The literary world will lose one of its prized citizens in June when Tin House, one of America’s premier literary journals, stops the presses after two decades serving readers and writers.
Editors Win McCormack and Rob Spillman sent an e-mail to subscribers in mid-December, announcing the decision.
“Twenty years feels like the right time to be stepping away and moving on to new adventures,” said Spillman. “I look forward to focusing on other opportunities at the intersection of art and activism.”
McCormack, the publisher and editor-in-chief, said it’s just too expensive to continue producing the magazine. Instead, they’ll shift resources to their small press, Tin House Books, and their annual Tin House Writers’ Workshop, which has been held at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, since 2003.
While there’s no doubt that Spillman (a terrific follow on Twitter, by the way) will get his hands onto something super cool, and that the New Republic is better now for having McCormack at the helm, one can’t shake the feeling that when a literary journal shutters, another angel loses its wings (to turn a clichÃ©).
Tin House always seemed to have a solid business model, embraced both coasts, and for years was arguably the “it” place for writers to appear in print. Although very much rooted in the Northwest, Tin House seemed to transcend region to become not only a national treasure but a magazine of international import.
They published Southern authors such as Dorothy Alison and Chris Offut (and Durham’s own poet and publisher Ross White!) alongside the gritty fiction of Charles D’Ambrosio ; the magical realism of Aimee Bender ; and the intimate poetry of D.A. Powell.
Tin House has always been ahead of the curve: their 2019 faculty includes poet Natalie Diaz; novelist Rebecca Makkai (short-listed for National Book Award); and memoirist Michelle Tea.
And the publishing imprint will still be publishing great books.
Still, it’s okay to take a moment to thank McCormack and Spillman for serving two decades at the vanguard of the contemporary literature, and to wish them only the best in their future endeavors. And it’s okay to feel a little sad that the print journal is coming to a closeâ€”it feels somehow like the end of an era.