Not the typical Freakonomics fare, but: a magazine editor I know, Amy Goldwasser, has sent out this A.P.B. for a book project she’s curating:
Thrilled to finally say I’m putting together a book of essays written by teen girls. What will make this one special, elevate it from any teen genre-type collection, is that I’m absolutely committed to their words, their voices-not quoting them (aka, calling myself author of an “oral history”) or rewriting them (imposing adult filter). I want to work with the girls, editor at their service, with more attention than I’d give any overrated old professional writer. I want to put their essays out there because they’re great reads and need a proper place in literature, not because they’re some misguided grownup idea of what kids today are up to, keeping it real. This is a chance for them, as writers, to speak to a broader audience and with more staying power and legitimacy than the web allows. I’m thinking of their inclusion as launching their careers as writers or filmmakers or anything else.
So if you know any girls, age 13-18, who’d like to submit a piece of personal non-fiction for consideration, please pass this invitation onto them. Also feel free to forward to any parents or teachers who might do the same. Those are about the only guidelines-absolutely any subject matter (so far everything from a Christian acoustic guitar player on the importance of dressing modestly to an obsessive diatribe against Condi Rice to making out with a gay prom date to learning to cook to a parent’s drinking), any geography (great to get away from LA-NY), any length, and from writers of any race, class, etc. If she’s more comfortable, the writer can remain anonymous-as long as she gives me her age, location, and a promise that she’s not making shit up. They can be important or fun, about shopping or stealing, whatever.
The essay may already exist (from a school assignment, from a blog, e-mail to a friend, anything) or be an original work. In fact, might be even better if it’s already completed, as I can’t pay anyone for submissions at this stage. I can go into it in more detail individually if you’re interested, but for now, what I need to do is prove to the big guns that the girls are up to the task (themselves, again, not as told to or rewritten by a grownup). We know they are.
Please encourage the teen girls you know to send me any first-person writing they’re excited about by Friday, April 7. I’m interested in reading absolutely anything they make, and of course, hope is to get them recognized in a major-publisher book down the line. Fees and permissions and all that biz to be negotiated when that happens, of course. And as talented and sophisticated as these writers can be, I do know they’re kids-and therefore I all the more appreciate and honor their trusting me with what’s in their heads.
Send all correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org with “my essay” as the subject.