Curating diverse voices to tell a larger story
The St. Louis Anthology was a 2019 addition to Belt Publishing’s (Cleveland) City Anthology Series, a collection of non-fiction and poetry anthologies that tell stories from cities in the Midwest and Rust Belt. As editor of The St. Louis Anthology, I worked with more than 60 writers to craft their pieces.
One of the guiding principles behind this project was to let St. Louisans tell their own stories in their own words, instead of prioritizing the voices of established writers. This meant substantial outreach to different individuals and communities to make sure the collection reflected the diverse voices of the city, and also close collaboration with contributors who did not have a background in writing. My role was to coach them in the fundamentals of writing and storytelling, while preserving their unique voice. The work paid off. After The St. Louis Anthology was released, the pieces that received the most acclaim were those written by people who were not professional writers.
-Crafting a call for submissions and outreach strategy
-Organizing and reviewing submissions, curation of final collection
-Some fundraising for contributor honoraria
-Maintaining and communicating project schedule to contributors
-Editing and revision of more than 60 essays, stories, and poems
-Collaboration and coaching for contributors who were not professional writers
-Event planning, media appearances, basic marketing
“One of America’s most infamous river cities comes roaring to life in this haunting, enigmatic, and musical literary anthology…St. Louis–raised, Chicago-based journalist Schuessler presents a mix of prose and poetry. The book assumes the herculean task of bringing to life a city that is integral to American history while also proving unfindable on a map by most Americans…Divided into three sections—Histories, Memories, and Realities—the anthology gives readers a dazzling portrait of a Midwestern city whose relationships among socio-economics, religion, civil rights, and class are consistently complex.”
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch: ‘St. Louis Anthology’ wrangles unusual true stories from every corner
St. Louis Public Radio: ‘The St. Louis Anthology,’ a newly released treasure trove of local voices
The Riverfront Times: The St. Louis Anthology tells the city’s story, warts and all