Today’s Featured Writefest Speaker is Michael J. Deluca, an editor with Reckoning, a pro-paying, non-profit journal of creative writing on environmental justice. He also co-operates Weightless Books, an indie ebook retailer, with Gavin Grant. In addition, he designs books and ebooks and writes short fiction.
Reckoning specializes in "creative writing on environmental justice". What brought you to focus that subject?
Environmentalism has been a cause dear to me basically forever, but it's only relatively recently that I realized how deeply the causes of climate change, environmental degradation and biodiversity loss intersect with racism, colonialism, white supremacy, the legacy of slavery, misogyny, patriarchy, oligarchy, etc, etc. It's Reckoning's policy and mine to resist oversimplifying of the incredibly complex, but really, these causes and outcomes are all interconnected. Realizing that, and wanting badly to feel like I was doing everything I could to be the change, is what led me to Reckoning. Fundamental to all these problems is the question of what kind of stories we tell and who gets to tell them.
What drives your personal interest in literature that is cross-cultural, under-represented, or courageous?
I want to learn, to identify my blind spots and see humanity and the earth from every other perspective that will teach me something about my own, which is all of them. Actively seeking and finding and providing a platform to marginalized voices is my personal solution to the contemporary social media and mass media echo chamber.
How have you seen Reckoning grow over the past few years?
I used to do everything myself; now we've got a small, tight-knit, dedicated editorial staff, including guest editors Danika Dinsmore and Arkady Martine for Reckoning 4. I get to listen more and have the editorial last word less, which was exactly what I wanted: for Reckoning to become something more than I could have imagined for it alone.
How often do you publish works by writers who have never been published before?
I think only a handful, but we've published many more writers early in their careers. In Reckoning 3, Mansuda Arora and Osahon Ize-Iyamu are really unique and promising new voices.
What advice would you give to new writers just starting to write their first short story?
If I may recycle some canned content that answers this question as best I've managed (this is not an easy question):
“Advice for new writers: write about environmental justice, submit, get rejected, revise, learn, read, look unflinchingly upon humanity and the earth, participate, write more, repeat, get accepted, join us, change us, teach us, keep writing, change humanity, change the earth”
Want to hear more from Michael DeLuca at Writefest? His schedule will be posted on our website soon!
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