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New journal aims to highlight Hamilton authors

Dana Hansen

Dana Hansen

A new literary journal is being launched this fall, founded by a group of Hamilton-area writers advocating for more coverage of the arts in their city.

The Hamilton Review of Books – which will feature book reviews, longform essays, columns, and more – will be edited by Dana Hansen‚ writer, critic, and Humber College English professor. Hansen was motivated to launch a new journal following a panel discussion with Wolsak & Wynn publisher Noelle Allen and author Gary Barwin that highlighted the under-representation of Hamilton writers.

“It just felt like the right time, because Hamilton is growing‚ the arts community is really booming in all sectors‚ and there isn’t as much arts coverage as we would like to see‚” Hansen says. “We’re really looking at promoting local authors and local events.”

The Hamilton Review of Books will publish two online issues per year‚ with additional content posted between issues. Hansen hopes eventually to add art and photography portfolios to each issue and to publish a print anthology in the future. The journal’s editorial team consists of novelist and journalist Krista Foss, Mohawk College professor and reviewer Rhonda Dynes, author Sally Cooper, and Jessica Rose, book columnist and gritLIT director of programming. Allen and a number of local booksellers and publishing professionals serve on an advisory board.

Some of the aspects that set the publication apart include a “shop talk” column, a forum for publishers to discuss industry matters‚ and the fact that Hansen is open to reviewing self-published works by Writers’ Union members.

“A lot of journals specifically say they don’t [review self-published works]‚” Hansen says. “We’ve had examples of writers from Hamilton and elsewhere who’ve started in self-publishing and have actually made it to the big leagues of traditional publishing. It does happen, and if we can help to facilitate that, I’d like to be a part of it.”