Queens was alive in Astoria on Friday night for the launch party of Queens-based first literary journal, Newton Literary. Newton Literary journal features poems, shorts, essays, and reviews from emerging and upcoming writers from Queens, New York. Did you know that when Queens was first created as one of 12 counties of New York State in 1683, Queens County consisted of 6 towns: Newton, Flushing, Jamaica, North Hempstead, Hempstead, and Oyster Bay. Newton (today it is known as Elmhurst) became one of the first towns of the borough of Queens in 1898. Thus, it is only appropriate that Queens’ first literary journal be called Newtown.
The launch party took place at Waltz-Astoria, a coffee/wine bar and performance space tucked away in Astoria, New York. Walking up the street to the wine bar on a chilly Friday night, the street was quiet, only lit up by Christmas lights of every other house. But then as soon as you entered the bar, the lights, the lively crowd, and smell of hot chocolate and white wine hit you immediately. If you were able to find a seat among the energized crowd, you found yourself sitting next to fellow writers, artists, and contributors of Newtown Literary Journal’s first issue. I myself was sitting next to Richard Newman, a professor at Nassau Community College, writer, and host of Jackson Height’s Poetry Festival open mic night every Tuesday. The crowd was joined by two things: writing and Queens. The readings by five of the journal’s contributors shed light that Queens was not just a geographic location or compilation of zip codes; Queens is a state of mind that needs to be celebrated.
What makes Newtown Literary Journal even more special is that it is a brainchild from one of our new workshop leaders, Tim Fredrick. Fredrick states that he received over 133 submissions for the first semi-annual issue and raised enough money to print 200 copies which is proof that the literary world is alive and growing in Queens. Fredrick has also created Newtown Literary Alliance, a nonprofit organization to foster the borough’s literary talent.
Newtown Literary Journal’s first issue is available for purchase in both online and print format. They are currently accepting submissions for its next issue. They look for innovative pieces that connect with audiences on a deep level in both fiction and non-fiction works, poetry, essays, and book reviews. For more information, check out: NewtownLiterary.org.