What was your vision for Farallon Review, when you founded it three years ago?
Before I moved to Sacramento six years ago, I was part of a group of writers and lit-folk in San Francisco. We organized readings in various coffee houses and bars in the city. The Farallon Review grew out of those readings. We wanted to provide a forum for quality short fiction written by underappreciated, talented writers.
What do you look for when selecting stories for the review? How would you define “West Coast flavor?”
Fundamentally, we like stories that are both well written and have a narrative arc. But I think the stories we publish, especially the 11 pieces in our most recent issue, are quite diverse. The more traditional narratives are accompanied by some experimental pieces and some focused vignettes. Most of our writers are from California, so the “West Coast flavor” comes with the territory. But we’ve published pieces from writers who live all around the country.
Has your vision for the review evolved over time, based on what you’ve seen, and/or is it evolving the way you expected?
When we started, I wanted to produce two issues a year, but that just wasn’t possible, so we have become an annual. I like to release an issue when it is ready. As we’ve grown, more established writers feel comfortable submitting, and that’s great. Ideally, I like having a mix of established and emerging writers.
The publication presents the stories in a quietly dignified way. How did you decide on the concept and design?
I wanted the stories to reveal themselves, without bells and whistles, so to speak. Having a few photographs and images interspersed allows the reader to pause between stories. The images are intended to be thoughtful rather than confrontational. Scott Olling does terrific work on the layout and design.
Do you feel a need to support local/regional writers in the magazine or through other community outlets?
Absolutely. Writing and reading are solitary activities, so it is important to have a community so that we can encourage, share, and inspire.
What do you think is your role, or the review’s role, in the Sacramento literary community? How has the community received the review, the arts in general, and/or how do you see it evolving?
There is a growing grassroots lit-community in Sacramento. There are very supportive groups like the Sacramento Poetry Center, the crew at Luna’s, the bookstores like the Avid Reader and the Book Collector. Stories on Stage has been a great series. I’d like to see more events and more people supporting those events. We need to encourage folks to get off the couch, ditch the computer screen, and come out to a reading. Listen and share and interact. Think about language and art and the human condition. Hear a story, learn a truth.
Ana Cotham is a fiction writer who pays the bills by writing about the arts, lifestyle, health and medicine, pets and personalities, travel and more. She lives and plays in midtown Sacramento, where she has been a Stories on Stage staff member since its inception.