Interfictions Zero – Academia, Interstitiality, and an Amazing Collection of Essays

Children come in all shapes and forms. One of my children is an idea that has since grown into something I am proud to see come into the world. That idea is Interfictions Zero – the new online critical anthology of essays, discussing literature that may be considered interstitial at the time the work was originally published. Interfictions Zero, which was conceived during a lunch conversation with my good friend Geoffrey Long, has since been nurtured and reared by editors Delia Sherman and Helen Pilinovsky.

For the last several years I have served as vice president of the Interstitial Arts Foundation (IAF), but recently stepped down to the IAF’s working group in order to give greater focus to my own work. My association with the IAF has given me the opportunity to help this amazing organization provide community, information, and exposure for artists who produce work that is often difficult to place because it doesn’t fit squarely within a category or genre. The Interfictions Series is one of the most notable products that the IAF has produced, providing writers a vehicle to publish their work that would otherwise have a difficult time finding a home – not because it wasn’t well written, but because it didn’t quite fit anywhere else.

The remarkable thing about interstitial writing is that it’s often the pre-evolutionary step for new literary movements, which develop as more and more writers produce similar work. There are many pieces of literature that were considered unique, ahead of their time, or didn’t really fit in anywhere when they were published, but many of these pieces have since become icons of their genres like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or gave birth to a whole new way of writing such as James Joyce’s Ulysses.

While academics have studied various literary genres and the writers within those genres, there hasn’t been much (if any) critical work done to examine  interstitial pieces of literature or study done on interstitial literature as a whole. This is where Interficitons Zero comes into play. It is the start of the critical examination that interstitial literature so richly deserves, but hasn’t truly received until now.

In addition, the IAF has also developed the Interfictions 2: Study Guide to help academics who are using the Interfictions 2 anthology in the classroom. Between Interfictions Zero and the Interfictions 2: Study Guide, not to mention the Interfictions Series itself, the IAF is establishing a strong interstitial literature platform for writers, readers, and academics.

Interfictions Zero is a free online, rolling anthology of critical essays examining interstitial literature. One essay will be published every month and submissions for new essays are being accepted. The first essay in this collection is “Oscar Wao: Murdering Machismo” by Carlos Hernandez. Come read the essay. Let us know what you think.

Plus, it’s a great time to start thinking about what other literature deserves the interstitial spotlight, and you might even decide to write your own essay for submission to Interfictions Zero.

About Erin Underwood

BIO: Erin Underwood is the senior event content producer for MIT Technology Review’s emerging technology events. On the side, she reads, writes, and edits SF.
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