Celebrating Ten Years of Literary Mama: Suzanne Kamata
October 2013 marks Literary Mama’s ten year anniversary! On Wednesdays for the next few months we’ll celebrate this milestone with editors and columnists, both past and present. They’ll share what being a part of Literary Mama has meant to them, what they hope for the future of the magazine, and how Literary Mama has shaped their writing, their mothering, and their lives.
Suzanne Kamata- Fiction Editor
A little over ten years ago, I was the mother of preschool-aged twins in rural Japan, eager to connect with the moms of the world. I’d published a few essays on motherhood in print already, but I thought it was time to explore the potential of the Internet. I sent an essay to Andrea Buchanan, who was then publishing a site called Philly Mama. She clued me in on a bold new enterprise – a website that would be devoted to literary writing on all aspects of motherhood, and invited me to submit. So I did!
My first submission to Literary Mama was an adaptation of a chapter of a novel that I was working on, published in the second edition. I became an instant fan of the site, checking for new material every few days, and greedily devouring whatever I found. I was privileged to have that first story, “Gan,” included in a print anthology edited by LM founders Amy Huddock and Andrea and published by Seal Press. I later contributed more stories, and an essay. “Gan” became part of my first published novel, Losing Kei, and a couple of the stories later appeared in my short story collection, The Beautiful One Has Come. I’ve also borrowed from the excellent writing in the Literary Mama archives for my anthology Love You to Pieces: Creative Writers on Raising a Child with Special Needs.
When Ericka Lutz stepped down as Fiction Editor, she offered me the chance to be Fiction Coeditor, and I said “yes.” I love reading stories by and about mothers from all over the world, and all stages of motherhood. I’m continually amazed at the caliber of writing that is sent to Literary Mama, and the impressive credits of the writers who submit. I’m always thrilled to launch a new writer, and delighted by the successes of writers we’ve published early in their careers.
Over the years, Literary Mama has come to seem like more of a community than anything else. Eventually, I will hand over the reins to another editor, but LM will always remain the site where I was nurtured and given wings as a writer.