All is not well at the literary journal Hobart Pulp, Cockburn has learned — and it’s all down to one of our mischievous Spectator contributors. His words have caused violence, apparently, as nearly the entire staff of the journal have resigned in protest.
Last month, Alex Perez sat down with Hobart Pulp‘s top editor, Elizabeth Ellen, to discuss the state of the literary and publishing scene — ranging from MFAs to woke writers to how he got his start in writing. Perez, a Latino writer who graduated from the prestigious Iowa Writers Workshop, had some choice words about the cowardice of writers and editors today.
The interview, originally posted to the Hobart Pulp website last month, didn’t make much of a stir until this week, when its editors and contributors began to take notice.
Dutifully, the Hobart Pulp editors were keen to show Perez and readers just how brave they are by posting a flamboyant resignation letter to the front page of the journal’s website. Before being taken down from the site, it read:
The content that started all this was regressive, harmful, and also just boring writing. The misogyny and white supremacy were treated with empathetic engagement, and that sucked beyond measure. All this led to attention being taken from the work we are proud to have published, much of it by the very writers Perez denigrated in his interview.
All of us remain grateful to the writers who trusted us with their work. We are sorry that this situation took away from your joy and overshadowed your vibrant, important writing. The departing editors have saved all previously published work and are seeking a solution for archiving it. Our priority will always be in preserving and promoting the writers whose words made our work meaningful.
Some writers have tweeted they want their stories taken down from the Hobart Pulp website. One Twitter user wheezed, “Please remove a story of mine in your archives. EE, I hope you’re proud of yourself for destroying the goodwill and community that so many others have worked to build.” Another fierce soul tweeted, “Truly embarrassed about sharing space with that misogyny fest of an interview with Perez.”
Cockburn is impressed to find that the journal’s editor, Ellen, is standing strong. She posted:
I never wanted to run this ship. Frankly, I’d rather spend my time writing. It also is more than a little heartbreaking to watch a mutiny. I have undying respect for the founder of this journal. That one might feel one’s livelihood at risk due to an interview one didn’t even read, is odd, if not troubling, but perhaps, evidence of our times. Since 2003, or thereabouts, I worked alongside the founder on this journal, in pretty much every aspect, and in 2006, with his help and support, founded its book division, Short Flight/Long Drive books.
I am excited to continue on with both Hobart and SF/LD in 2023. I think it is important to have a place in art, in literature, in which fear is not the basis of creation, nor the undercurrent of discussion, where “The Lottery” is not a real life, played out story.
Cockburn has a suggestion for any writers not horrified about the prospect of “sharing space” with Alex Perez: pitch The Spectator World…