New Issue Sneak Peek: Q&A with Guest Editor Lisa Biggar

The release of the Winter 2020 issue of the Little Patuxent Review is just weeks away. We hope to see many of you at our reading and launch party, but in the meantime, guest editor Lisa Biggar took me behind the scenes on the upcoming issue for a sneak peek.

Q: What can readers expect from the new issue of the Little Patuxent Review?

LB: Well, it’s an unthemed issue, but as I say in the editor’s note, “Caring is an organic theme in this issue — caring for the earth, our souls, our words, our loved ones, even when the caring is a nuisance, an inconvenience.” There’s a real heartbeat to this issue that I believe is partly a response to the current political crisis in this country and the perils of our earth. Art is a means of resuscitation, and this issue is proof of that; all of these pieces are beautifully written and they Matter.

What pieces/elements in the upcoming issue are you most excited about?

Katherine York’s story “The Expression of the Emotions in Girl and Animals,” which centers on the destruction of our planet, both breaks your heart and gives hope; there is a message that we are all in this together — all living things, and that each life has meaning, purpose and together we can survive. Hannah Christopher’s story is a haunting piece about drifters whom people often don’t even care to see or acknowledge. In Marcella Hunyadi’s essay “Budapest 1986,” a young girl must take care of her younger sister along with her angry, dying mother when a doctor is unable and unwilling to help. All the poetry in this issue is stellar as well; I especially love Craig Finlay’s “Exercises in Interdisciplinary Biological Care,” where a poem is found and nurtured until it is ready to be released into the world, and Gabriella Navas’s “self-portrait as loose women,” where self-care is the only means of survival.

Black and white photograph of man seated on ground with two small dogs
Photography by Ben Cricchi

Ann Bracken’s interview with photographer Ben Cricchi, along with his photos that grace the cover and pages of this issue (some of which are included here), are a highlight as well. Each photo tells a story of these people on the street that captured Ben’s attention. And Susan Thornton Hobby interviews Jane Delury, novelist and Klein Professor of Writing and Literature at the University of Baltimore. Delury’s latest novel, The Balcony, won the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. It is a novel in stories; the ten stories are connected to a fictional estate and forest outside of Paris during World War II. 

What do you hope readers will take away from the Winter 2020 issue?

I hope they will take away a broader perspective of what it means to be a caretaker, on personal and larger, global levels. 

How did you approach your role as guest editor?  

I knew I wanted to put out an issue that has Heart. Art for art’s sake is okay in times of less turmoil, but in today’s world I believe artists have a responsibility to shine the light in the darker corners of the world, to expose what is vulnerable and needs our care. 

Color photograph of woman wearing bright colors, standing in front of a brick wall
Photography by Ben Cricchi

You also serve as LPR‘s fiction editor — how did you first get involved with the magazine?

I was a fiction reader for LPR for several years, and when my friend and Baltimore writer Jen Grow stepped down as the fiction editor in 2016 she passed the torch on to me. 

What is the best part about working on the Little Patuxent Review?

I love mining the submissions, coming across those gems that sparkle with their truths and energy and imagery. And I love the camaraderie between the readers. I have a terrific team of readers on my fiction team. As guest editor for this issue I had to rely on my readers even more, with nearly 400 fiction submissions coming in the last reading period.

Submissions are currently open for our next reading period. Check out our submission guidelines.

Last but not least, can you tell me a little bit about your own writing? Where can readers find you online?

For nearly ten years I’ve been working on a short story cycle set on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, mainly in Kent County where my husband and I co-own and operate a cut flower and herb farm. I’m working on the last story in that cycle now, though I have said that before… But  I do want to wrap that project up soon and start marketing it to agents and small presses. Most of the stories have been published in various literary journals; you can find links to them on my website: writinglisa.com. My most recent publication is my story “Reenactment,” which was published in early December by Superstition Review. It is up live on their site now

Many thanks to Lisa for answering my questions! We’re all looking forward to sharing the new issue with you soon.

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