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The new face of summer magazine fiction

The magazine market for fiction may not be in quite so critical a condition after all. Toronto Life has announced plans to drop its annual Summer Fiction feature, but another city magazine has just kicked off a fiction package of its own.

Ottawa Magazine’s current issue boasts its first Summer Fiction package, which contains stories by authors Alan Cumyn, Melanie Little, Nichole McGill, and Dorothy Speak. Editor Sarah Brown says the plan is to make the fiction feature an annual event, and to focus on the work of Ottawa writers. “As a city magazine I think it’s our mandate to really showcase the writing talent in and around the city.” The stories need not necessarily be set in Ottawa, notes Brown, though three of the four in the debut issue happen to be.

To come up with the lineup, Brown commissioned stories rather than soliciting submissions. “As this was our first fiction issue, I made up a list of about 30 writers who I would love to have in the magazine. This was done in conjunction with my coworkers. I also spoke with Sean Wilson from the Ottawa International Writers Festival who had a lot of great ideas. As luck would have it, four of the first five writers I contacted immediately agreed to write for our first issue.”

Elsewhere, the Toronto Star has done its own story on Toronto Life‘s decision to pull the plug on fiction. And noting editor John Macfarlane’s explanation that it was difficult to find Toronto-set stories, the Star‘s Judy Stoffman asks a very good question: “Where are the imaginative chroniclers of life in Toronto?”

(Like Toronto Life and Q&Q, Ottawa Magazine is owned by St. Joseph Media.)

Related links:
Read Sarah Brown’s editor’s letter from Ottawa Magazine‘s fiction issue
Read the Toronto Star story about Toronto Life
Read Q&Q‘s story about Toronto Life