A Note from the Editors

It’s hard to get published.  If you’re not known, you’ll fold your work into a stack of envelopes or attach it to a dozen emails and send to small presses and litmags.  If the litmag is anything like J Journal, your submission will be read by two guys in a small office who will cringe at the clichés and rejoice over the originality and perhaps ask for revisions, with no guarantee of publication.  On rare occasions a story or poem will come in so complete, so refined, that it no longer seems a submission but already part of the next issue.  In J, as in pretty much any other journal, only five percent will make it into print.  Those are rough odds, and standard odds for litmags; the odds of a book contract are rougher still. 

This year, two of J Journal’s writers, two who have stayed in touch with us, received their first book contracts.  Alison Ruth’s vibrant, visceral prose has been featured in three issues of J Journal; her novel Near-Mint Cinderella was just published by Aqueous Books.  And Sandra Hunter’s J Journal story In-Breath introduced family themes she further explored in her novel Losing Touch, which just came out from Oneworld Publications.

Their success is an affirmation.  These are two alert, original writers, in full control of character and voice and pace, who have been rewarded with book contracts.  Sometimes things line up and literary justice is done.  Litmags serve a special purpose; they are the proving ground for new work. We are so pleased to have showcased these two worthy writers on their way to wider readership.  Congratulations to both.  



Fiction by Sabrina Jaszi, Michael McGuire, Rebekah Orton, Mark Parlette, Jane St. Clair, Jennifer Sears, Ryan Elliott Smith, Steven Volynets, Brian Phillip Whalen

Poems by Ace Boggess, Jason Ellis, Michael Graves, Erik La Prade, Simon Perchik, Matthew J. Spireng, Ben Terry, Fred Yannantuono

Nonfiction by Thomas Bart Kropp

Photos by Jacobia Dahm

BookTalk: The Number of Missing by Adam Berlin
March 25, 2015

Conference Room, 9th fl.

John Jay College of Criminal Justice
524 West 59th Street
New York, NY 10019

In the months after 9/11, David and Mel meet to drink, give each other comfort and reminisce about Paul—Mel’s husband and David’s best friend. The memories are not all good for David. Before Paul died, the two friends fought, brutally questioning each other’s lives. Fueled by anger and grief and too much alcohol, David stumbles through the city while holding onto a silent promise he’s made to a dead friend: he will wait for Mel to fall so he can catch her. Like the best post-war novels, where catastrophe is not an easy catalyst for plot, where characters go on living but not really, is about New York during a time when the city seemed dead. 

*All book talks are free and open to the public. 
Refreshments will be served.

Four of our writers have new book publications:

  • Robert Yune's debut novel Eighty Days of Sunlight was published by Thought Catalog Books/Prospecta Press.
  • Alison Ruth's young adult novel Near-Mint Cinderella is published by Aqueous Books (2014)
  • Sandra Hunter's novel Losing Touch is published by Oneworld Publications (2014)
  • Joseph Rathgeber's collection of stories The Abridged Autobiography of Yousef R. and Other Stories is published by ELJ Editions (2014)

J Journal
Department of English
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
524 West 59th Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10019