The good news is that The American Scholar has begun to publish fiction! I saw this announcement on the cover of the Summer 2006 issue during a recent bookstore visit and quickly grabbed the journal off the magazine shelf. The two inaugural stories are by Alice Munro (who will have a new collection, The View from Castle Rock, published this fall) and David Leavitt. This is great news.
What’s not so great, at least from my perspective, is this part of the issue’s Editor’s Note:
One practical reason for not running fiction [in the past] did eventually come to mind. How would our small staff handle the onslaught of creative-writing-program-generated manuscripts sure to follow the publication of our first short story? We struggle to keep up with the unsolicited nonfiction manuscripts. A doubling or tripling of submissions might result in editorial defenestration–either these manuscripts learn to fly or we do.
The SCHOLAR has always encouraged young talent [….] Still, we have reluctantly decided to discourage the submission of unsolicited fiction. Send those stories someplace else, please. We promise to find you when your talent has blossomed.
But another bright spot–I also found in that issue a wonderful essay by an old writing friend (we met at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival almost ten years ago). So if you do pick up this issue don’t just read the fiction–be sure to spend some time with Natalie Wexler’s “The Case for Love,” too.