Issue #3

Editor's Letter #3


Most of us began our experience of literature with “Once upon a time,” so I am delighted to launch our third issue with Kate Bernheimer’s forum on fairytales: How they work on our psyches, our writing, our dreams, and why they deserve our respect. Kate and four other four particularly innovative writers: Kevin Brockmeier, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, Timothy Schaffert, and Maria Tatar offer fresh insights into those narratives that are too far good to be reserved for children only.

Fairy tales delve into our understanding of mortality, as do many of our contributors this issue. Perhaps that’s not surprising, given that one of the most fundamental impulses of literature is to reckon with loss, beginning with that most inexorable of losses, the passage of time.

Francisco Goldman met with us to talk about his deeply moving book, Say Her Name, in which he blends genres—novel and reportage, in an effort to recapture his life with his late wife, to merge not only genres but identities. Ann Hood, in an original short story, inhabits a different grief; David Abrams immerses us in war; and Merrill Joan Gerber bravely flips death the bird.

Matthew Salesses and Elizabeth Mikesch are two arresting new voices I’m happy to bring to your attention. 

And you won’t want to miss Rick Moody’s appreciation of Beckett, and noted critic Sandra M. Gilbert’s list of underrated women writers—she has certainly added to my reading list, and I to hope yours.


And now, dig in.


Dawn Raffel

PS—Got fiction? Send it to us at This fall, we will publish our first theme issue—so if your tale includes a dog, please note that in your subject line!





Photo by Bill Hayward


Dawn Raffel's newest book is a story collection, Further Adventures in the Restless Universe. She is also the author of a novel, Carrying the Body, and a previous collection, In the Year of Long Division. She was a fiction editor for many years, followed by a seven-year stint as Executive Articles Editor at O, The Oprah Magazine and three years as Editor-at-Large at More magazine; she has also taught in the MFA program at Columbia University and at SLS St. Petersburg, Russia. She is now Editor at Large, Books at Reader's Digest. She'll be teaching this June at SLS Montreal.