Friday, February 23, 2007

Catholic Writers Groups Foster Literary Revival

Several organizations have cropped up recently to foster a Catholic literary revival.

The table is too small for the dozen writers gathered in a coffeehouse on St. Paul’s trendy Grand Avenue. As they sip their specialty coffees, all ears are attuned to one young woman as she reads her fictional story about a World War I soldier.

The group calls itself The Minnklings — a Minnesotan take-off on C.S. Lewis’ and J.R.R. Tolkien’s writer’s group The Inklings. Among others, it includes a newspaper publisher, an academic journal editor, published fiction writers and journalists. They gather to critique one another’s work and share stories about getting published. The group is one of several literary efforts underway aimed at supporting existing Catholic writers and fostering new ones.

“I have no idea what loop you have to be in to get into some of these publications,” said David Deavel, a regular attendee of the Minnklings’ and associate editor of Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture published by the Center for Catholic Studies at St. Thomas University. “What I find valuable is hearing other people’s stories about how to work with editors and publishers. Their experiences of getting in have been of the most value to me.”
So, through the University of Pennsylvania Newman Center and the Catholic collegiate organization Compass, Aparicio gathered a network of young Catholic writers to create the quarterly journal Dappled Things. The first issue appeared online during Advent 2005. The journal includes fiction, reviews, poetry and commentary by young Catholic writers.

The magazine receives approximately 20,000 hits each time a new issue goes online, some from as far away as Australia. Dappled Things just conducted a successful fundraising campaign to take its next step, a print magazine.
[....snip] National Catholic RegisterTim Drake is based in St. Joseph, Minnesota — and is a member of the Minnklings.

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