Monday, January 14, 2008

Letter from MMM Hayes

At some point last year, the renowned literary magazine StoryQuarterly changed hands. However, concerned writers never received words from its new publisher about what happened. As recent as last week, some of my writer friends still thought SQ was under the editorship of its long-time publisher MMM Hayes. Yesterday, MMM Hayes sent a memo to the list of authors she has published, including me (my story, "Goldbach's Conjecture," appeared in SQ 40). With her permission, I'm posting MMM's memo below, and hope it clarifies a few things. Comments and questions are welcome and appreciated. - Xujun


Wishing you all a wonderful and productive new 2008! 2007 welcomed a big transition for StoryQuarterly as it expanded to online publishing within the Narrative Magazine group and I want to take this opportunity to tell you all how much I’ve enjoyed working with and getting to know you.

After eleven years of editing and publishing, I felt ready to move on to some other projects, but wanted StoryQuarterly to continue to grow and thrive. In 2007 I left editing with one of SQ’s stories anthologized in the O. Henry Prize Stories and another in Best American Essays, always a lot of work, but so worth it, and I wanted a healthy future for SQ. I found the perfect vision, and ability to execute, in Tom Jenks, a long-time friend at Narrative Magazine. The change occurred last May; after I’d turned over the stories I’d chosen from last year’s reading period to the Narrative people to negotiate their own contracts. I was delighted to see StoryQuarterly become a paying market, plus seeing Narrative’s huge online circulation give a giant boost to StoryQuarterly’s already large literary readership. Narrative published SQ’s annual print edition in a beautiful new format—take a peek at The book, titled 13 Lies and 3 Truths is available through print-on-demand, or at All of this means more visibility for my authors, which I find deeply gratifying.

Since May, I’ve personally hunkered down to finish up two novels of my own, and had time to take an inspiring course on Milosz, given by Adam Zagajewski, newly visiting professor at the U of Chicago. But much as I’m enjoying my return to the real world, and sending my own writings up to bat, I must admit that I already miss the personal contact I’ve had with you all over these busy years and I’ll always be grateful for the lifelong friendships I’ve made while mud-wrestling over word choices in your stories. So on to the next, but I’ll always be part of the industry, in a number of ways. Once a book addict, always a book addict, right?

I hope you’ll continue to update me on your own lives with email news, pictures, and copies of new books. Email me, or send stuff to the same old address: 431 Sheridan Road, Kenilworth, IL 60043. I’ll also be at the AWP in New York, staying at the Hilton Hotel from Wednesday, January 30 through Saturday, Feb 1. Catch me there. I’d love a visit. I’ll look for you in the New SQ format and anticipate the surprises that lie in store for us as we meld our style into Narrative’s. I do believe that the bright future of literary publishing will be online, already is, and that StoryQuarterly’s accepting Narrative’s stewardship seized a good opportunity for this historic publication to continue to go forward and grow under Tom Jenk’s strong leadership. Already my choice has been hugely rewarded as I’ve seen two new online SQ publications and the beautiful 13 Lies and 3 truths, the annual SQ imprint.

I hope you share my enthusiasm for the changes in the industry. I got a new Sony ereader for Christmas and the new Kindle will have audio too. I’m sure technology will convert even more readers from the online generation, a phenomenon in the making, in my view. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

MMM Hayes

No comments: