Published in The New York Times: October 27, 2009
The founders of Electric Literature, a new quarterly literary magazine, seek nothing less than to revitalize the short story in the age of the short attention span. To do so, they allow readers to enjoy the magazine any way they like: on paper, Kindle, e-book, iPhone and, starting next month, as an audiobook. YouTube videos feature collaborations among their writers and visual artists and musicians. Starting next month, Rick Moody will tweet a story over three days.
Electric Literature’s Web Site
In its first two issues, this year, the magazine showcased some of the country’s best writers — Michael Cunningham, Colson Whitehead, Lydia Davis, Jim Shepard — and created the kind of buzz that is a marketer’s dream. With a debut issue in June and an autumn issue out last week, each consisting of five stories, the magazine has racked up complimentary reviews everywhere from The Washington Post to a blogger on Destructive Anachronism, who wrote, “High quality content + innovative marketing + multimedia could just equal the new model for literature, post-print.”
The brains behind Electric Literature are Andy Hunter, 38, and Scott Lindenbaum, 26, writers who met in 2006 at Brooklyn College’s M.F.A. program in fiction writing. From an office of roughly 300 square feet in an industrial building between the Dumbo and Fort Greene neighborhoods, they added an iPhone application in July, a month after their first issue.
“Everyone is reading short-form text,” said Mr. Hunter, the editor in chief. “Literature has not made that jump.”