Black Lawrence Press
October 19, 2014

Statement Regarding Elizabeth Ellen

Last week, Black Lawrence Press made the difficult decision to drop a novella written by Elizabeth Ellen from our forthcoming anthology, The Lineup. It was a novella that the press and the anthology editor particularly liked. The irony that it was being dropped from an anthology of provocative women writers was lost on no one. The decision was made in response to Ellen’s essay, “An Open Letter to the Internet,” posted on Hobart, where Ellen is also an editor. Our reactions to the essay itself were fairly straightforward: no one wished to support the content of what Ellen had written. For a very well-written and thoughtful response to Ellen’s essay that captures much of what we discussed as an editorial board, we invite you to read Mallory Ortberg’s “On Deciding What Counts: Elizabeth Ellen and What Makes a Victim” on the Toast.

The discussion about whether or not to drop Ellen’s novella from our anthology was much more complex. This was not a clear-cut conversation. Our opinions were nuanced and rangy. We chose the stance that we could support as a press, the one that actively challenges the views expressed in “An Open Letter to the Internet,” the one that draws a line between provocative and objectionably pernicious.