Oakland-based literary journal Monday Night got its start as a way for members of a writing group — that met, of course, on Monday nights — to find a public forum. Editors Rob Pierce, Sharon McGill and Jessica Wickens launched the zine in 2001, but its contributing authors soon ballooned beyond the members of the group. Novelist Annam Manthiram (After the Tsunami) had an early piece in the journal, and a story by Ben Bellizi was listed as a Notable work in Best American Nonrequired Reading 2011.
“Many of these writers were published by MN in the early days and went on to more glorious achievements after that,” says Wickens. “I like to think we helped them along the way.”
The journal’s even gone international, publishing work by Berlin poet Holger Sasum and a number of stories by British authors.
Today, Wickens is still on board as editor, joined by Heather Miller and Nana K. Twumasi, while editor McGill has switched over to design duties. None of the current editors remains in that original Monday night writing group, though they certainly haven’t given up scribbling for editing: Wickens has a poetry collection, Everything Reused in the Sea, forthcoming from San Francisco publisher Mission Cleaners (www.missioncleaners.com).
And the group’s members pride themselves in both their nurturing stance toward emerging authors and their ability to remain on the edge. “I think that MN has found its own quirky niche,” says Wickens. “What we have is consistently interesting literature. We like to take risks, publishing work that is doing or saying something unique, pushing the envelope in some way. But at the same time, we also like a good story or a good solid line of verse. Monday Night’s space is a comfortable mix of experimentation, edginess and tradition.”
The journal will mark its 11th annual publication this fall — look for a public launch at a local bookstore in October or November. www.mondaynightlit.com