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Talking Writing is an online literary magazine that supports writers and those interested in literature by encouraging creative discussion of the writing process.
Talking Writing features the work of poets, fiction and creative nonfiction writers, visual artists, and photographers. TW includes long reviews and personal essays, pieces that are often hard to place in print. We are committed to a new kind of magazine, one that’s dynamic, talky, inspiring, and not too dusty.
TW was founded by a group of writers with cluttered lives, stories to tell, passionate opinions about their craft, and a desire to have their work available to a broader audience. In various combinations, we have known each other for decades. We have shared our poems, short stories, and essays; many of us have met in writers groups or classrooms to discuss the writing process and the authors who inspire us (or not).
Talking about writing always ends up being talk about life—often some of the most passionate and difficult times in life. Whether we’re discussing a story revision or a personal trauma, we have supported and encouraged each other.
Talking Writing began as a blog of the same name. It was kicked off in July 2009 by Martha Nichols, a professional writer, editor, and journalist who teaches magazine writing at Harvard University. Martha decided to start a group blog after realizing that some students used her course site to engage in conversations about writing and life rather than just for routine questions about homework.
The original contributors to the TW blog were and are terrific writers; it garnered a few fans on Facebook. Yet, Martha found that she was editing many of the guest posts and that the blog format didn’t establish a masthead for contributors to rally around.
TW launched as an online magazine in September 2010. In its first year, it gained thousands of new readers, and the magazine continues to grow. In the fall of 2011, Talking Writing, Inc., became a registered nonprofit in the state of Massachusetts.
George Orwell is one of the patron saints hovering over Talking Writing. His 1946 essay “Why I Write” has sparked many authors since, including Joan Didion in her 1976 piece of the same title. When those of us who are teachers ask students to compose their own versions of “Why I Write,” we often receive back some of their best and deepest work.
Orwell (Eric Blair) was a journalist, personal essayist, literary critic, and fiction writer. That mix of genres appeals to TW’s resident literary rebels, who do not not believe writers should be boxed into writing just fiction or just news.
Orwell likely would have embraced online writing and publication, although he also would have been a harsh critic of not getting paid for his work. We’re with you, George, in spirit.
TW is about discussion—talking and writing—and in every issue, we focus on a different writing theme to support literary conversation. Our theme essays offer a range of opinions. We encourage reader comments, selecting some as “Featured Comments.” We believe that building a “talking community” is part of what makes running this online magazine so rewarding.
We’re also committed to the editing process. As an increasing number of publications appear online, the editorial vision of magazines is more important than ever in supporting unique journalistic and creative voices. Most of us on the TW staff are professional writers and editors, accustomed to assigning work and editing it for publication. We work directly with contributing writers to ensure the quality of the published pieces.
If TW were to have a credo, it would be that discussing, dissecting, and interacting with works of literature moves us to a more humane understanding of the world. We’re seeking the everyday moments of truth to be found in the words and thoughts of others. All our experience as writers, editors, teachers, and colleagues has taught us that this approach to words enlarges our own lives and enhances our creative output.
We invite you to join us.
Logo design for Talking Writing by Hadley Langosy