By David Lazar.
Everyone may hath two birthdays, as Charles Lamb suggests, but the same doesn’t necessarily hold for literary magazines. So with glee and bated breath (for blowing out candles, of course) Hotel Amerika is set to embark on its third act (oh, Scott, in America there are endless acts . . . ): a partnership with the University of Nebraska Press. Our first act was the founding of the journal at Ohio University in 2001, which was followed by the move to Columbia College Chicago in 2006, where we have had a lovely run of eight years, with Best American Essay selections and notables, Best American Poetry selections, Best American Short Story selections, and Pushcart Prizes. Through these years I have worked closely with Managing Editor Adam McOmber, whom I have known since our student/teacher days at Ohio. Adam, fiction writer extraordinaire, author of This New and Poisonous Air and The White Forest, will be leaving Hotel Amerika at the end of this year, and he will be sorely missed. His replacement will be the wonderful Lisa Wagner. So begins Act III with Nebraska, after the publication of our new issue, due out in a month.
How is Hotel Amerika different? Well, after this issue, we will need money! We hope that everyone who reads this will subscribe, and should the Gods have been merciful this year, send us perhaps a small (or bountiful!) tax free donation to keep doing what we think is good work. This can be done through Paypal (click here for subscriptions or here for donations, or go to our website) or via check to Hotel Amerika. So as of December 24th, 2014 we’re a 501c3 non-profit organization, and starting with the next issue, The University of Nebraska is our home, though I will keep editing the magazine here at Columbia College with my superb students.
Our first issue with Nebraska will have (at least) two features: a TransGenre contest (starting on February 1st of this year and running through the 21st of April), publishing work that transcends, challenges, explodes generic boundaries, building on our TransGenre issue of several years ago and our continuing commitment to such work (we’re the only magazine who features a T/G category in our contents). And we’ll have a special section on the international essay, highlighting essayists from around the world.
So, welcome—welcome back, welcome in. Our hotel has been refurbished, but remains independent, well-furnished, fully booked.