A fresh look at the world of writing with a particular focus on the US, The New Review looks beyond British publishing to the flip side of the Atlantic, where the literary scene innovates and excels.
A graduate of the University of Leeds and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Isabel is interested in American literature and popular culture, and their relationship with the UK.
American storytelling is everywhere. From the flood of television and film cascading out of Hollywood’s never-ending reserves, to the teenage TikTok stars making waves across the world, voices from America dominate every form of media we consume. A total force in the production and export of entertainment and communications, content bursts at the seams of the United States at a monumental rate.
As a nation dreamt-up by its earliest settlers, America was authored into existence. Mythologies of a divine calling and manifest destiny to colonise a land not their own blinded America’s earliest actors, who concocted an illusion of reality along the storylines they wished to believe. America, the land of opportunity; a place where dreams see no limits.
With no pre-modern history with which to direct its culture, the early American identity had only its imagination to guide the story of its being. Plucking fabrications out of thin air to design laws, customs and geography, America had no tradition to look back on, only a future one to create, and so became etched into the heart of a nation built on fictions an insatiable desire to narrate.
From the transcendental philosophy in the East, right through to the ambitions of Hollywood executives and social media titans out West, what unifies American storytelling across a wildly diverse group of people is the imagination beyond borders and the innovation beyond convention. The frontier of possibility, in whichever context of the culture, is constantly pushed and expanded. Writers and artists to inventors and scientists flirt with new modes of reality.
American storytelling across all its myriad forms is always reinventing itself because America is enshrined in re-invention, re-narration and re-creation. American storytelling, the permission to imagine greater things, is a provocative, problematic, fantastical tradition that pushes modern writing to the edge.
Like the narrative tradition of the American imagination, the country’s storytelling industries are disruptive. In the publishing world alone, writers enjoy a broader range of opportunities to get noticed (outlets like the New Yorker’s flash fiction and Brad Listi’s colossal writer’s podcast have no equivalent in the UK). Academics are embracing the technological revolution and building artificial intelligence machines for literary analysis. Universities teach a much broader range of literary traditions outside of the Euro-American convention and encourage a greater interrogation of the canon. The self-publishing of books with Amazon and Kindle, a route set to grow in popularity in years to come, is spearheaded in the US.
The business of writing in America from inception to output is innovative and ambitious. Looking to the other side of the pond for inspiration and insight, The New Review considers the modern world of writing, one blog post at a time.