adams.  Although I love poetry, I knew that not even Walt Whitman and Robert Frost, let alone Wallace Stevens or Elizabeth Bishop, had noticeably 'changed' America in any significant way (except among that tiny group who actually read poetry)...I wanted books that shifted consciousness in some public fashion, however subtly, or opened fresh possibilities for the ways Americans lived their lives."  

Jay Parini is a poet, novelist, essayist, and scholar whose work includes major biographies of Robert Frost, John Steinbeck, and William Faulkner and the volumes of poetry The Art of Subtraction, Town Life, and Anthracite Country. One of his novels, The Last Station, about the final year in the life of Tolstoy, was made into an Academy Award nominated film.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

TCR Literary Journal Series: Beloit Fiction Journal

The Committee Room is happy to continue its Literary Journal Series with a look at the Beloit Fiction Journal.  Founded in 1985 by novelist and journalist Clint McCown, who was then a young professor of English at Beloit College in Wisconsin, and a group of enthusiastic Beloit College students, the BFJ has since its inception provided a showcase for both established and unknown writers. Fred Burwell, writer and blogger, was a member of the original student staff.  He sums up one of the BFJ's guiding principles when he recalls those early days -- "We discovered that manuscript cover letters with laundry lists of past publications meant nothing – it would be too easy to stock a magazine with names familiar to the literary magazine establishment. Only the quality of the story mattered."

Chris Fink took over as editor of the Beloit Fiction Journal when McCown stepped down in 2005.  A widely published writer of fiction and non-fiction, Fink's stories and essays have appeared in many publications including the Alaska Quarterly Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Malahat Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Other Voices, and Phoebe. His book of fiction, Farmer's Almanac, is forthcoming from Emergency Press in 2012.  He formerly edited the Cream City Review.

Fink graciously sat down for an interview with TCR.