The Short Story Today

By Fogarty, Robert S. | The Antioch Review, Summer 2010 | Go to article overview

The Short Story Today


Fogarty, Robert S., The Antioch Review


Salman Rushdie in his introduction to the The Best American Short Stories 2008 wrote: "Shenandoah, Ecotone, Ploughshares, Missouri Review, Antioch Review, Southern Review don't reach my desk as often as, say, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper's Magazine, Granta, Zoetrope: All Story, McSweeney's, or The Paris Review, but it is clear that the health of the American short story depends on them as much as on their more glamorous brethren ."

2010 has been a rough year for both the big commercial magazines and the "littles," with shrinking revenues, layoffs, and martini-less lunches all around. Literary reviews took several severe hits from universities, which acted like General Motors and preemptively closed production lines in order to shift to the new technologies. TriQuarterly's editors were told--on short notice--that the magazine was going to be published online by students at Northwestern's School of Continuing Studies. That was its fate after forty-five years of distinguished publication.

The president of Middlebury sounded more like the director of personnel at Saab than a college president when he informed the editors at the New England Review that they had a year to produce a deficit-less budget or face closure. At Washington & Lee an editor announced that Shenandoah would celebrate sixty years of publication and then become an online magazine. This was not Schumpeterian ("creative destruction") rhetoric, but the cold reality that has closed the gap between the Middleburys and the University of Phoenix.

It is ironic, to say the least, that a new college in the making, the resurrected Antioch College, is today supporting the Antioch Review. We had a surprisingly good year and have made the transition from Antioch University back to Antioch College where the magazine was founded in 1941. We are making plans for a seventieth-year celebration in 2011-12 and were pleased by the news that for two years running we have been finalists for a "National Magazine Award" (last year for an essay and this year for fiction).

We have seen no slowdown in submissions and we think that the quality has held up despite the dearth of commercial outlets for the short story. …

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