As our name makes clear, the New Books Network focuses on books. And as a host who looks at contemporary literature, I have the pleasure of interviewing authors with new books, ones often published by smaller presses without the huge PR machines of larger presses and ones that consequently are often overlooked by larger media outlets. For me, thats one of the rewards of hosting at the New Books Network: I have the chance to showcase important work that you might otherwise miss, work that adds to the richness and diversity of our national literary culture.
Now you might be thinking that I'm about to ask you for a donation. I'm not. Though if you want to contribute to the New Books Network and its public mission to widen the intellectual life of America, by all means please do so. We'd appreciate it. No, what I want to do is make the point that, while books from small literary presses are one place that our literary culture thrives, it's not the only one. Crucial to our national literature are the small journals and reviews that publish our writers. These venues--and there are hundreds of them in print and, increasingly, online--foster our younger writers and promote the work of our established one, especially work that is non-commercial or experimental. Literary journals and reviews offer readers diverse voices and diverse aesthetics. They're the forum through which our literary culture thrives and expands and reinvigorates itself. And they are usually run by editors who work for almost nothing, on almost-nothing budgets, editors who believe in literature as much as the authors they publish.
Today I talk to one of those editors. Tommy Mira y Lopez is the co-founder and co-editor of Territory, a new venue that has not only taken up the time-honored task of providing readers with new work from newer writers, but that's also creating something like a new micro-genre of literature, one that combines visual maps and literary text. If you've ever found yourself looking at an old map and thinking how intriguing it is or, when reading a story, if you've ever imagined yourself picturing its imaginary landscape, you'll be excited to explore Territory and the new terrains of literature its fostering.