The Bookshelf: Monadnock Literary Journal Brings Regional Writers Together

Feb 28, 2020

Editor Kellie DiLoreto (far left), creative director Chris DiLoreto (left), editor-in-chief Zoë Wroten-Heinzmann (right), and editor Jesse Millican (far right).
Credit Monadnock Underground

The second issue of the literary journal Monadnock Underground is set to release next week. The collection brings together more than a dozen pieces of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, mostly by local writers.

The launch party for the newest volume will take place at the Peterborough Public Library on Friday, March 6.

Editor-in-chief Zoë Wroten-Heinzmann and creative director Chris DiLoreto spoke with NHPR's Peter Biello about the release of their latest issue.

  Editor's note: This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity. 

Biello: In your introduction to this volume, Zoë, you write, “We don’t hibernate” - meaning humans don’t. It’s a part of what makes us who we are. And I think it was meant metaphorically and also as a way to frame the pieces in this new volume of Monadnock Underground. Can you talk a little bit about that phrase and what it means to you, “We don’t hibernate”?

Wroten-Heinzmann: So I feel like in the winter, you know, we look around us and we see everything is dying around us. But we really, as humans, don't have that option. You know, some of the pieces in this volume talk about death. And it is an ending that we all face. But while we're alive, we don't really have the option to just stop and renew ourselves the way that plants and animals do. And I feel like that is that's something that's really important to me to get me through the winter. And it's also, you know, to get us all through life. I think that we have to like... We might need to rest and we might need to slow down, but we can't just stop everything.

Biello: And how did you both, Chris and Zoë, come together to work together on a project like this?

DiLoreto: Well, that's kind of a funny answer, because we actually met through political activism and we've since retired from that. And we actually work together at a Unitarian Universalist church and just became friends socially as well. And our families hang out together and everything. And so this just became our latest in a string of projects.

Biello: And so what made you want to put a journal like this together?

Wroten-Heinzmann: So part of the reason that we started Monadnock Underground was because we looked around and there's so much going on in the Monadnock region. And we have so many friends who are writers. And we were kind of... we were writing and publishing stuff online. And we had this idea, like, what if we combine forces and just see what happens if we can start pulling all this other creative writing energy around us. You know? Tried to start pulling it together and see what comes from that.

And Zoë, can you tell us about a piece in here that particularly moved you?

Wroten-Heinzmann: Yeah. So we have a piece called "Here Be Dragons" by New Hampshire author Dan Szczesny. And it's about kind of the loss of magic in his child's life and dealing with that. And that one particularly speaks to me because I also am a parent of two young kids who are, you know, at that age where they're starting to have to question the magic that they've kind of lived with and taken for granted. So that one speaks to me on a personal level, as well as being great writing.

Do you have to be living in the Monadnock region to have work included in this book?

DiLoreto: Definitely not. No. In fact, I'd say it's about 50/50 in terms of people living there. Most folks have some sort of tie, if not directly to the Monadnock region, but to New Hampshire. But it is not a mandatory requirement.

Okay. And how are people in the Monadnock region reacting to this?

DiLoreto: Very, very warmly. You know, we started this project just over a year ago, and it's kind of amazing to me the extent to which we... not necessarily as individuals, but as this project, as Monadnock Underground have become known in the area. I mean, people... it sounds funny to even say this, but we almost have like a brand recognition, like people recognize the logo. Even if they haven't read our articles, they kind of have a sense of what we're all about and what the project is.

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