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One Story Reaches Out to a New Audience: Teens

“I was inspired by how much kids loved the short story I gave them, and I want to explore doing that further.”

By Dennis Abrams

To celebrate its tenth anniversary, One Story, the magazine that contains one short story per issue, has announced the launch of a new magazine, One Teen Story, aimed at turning young readers into short-story lovers.

The idea came about when Editor Pei-Ling Lue was teaching writing to a group of kids who were curious about what she actually did at One Story. Most of the stories in One Story involved older protagonists, but there was one by YA author and Granta editor Patrick Ryan from a couple of years earlier featuring a young person. In “So Much For Artemis,” one of the characters has progeria, the rare genetic condition that causes rapid aging manifesting itself at an early age.

Lue gave the story to her students, who were fascinated. “It was surprising and kind of great how they took to the short story,” Lue said. “I was looking for publications that they could subscribe to or that they could submit stories to, and there really weren’t that many. So I took Maribeth Batcha (One Story’s publisher) out to lunch to let her know my idea — I had a long list of reasons why we should do this new magazine. And she immediately said, ‘I’d love to do it.’”

The resulting magazine, One Teen Story, with Lue as editor, will launch in September of this year. The format will be very much like that of its parent magazine: one story per issue, with a cover designed to make kids want to grab it. There’ll be nine issues per year — September through May. Eight of the issues will feature stories by professional writers (among those already signed up are David Levithan, Amy Bender and Gayle Forman). The May issue will feature the winning story from the magazine’s student writing contest, open to anyone between the ages of 14 and 19. (Details will be available on the magazine’s website.) The contest winner will get to work with an editor and get their story published – Gail Forman will judge the contest. “Basically,” Lue said, “what we wanted to do was sort of a take on the short story contest that Seventeen magazine used to sponsor, which was a jumping out point for several famous writers.”

The magazine, which will be available in print and digital editions, has already been the recipient of matching grants from both the NYSCA and NEA, and hopes are high that with further funding and donations, the magazine will be there to help inspire a new generation of both readers and writers. And for Lue, it brings together her love of the short story, of editing, and reaching out to young adults. “I was inspired by how much kids loved the short story I gave them, and I want to explore doing that further.”

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