Named after Mount Holyoke College founder Mary Lyon, The Lyon Review celebrates the finest creative writing from alumnae and faculty, and provides a supportive forum to discuss literature and the writing process. We know there are scores of talented women writers who haven’t yet been published but deserve to be, or have enjoyed publication, and perhaps have even won literary prizes or critical acclaim, but continue to find it difficult to gain a wider audience given the myriad changes and challenges the publishing industry increasingly faces. And there are plenty of newer writers, whether twenty-five or seventy-five , who are just starting to wrestle with their craft. The Lyon Review is dedicated to highlighting the work of the former and helping to inspire the latter.
Robin Black’s New York Times commentary, What’s so Great About Young Writers?, struck a huge chord with me. Far more than European or Asian cultures, Americans embrace the cult of youth, likely because we still are a fledgling nation ourselves and equate energy, innovation, freedom and individualism, all prized American values, with being young.
I am among those lucky enough to have grown up in the relative safety of middle-class America, where there was always healthy food on the table, a place to rest my head at night, money enough for ballet classes or piano lessons, and parents who strongly believed in the importance of education and cultural and social awareness of the larger world. I also am a product of a childhood in which of series of tragic deaths and illnesses resulted in a chaotic family life permanently scarred by trauma, loss and embitterment. When I was a child, novels, and to a lesser extent, movies and live theater, served both as my escape from that traumatic chaos and also as a way to help me make sense of it. As such, books were these miraculous gifts created by mysterious, sentient beings known as authors, who were as remote as they were omnipotent.