Austin Is Home To 'American Short Fiction'

Sep 20, 2017

The literary magazine American Short Fiction has been published for over twenty-five years. In that time, it's featured works by authors such as Joyce Carol Oates, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Louise Erdrich; it's been nominated for national awards, and its works have been published in The Best American Short Stories and The O. Henry Prize Stories. 

But despite that success, or perhaps because of it, many locals don't realize that American Short Fiction is based in Austin and has been since 1991.

"It's a funny thing -- I think our profile in some ways is higher nationally than it is locally," says American Short Fiction co-editor Rebecca Markovits. "And as an Austin institution for twenty-five years, we're excited about working to change that and getting the word out more to local book lovers, because Austin is such a book-loving town."

Adeena Reitberger, the other co-editor at American Short Fiction, notes that while people are often surprised to hear that the magazine is locally-based, "they're very excited when the hear it, too, which is great." She herself lived in Austin for two years before learning that fact.

One of the ways Reitberger and Markovits are trying to increase the magazine's local profile is with their upcoming awards show and party, which they're calling "The Stars at Night." 

"We want Austinites to take ownership of this thing that happens here, that is so cherished and so valued across the country," says Reitberger. There will be authors in attendance, and some readings and some awards presented, but it's also meant to be a party, with plenty of food and drink and country music.

"Austin is such a literature-loving city," says Markovits. "And we're excited about offering more opportunities for Austinites to meet authors, interact, and have these literary experiences."

They'll be honoring one author for literary excellence, another for extraordinary service, and for the first time, there will be a Central Texas emerging star honoree. That commitment to emerging talent runs deep at American Short Fiction -- it's also the theme of their current issue, out now at bookstores everywhere. 

"It's our first ever issue devoted entirely to emerging writers," says Markovits. "They're all new, and it's really a rewarding part of what we do to publish them."

The emerging writers issue of American Short Fiction is out now, and The Stars at Night gala is Thursday, November 2.