How did a new literary journal from SUNY Stony Brook Southampton snag an excerpt of Frank McCourt’s forthcoming first novel? The Southampton Review, launching July 27, isn’t your average scrappy college ’zine: Its 80-plus contributors include Jules Feiffer, Ursula Hegi, David Rakoff, Melissa Bank, and former Random House editor Daniel Menaker, among others. That’s because the journal’s publisher—SUNY professor Robert Reeves—also runs a hot-ticket writer’s confab during which big-time authors and playwrights hole up for an eleven-day-long bacchanal of dinners and pool parties at the Meadow Lane estate of billionaires Robert and Laura Sillerman. The writerly merrymaking is interrupted only by the periodic dispensing of wisdom to bookish young’uns who pay $2,050 to bask in so much erudition. “It’s a chance to take out your pail and shovel,” says Billy Collins, former U.S. poet laureate who wrote new poems for the Review. “There’s time to build sand castles.” When Reeves hit up some of the retreat’s lecturers for journal submissions, not one refused—in fact, he had to split the Review into two volumes.
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