Posted on by Joanna Yas

March 2, 2011

Open City Magazine is closing after twenty years. Open City Books, a mere tyke at ten years, continues. Starting with its first issue in 1991, Open City has made an important mark on the American literary scene, publishing a slew of debut writers, undiscovered posthumous gems, and hosting wildly successful readings and parties in New York City and beyond. Not just a publisher, Open City, true to its name, is a vibrant community of writers, artists, and readers.

Highlights from twenty years of the magazine will be collected in an anthology, THEY'RE AT IT AGAIN: An Open City Reader (June 2011, Open City Books). Featured authors include Richard Yates (an excerpt of a novel he was working on at the time of his death), Irvine Welsh (his story in Open City in 1993 marked his US debut), Mary Gaitskill, Martha McPhee, Robert Stone, David Foster Wallace, Jonathan Ames, and Sam Lipsyte. There will be a benefit on May 18 at the home of an Open City board member to celebrate the anthology and to raise funds for the book imprint, as well as a series of public readings and panels, including a reading on May 25 at KGB, 7pm.

The final issue of the magazine, Open City #30, was published in December 2010 and is available in stores and online at The issue features stories by Ed Park, Ann Packer, Sigrid Nunez, Karan Mahajan, nonfiction by Louis B. Jones, and poetry by Alissa Quart and Yusef Komunyakaa. Joanna Yas remarked "When we were putting it together, we didn't realize it would be the last issue, so it's a beautiful coincidence that it's one of our best ever, not to mention that we landed on number thirty, which feels right for many reasons."

The magazine was founded in 1990 by Thomas Beller and Daniel Pinchbeck. They were joined by Robert Bingham in 1993. In 1999, Joanna Yas became managing editor, and subsequently became co-editor with Thomas Beller.

"The twentieth anniversary and the anthology mark a bittersweet moment on which to end the magazine's run," says Thomas Beller, "but we are going out with a festival, not a funeral. Open City has long been an incubator for emerging talent, and that will have an afterlife in the continuation of Open City Books."

See the links below for press coverage of the magazine's closing:

The New York Observer
The Paris Review
Los Angeles Times
The Wall Street Journal
Publisher's Weekly
Vanity Fair
The Faster Times
New York Magazine
There's a Road to Everywhere...
National Book Critics Circle blog
The New Yorker 

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