Old Ground, New Growth

by Elizabeth Lutyens, Editor in Chief

Asheville author Rachel Stein finds new paths in familiar territory.

The last work of literature I read while in college was a far cry from Bleak House, the hefty tome I’d picked as the war horse of my thesis. I was thrilled to leave Dickens in the dust for John Fowles and his just-published novel The Magus. I assumed that The Magus was my private obsession (who else would stick with something so lengthy and confounding?) until I began to see people all over campus lounging on the grass—it was springtime in Chapel Hill—with their own copies of the book. I wasn’t the only person not pleased to see this book become, overnight it seemed, a cult classic. Fowles himself proclaimed it “a novel of adolescence written by a retarded adolescent” and thirteen years later wrote and published (actually re-wrote and re-published) it as The Magus: A Revised Version. What authorial luxury! It’s the second chance many writers, post-publication, dream of.

The Great Smokies Review now offers a luxury along the same lines with a new feature we’re calling Writing Redux. From the publication’s archives, we select a piece of prose or poetry and invite the author to publish a second time. Rachel Stein’s short story “Sheep” from the spring 2015 issue is the first Writing Redux choice. Although revision is optional, Rachel had already begun re-working parts of the piece, for inclusion in a collection of stories. She discusses her process—a blend of revision and re-visioning—in an interview we’ve included in this issue: Writing More, Learning More.

The editors and I are pleased to announce not only this new feature, but also a brand-new addition to our team. Janet Moore, Guest Editor for the spring 2021 issue, is now a permanent TGSR staff member, taking the role of Special Features Editor. She has been quick off the mark, conducting the interview for our new feature (and coming up with the perfect title for it), and writing a Craft Session essay inspired by George Saunders’ latest book, A Swim in a Pond in the Rain.

Finally, we are as always privileged to present fiction, nonfiction, and poetry submitted, via faculty recommendation, by writers in the Great Smokies Writing Program. Although classes continue to be virtual, as do the Review’s biannual readings at Malaprop’s Bookstore, the enthusiasm for writing in Asheville and surrounds has never felt more real.

Elizabeth Lutyens teaches the Prose Master Class in the Great Smokies Writing Program. For more about her, go to www.elizabethlutyenseditor.com