We are looking for a fiction editor for Tikkun — someone who can get us the very best short fiction pieces that are tikkun-ish. By this I don’t mean pieces that are overtly political, Jewish, or spiritual. I mean fiction that has some connection to a framework of meaning or purpose, love or generosity or caring, that explicitly or implicitly challenges the materialism, selfishness, meaninglessness, despair, depression, and loneliness of the contemporary capitalist world, or somehow affirms love, hope, humor, spirituality, or a meaning to life.
Our new fiction editor needs to be well connected in the literary world in order to get us the best that we can possibly get, given our limitations: we can’t pay the editor and we can’t pay the author (no money — that simple). Still, even with these constraints, in the past we have attracted terrific authors including Grace Paley, Marge Piercy, Francine Prose, Leonard Michaels, Rebecca Goldstein, Thane Rosenbaum, Steve Stern, and Leslie Epstein.
We stopped publishing fiction ten years ago when, for financial reasons, we had to shorten the size of the print magazine. But now that we are primarily an online magazine (though continuing to publish a much shortened quarterly version, as well), we are able to print short fiction.
We are looking for someone who can get us the best authors (famous or unknown), someone who understands Tikkun and what it means to be “tikkun-ish,” someone who is talented and brilliant and knows what a good piece of fiction is and what would appeal to our readership.
We don’t want someone sending us Jewish shlock (which we got a lot of in the past) or sad pieces about the suffering of the Jewish people or the Holocaust — there are other places for that. We don’t want Jewish humor based on insider assumptions or only accessible to those with knowledge of Yiddish or Hebrew or what it used to be like on the Lower East Side. Our readership is largely interfaith, sophisticated, and busy — so we want someone to get us fiction that is compelling or wildly humorous or deeply spiritual or in some other way touches our souls or our funny bone.
Our fiction editor doesn’t have to be Jewish or a spiritual progressive or a revolutionary or an academic or a published author or whatever other category you fantasize we might require! We need someone who is tough enough to be able to say no to a famous author who sends us something not so good (we once had to turn down Norman Mailer, despite the fact that we would have loved to have the “credit” of publishing him, because we didn’t think the piece was good enough for Tikkun, despite the fame of its author). We need an editor who doesn’t have to struggle to say no to a best friend whom s/he solicited to write or to require rewriting until s/he is proud to publish the piece.
The fiction editor would not only make choices about what to publish, but also:
1. Work with the author of each selected piece to improve it, proof it meticulously for spelling and grammar errors, and then use our content management system to publish it online
2. Respond to those whose pieces have been rejected with something more personal than an automatic rejection (though not necessarily a detailed explanation — but something that would make the person feel that s/he had been noticed). We have the capacity to set up a system such that submissions are received and organized online.
Why would authors submit to us, given that we can’t pay them? Well, for some it would be a huge credit for advancing in academia or publishing or journalism or getting their own work published by a fancy New York publisher (yes, many of them read Tikkun). For others it might be an end-of-career opportunity to “give back” by helping the cause of tikkun olam. For still others, it might be a great opportunity to advance fiction that hasn’t gotten the kind of attention it deserves and would in Tikkun.
To apply: send us a letter describing why you are the right person for the job and a c.v. (though we’d take someone who had no academic status or no previous publishing success if they could show us that they have the connections). It would be best if you could send us a piece of fiction (either by yourself or someone else) that embodies the kind of fiction you’d like to see in Tikkun. Send it directly to me. If you are also a writer of fiction, you can submit some of your pieces to us for consideration even if you don’t get picked for this position.