When I set up Ellipsis in June last year, I knew that I wanted this website to be purely about work submitted and not about me, but I’ve been struggling with something for a few months now and it’s time to have my say and then take a break. For how long that will be, I’m not sure yet.
So here is my first, and potentially my last post.
For anyone that was scheduled for publication, I can only apologise but I know your amazing words will find a new home someplace else. ** [update below] For those due to be published in ‘Two’, I will do my best to produce a free digital download * [update below] shortly but, if after reading this post, you wish to withdraw your work from this publication, please let me know.
Anyone in the website archive who wishes to have their work removed, please also let me know.
This brief shut-down also impacts on the reading event planned for early March. This has now been cancelled. Thank you to everyone who helped with organising it and those who offered to read.
For anyone who has paid for a zine subscription, you will receive a full refund in the next few days and I will prevent any future payments being taken by PayPal. Please double-check your own account to ensure that has been actioned.
I will keep the site live as it stands for the next few weeks at least. After then, I honestly don’t know. ** [update below]
For all those that don’t know what is going on, I’ll try and explain my situation as best I can.
I was told about issues regarding two male writer in November last year, and having been initially concerned about their behaviour, I contacted a lot of people privately to get their opinions on what had gone on. Why? Well, because it seemed like the right thing to do.
The type of behaviour that was being discussed was completely unacceptable and has no place in this or any community, so I knew I needed to try and get other confirmations before making any judgements.
I heard from editors, writers, friends and followers and there were a lot of differing interpretations of what did or didn’t happen. I also approached the writers independently, for their version of events. I’m in no way defending anyone, pointing fingers or taking sides. As I said, I spoke to the writer independently, which, it appears, only a handful of other people had done. (For clarity, I don’t know them beyond a few brief twitter exchanges and have no allegiance with either of them.)
So, putting aside the fact that I don’t think that any of this was really any of my business, from the information I had, I took the decision that I shouldn’t get involved or make any judgments on the situation, either way.
I acknowledge people’s distress and I’m not invalidating that, my focus at that time was on the impact it would have on the lit community. I’m not saying that these writer hadn’t made mistakes from what I heard, and they both subsequently confirmed, but there are different perspectives on behaviour, and because of that, I didn’t see why they should lose their opportunity to publish work, on my website at least. Every other lit mag editor is of course completely free to manage their contributor list and content how they see fit and I would never presume to tell them how to run their publications.
When I heard the allegations I initially took down their work, but then I re-instated it.
Since then, one of these writers submitted work to a forthcoming zine and, via a blind reading process, their work was selected to be included. I now needed to either reject this work outright or allow it to be printed.
Taking into account all that I thought I knew about the situation above, I decided to publish this work.
Because of the comments and emails I’ve since received, and the twitter posts that have been directed at this lit mag, I’ve decided to put everything on hold before my editorial decision inadvertently affects anyone that is associated with or has been published by this website.
Regardless of this, I still feel that I’m neither in a position, or have enough evidence about the events, to make a judgement I would be happy with. But, it appears, that my failure to take a public stance either way has been seen, by some, as an endorsement of the behaviour being discussed. This is absolutely not the case.
Thank you for the past eight months.
“There are three sides to every story: your side, my side, and the truth. And no one is lying. Memories shared serve each differently.” Robert Evans
* update 3 Feb
Ellipsis Zine: Two will be printed as originally planned and will be available later this month. All contributor authors will receive page proofs early next week.
Moving forward with future zines and the online mag, I’m currently in talks with a group of writers to join the publication as an editorial board. This will ensure that the correct decisions are made in the future.
** update 5 Feb
I will be contacting all authors who had work scheduled to appear, with the aim of making this work live shortly. No new submissions will be accepted until our editorial board is in place.
Thank you for your patience.