Rosebud Ben-Oni with Brian Kornell and Justin Lawrence Daugherty

Brian Kornell and Justin Lawrence Daugherty
Brian Kornell and Justin Lawrence Daugherty

I’ve had the good fortune of meeting these writers who have opened spaces for new literary communities as editors and activists. Brian Kornell is Fiction Editor at The Cossack Review, along with poet Ruben Quesada, the Co-Founder of Stories & Queer, a traveling reading series that features LGBT writers with audiences all over the country. Justin Lawrence Daugherty founded the journal and community Sundog Lit, which publishes voices that “emerge from the ruins, not what idles in the calm before the storm,” as well as “literature that rages.” Recently, Kornell took to Twitter to discuss his frustrations with the indie lit community, and it was then I remembered these very words of that mission statement of Sundog Lit. Here, Kornell and Daugherty debate the ideas of inclusion and exclusion (as well as diversity and equality) in the indie literary scene. This conversation provoked my own memories of living in Jerusalem, with its physical/religious/sexual borders, and how experience, identity and space are linked to whom we read and how we read. I also hope it provokes any previously held assumptions from readers. —Rosebud Ben-Oni

Rosebud Ben-Oni: Brian, can you fill us in on what originally led to your frustrations with the indie lit community?