Another Chicago Magazine is celebrating its 50th edition with "Another Chicago Issue," a volume of work from local writers.
This issue, which is available on Another Chicago Magazine's Web site, anotherchicagomagazine.net, and will be available in local independent bookstores at the end of the month, was released more than a year after Granta, a British literary quarterly, put out its much discussed Chicago edition. The Another Chicago Magazine staff addresses the controversy surrounding Granta's representation of Chicago in the issue's introduction: "It seems to us that there is a need for some sort of comprehensive overview, some sort of documentation of the writers working here now and that hasn't quite been captured by the good folks at Granta."
Jacob Knabb, 34, editor in chief of Another Chicago Magazine (also known as ACM), said that Granta's Chicago edition, which came out in September 2009, had great pieces in it, but seemed a bit like "carpetbagging."
"It was kind of like a monolithic giant stomping into town, picking up what they liked and then leaving," Knabb said. "They also didn't publish a lot of Chicago writers in their Chicago issue. With our issue we didn't want to do that. We wanted to do a street-level thing and make it organic and curatorial. Instead of trying to force my own view of the city, I wanted to make submissions open to anyone in Chicago and learn how the writers themselves define this city."
Ling Ma, 27, author of short story "The Palmer House," which is included in ACM's Chicago issue, said she admires the writers who appeared in Granta's Chicago issue, but added that ACM did a better job of using work by local writers.
"I would say that ACM's Chicago issue has a lineup that includes writers I've seen at local readings, attended writers groups with, or just hung out with," Ma said. "To me, ACM's issue represents the local literary scene that I know."
Kathleen Rooney, 30, author of two poems in the magazine, agreed that the writers in ACM's Chicago issue seemed to have more camaraderie than Granta's Chicago issue contributors.
"The ACM issue includes a greater diversity of writers who are at different stages of their careers than the Granta writers who have established national and international profiles," Rooney said. "Although they're widely known, you don't get the impression that most of the Granta writers interact with each other on a regular basis."
ACM's "Another Chicago Issue" features 190 pages of 16 poems, nine fictional stories, two creative nonfiction stories and a couple of uncategorized pieces. Though some stories use Chicago as a theme or setting, Knabb said, that was not a prerequisite: "When we sent out for submissions we decided that the reason this would be a Chicago issue is because the writers would be writing and out doing things here in the city."
Knabb said ACM received hundreds of submissions for the 50th issue, which led the staff to create "Another Chicago Issue" Volume 2, which will be released in March. ACM is published twice a year.
The ACM "Another Chicago Issue" features cover art by Rob Funderburk
A release party for Volume 1 of "Another Chicago Issue" will feature readings and a lineup of other performers at 8 p.m. Jan. 21 at the Stop Smiling Storefront, 1371 N. Milwaukee Ave.; $5 suggested donation.
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