Margin: Exploring Modern Magical Realism

l e t t e r   f r o m   t h e   e d i t o r   ~   w i n t e r   2 0 0 3

To subscribers, contributors and friends of MARGIN:

It's been a while since I've posted at MARGIN, but don't imagine for a minute that dust is collecting at the world's only survey of modern literary magical realism! While the staff has been on hiatus, much has been mined beneath the horizon. Today's letter to you is but a thumbnail of things to come at MARGIN.

January 2003 also marks the anthology's third anniversary, which I celebrate quietly with eyes focused on new events, energy and ideas for the coming year. Thanks to all of you for your energy, support, ideas and friendship.

So what's new for 2003?


I wish to introduce and welcome Oona Patrick to the staff as dedicated book reviewer. She has contributed to MARGIN in the past and I look forward to many more of her astute and well-articulated reviews in the future (and boy do I have a tower of books waiting here for her to read and review!). Oona's past reviews:

Saudade, by Katherine Vaz

The Stone Raft, by Jose Saramago


I've also had the good fortune to meet with Bruce Taylor, founder of the Magic Realist Writers International Network . A long-time writer of magical realism, Taylor has a special interest in magical realist film. We are currently merging some resources in a collaborative effort to expose magical realism to more readers, writers and movie-goers everywhere.


You will find some additions to the anthology this year, including new features already in progress (i.e. Q&As, book reviews, author features).

Soon, I hope to launch a poll gauging interest in literary magical realism worldwide, with results to be posted at the anthology in 2004. Look for a new thesis section for academic writing this fall as well, with opportunities for offering rebuttal.

Finally, a new special theme section will be unveiled this year focusing on magical realist "centers" around the world--keep your eyes open for that call for submissions.


First, I must thank you all for your patience in awaiting the reopening of our reading period; MARGIN receives many submissions and inquiries and I feel badly when I have to turn them away. But this is only a temporary measure while I tend to MARGIN from behind the scenes. Please stay tuned.

There will be a thematic call for submissions launched soon, and I am considering a contest in the future, as well as a restructuring of general guidelines/reading periods and the aforementioned new academic section. As a subscriber, you'll be the first to know of these upcoming additions, events and plans.


In 2002, MARGIN appeared at Seattle's Bumbershoot arts festival, the Pacific Northwest Bookfest and the Inkzilla Zine Fair in Mesa, AZ (many thanks to PEN Washington, Seattle Writer's Association president Bruce Taylor and MARGIN contributor Catherine Hammond for their energy, commitment and support at these events).

In 2003, I hope to arrange live readings of MARGIN contributors as venues become available, primarily along the Seattle/Vancouver BC/Portland corridor (possibly Bellingham as well). As with the Inkzilla event, I am happy to consider other opportunities by proxy when contributors are able and willing to act as representatives for MARGIN in their own regions. If you hear of an event in your region where MARGIN might benefit by being present in some fashion, do let me know, and we can discuss arrangements.

MARGIN hopes to be represented in 2003 at Norwescon in April, Westercon in July, the Portland Zine Symposium also in July, and again at Bumbershoot and the Pacific Northwest Bookfest this fall. I'm also researching a zine festival in Vancouver, B.C. . Thanks to Bruce Taylor for his support!


Note our new surface mailing address for inquiries and submissions (as of February 11, 2003:

321 High School Road N.E.
PMB #204
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Please refer to the website only for guidelines. Also, submissions sent when our reading period is closed will be returned unread.

In other news:

Page updates are slow but forthcoming.

In late December, MARGIN acquired additional domain names to increase traffic, and has "parked" on others to acquire them when they become free again. MARGIN is currently accessible online at and Our third domain,, will be activated soon.

On a more conceptual level, the focus of the dialog at MARGIN will continue in its general literary direction while extending into communities of genre writing (i.e. science fiction, fantasy and supernatural) where there can be found tremendous strongholds of support and enthusiasm for, and faith in, the relevance and power of magical realist writing.


If you are super-enthused about magical realism, want to commit a little time or energy to the cause, please let me know. I would like to develop the film section and the children's section more fully in the next year, but could really use some help. I'm looking for someone who is organized, can work independently, and has savvy web methods.

If you are a past contributor of MARGIN and you plan to be in the Seattle area in the future, please let me know. There might be a chance to include you in a reading or other event where MARGIN is already involved. I'd love for you to join us!


The civil-liberty-challenged Patriot Act has inspired my interest and involvement with freedom-to-write campaigns, associations of publishers working to protect copyright on the web, general free-speech / independent publishing / small press organizations, and others of like mind, including the BookSense Independent Booksellers association. Eventually you will find new logos at MARGIN officially announcing the anthology's affiliations with these groups. I hope you'll visit their sites and see what they are all about.

Why does the Patriot Act stink?
Truthout editorial article

PEN USA Freedom to Write

People for the American Way

Independent Publishing Resource Center

BookSense Independent Booksellers online service


I love hearing from our readers and wouldn't have ever expected MARGIN to fare so well had it not been for the constant stream of positive feedback I've received. And many thanks to all the webmasters/editors/supporters out there whose links to our pages gives us our many consistent referrals; in particular Allen Ruch, Evelyn Leeper, Alice Whittenburg and G.S. Evans, Andre Codrescu, Terri Windling, and Adrian Tan, and the hard-working staff at, whose terrific websites have brought readers to MARGIN from every nook and cranny of the globe.

Allen Ruch

Evelyn Leeper
The Magical Realism Page

Alice Whittenburg and G.S. Evans
Cafe Irreal

Andre Codrescu
Exquisite Corpse

Terri Windling
The Endicott Studio of Mythic Arts

Adrian Tan
Wine-Dark Sea


I close by asking for your patience as I proceed mindfully into 2003, catching up on old business, taking care of loved ones, living in the moment a little more each day, mastering the perception of time as a spiral instead of a line, and choosing to move as a snail might in a flash flood, with intent, perseverance and a sense of humor. That's the way of magical realism, after all, to merge dichotomies, right?

Keep sending those letters, those ideas, those film and book titles, those inspirations!

Best wishes for peace and enlightenment in 2003,

Tamara Kaye Sellman
Editor and Publisher
MARGIN: Exploring Modern Magical Realism

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Rev'd 2003/03/27