It started when we were teaching fiction writing while we were MFA students at the University of Florida and found ourselves constantly surprised by what our students would bring in to workshop. Most of the students wouldn’t go on to have writing careers, or even continue writing after college, but for that one semester, they were writers, and they sent their stories off like bottle rockets. A quick burst, and then—
The world is full of discouragement for young writers. And even when an institution opts to celebrate them, the word young is stretched to its limits. When The New Yorker celebrates young writers it’s in their list of twenty writers under forty. We’re guessing most are pushing 40. Where’s the 20 under 30? The 20 under 20? Is there really nothing praiseworthy being written by people before they hit the age of 30?
Let’s not let lit be only the realm of the old or the rich. Let’s not heed society who says there’s no money in writing. There isn’t—but so what. Has anyone seen what money’s done to us? How the water is rising and the banks are crashing?
Let’s instead make a playlist of new writing by new writers and release it to the world. It’s true, of course, that young people have always made hit singles. We believe they can make stories too. And maybe we’ll press a couple to vinyl—A&B sides on a 45.