Chattahoochee Review Celebrates New Beginnings

09/09/2011
Contact: Rebeca Rakoczy
Phone: 678-891-2691
Fax: 678-891-2966
Author: Rebecca Rakoczy

For Immediate Release

Call them Georgia Perimeter College’s midwives of literature.

Anna Schachner and Dr. Lydia Ship certainly felt like they were delivering a new literary magazine, as they helped shape the new double issue of The Chattahoochee Review. New editor Schachner, who is also an associate English professor at GPC, and Ship, who was hired as managing editor, worked with GPC contributing editors Michael Diebert (poetry), Louise McKinney (non-fiction) and Andy Rogers (fiction) for more than six months, culling through writers’ submissions and recreating the magazine’s “brand” and logo to produce the publication.

With a stunning cover by artist Pam Longobardi, the magazine was “born” and officially launched at the AJC Decatur Book Festival on September 3.

On Thursday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m., there will be a special panel reading of articles, and discussion and celebration of the new issue of The Chattahoochee Review in the JCLRC Auditorium on Clarkston Campus. A reception will follow in the atrium. The event is open to GPC faculty, staff and students.

With a 30-year legacy at Georgia Perimeter College, The Chattahoochee Review is one of the few literary journals in the nation that has been continually published by a community college. The reputation of the publication is such that many other literary anthologies often use its works in their volumes. “Lamar York founded the magazine in 1981 as a student-run publication that tried also to attract major published writers,” notes Lawrence Hetrick, GPC English professor and a former editor of The Chattahoochee Review. “It succeeded and grew. Until in 1997 when I took over the editorship, it was almost exclusively national writers though we did publish GPC students at times. Anna is the fourth editor. The magazine brings great distinction to GPC. In terms of it we are on a par with UGA, the University of the South, and Kenyon College, which also publish fine literary reviews. At present, students are very involved with The Chattahoochee Review as staff members.”

Drawing a new audience for the journal can be a challenge, Schachner says. “In some ways, literary journals are preaching to the choir. We needed to ask, ‘what does it mean to be a literary journal today and who are our readers?’ We are not something that can be turned into mass quantities, nor something made for the TV screen.”

Yet there is still a market for such journals. “Literary journals are important tools for keeping forms like the short story and poem alive and thriving, and they become ‘communities’ where writers can expand their techniques or themes, taking advantage of the kinship with readers while knowing that the standards will remain high,” she says. “They can be the stepping stones to the more aggressive and competitive book publishing industry. In turn, subscribers get to participate in the formation of the careers of the writers they read.”

Over the past three decades, The Chattahoochee Review has published original works by major and emerging writers, including Pat Conroy, Terry Kay, Jill McCorkle, Clyde Edgerton, Ann Rivers Siddons, James Dickey, Reynolds Price, and Lee Smith.

Poets find that literary journals are important for their work also. “There is so much more competition for our attention in the form of social media and more opportunity for us to sequester ourselves,” notes Michael Diebert, poetry editor for The Chattahoochee Review and an associate professor of English at the college. “But poetry is more vital than it’s ever been. Journals are especially important for poets, maybe more so than other genres. It helps to establish credibility.”

Although Schachner and Ship say they received hundreds of submissions for this issue, they sought writers with a global outlook or those who had a unique vision of the human experience. The Chattahoochee Review draws from established and emerging writers and poets, including the college’s faculty. It does hire student interns who are able to read submissions, giving them a unique opportunity to work at the heart of a literary journal, Ship says.

“We were looking for those writers who seemed compelled to write of some sort of vision; writers who (seemed to be) born to say something of their particular experience,” says Ship. The result include articles by well known authors Aimee Bender (whose short stories have been published by international literary journals, Granta, Harper’s, McSweeney’s and The Paris Review); poetry by Fred Chappell and Pulitzer-prize winner Natasha Trethewey to an interview with Wells Tower, author of “Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned.”

“We are committed to exploring literature in translation and to writers who transgress borders, cultural and otherwise,” says Schachner.

Both Schachner and Ship have honed their own chops publishing in other literary magazines before taking on The Chattahoochee Review. Schachner earned a Master of Fine Arts in fiction in from Bowling Green State University, where she worked at Mid-American Review, and she received her Master of Arts in English Literature from Georgia State University. She has published more than 25 short stories in such magazines as Puerto del Sol, Ontario Review, and Kalliope. Her fiction has won several national contests including the Southern Women Writers Emerging Writer Award. Her novel “A Country Apart,” a literary murder mystery set in Mexico, is under representation; she is at work on a new novel set in England.

Ship received her doctorate in Creative Writing, Fiction, from Georgia State University, where she worked at Five Points: A Journal of Literature and Art. Her fiction has appeared in American Short Fiction, Hobart, Apple Valley Review, White Whale Review, Sonora Review, Night Train, among others; as well as forthcoming in the Stamp Stories Anthology from Mud Luscious Press.

The Chattahoochee Review is part of The Southern Academy for Literary Arts & Scholarly Research at GPC. The next issue will highlight Southern literature. The editors are taking submissions now. For more information, go to www.thechattahoocheereview.org

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Georgia Perimeter College, the third largest institution of the University System of Georgia, serves more than 26,000 students through four campuses and several sites in metro Atlanta. For additional information, visit www.gpc.edu