Game of Tomes: An Alternate History of Brooklyn’s Literary Tribes

In honor of this digital lit extravaganza (and, you know, friendly collaboration), who better to join forces with than the team at Full-Stop, Brooklyn’s self-described online home of literary “Reviews, Interviews, and Marginalia.” Since launching in January 2011 the site has garnered attention from various corners of the internet including McSweeney’s, Flavorpill, and Bookslut for their refreshingly grounded, original take on online literary critique, and rightfully so.

“We really wanted to create a space where young writers could write legible pieces that would be taken seriously, and not just another site that was about freaking out that college was over,” explains co-founder and Editor-in-Chief Alex Shephard of the site’s initial launch. “We were writing for other magazines, feeling frustrated by the constraints that came along with that, and wanted to have our own thing—if we weren’t going to be paid anyway, why not at least control the means of production?”

Of course, creative control tends to come at a literal price, and to date, the site’s editors have committed to unpaid positions until they can afford to pay their contributors, many of whom are scattered across the U.S. in spite of the site’s base in Brooklyn. Their widespread writership “keeps us feeling like outsiders,” Shephard explains, “which I think is a good thing, so long as you can prevent yourself from becoming bitter. So far, we haven’t, though, and I think that the fact that very few of us live in New York (and very few of us are from New York, for that matter) and even fewer of us have paying jobs in the arts industry gives us an interesting perspective.” 

Alongside long-form reviews and interviews, the site has more recently expanded with a new series of current events-targeted essays and interviews, and their blog has branched into a good amount of satire—for instance, a recent post on Mitt Romney’s (arguably?) fictional “nut-tapping” tour of Europe.  “The humor pieces we’ve written have become a really important part of who we are. They can be pretty low brow, but I think that’s fine—we’re ok with high brow and low brow,  just not middle brow,” explains co-founder and blog editor Max Rivlin-Nadler.

As such, when putting together this issue, we asked them to work on an (again, arguably) fictional look at the Brooklyn lit world, and they did not disappoint. And so, courtesy of the Full-Stop Editors, we present Game of Tomes: An Alternate History of Literary Brooklyn, 1960-present. We trust that you will find it to be 100 percent factually accurate on all fronts.

All images David Herr



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