Condi Nast writers launch a literary magazine

Tin House opens its doors.

Topics: Books,

With a publisher like Win McCormack, how can you lose? McCormack, president of McCormack Communications in Portland, Ore., was one of the original backers of Mother Jones magazine. He also holds stock in the Nation. And now he and a couple of well-connected young New York editors, Rob Spillman and Elissa Schappell, have launched Tin House, a sepia-toned literary quarterly that just hit the stands.

McCormack has the dual title of editor in chief and publisher, with the husband-and-wife team of Spillman (who writes about books for Details) and Schappell (who contributes to Vanity Fair) serving as co-editors. “The world doesn’t need another literary magazine, so this one’s got to be different,” Spillman told Salon Books. “We wanted writers to be paid well. We wanted funky features. We didn’t want it to be too trendy. We sold Win on the idea of writers writing what they feel passionate about.”

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Thus, the first issue features Rick Moody on Brian Eno, Ariel Dorfman on Roman Polanski, and Francine Prose and David Gates on their favorite underappreciated books. It has Ron Carlson, David Foster Wallace and James Kelman in the fiction slots and poems by Charles Simic and C.K. Williams.

With names like those, Tin House finds itself going up in a pretty expensive neighborhood.

Craig Offman is the New York correspondent for Salon Books.

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