Behind My Editor’s Desk

by Lauren Eggert-Crowe

For the past year and a half, I’ve been interviewing badass women editors for this blog, asking about what they love about their jobs, what they’re looking for in submissions, and how they balance writing and editing. Today I’m going to talk about MY job as editor!

In April of 2016, I signed on as the Reviews Editor at A Journal of the Built and Natural Environments. I’d known about Terrain for ten years, having gone to grad school with editor in chief Simmons Buntin. I’d long admired Simmons as an editor and a friend, so when we caught up at AWP Los Angeles and he asked if I’d like to be part of the Terrain team, I jumped at the chance!

So, what is Terrain and what do we publish?

Terrain publishes poetry, fiction, essays, in-depth articles, interviews, and reviews. And what does “the built and natural environments” mean? It means anything related to ecosystems both biological and cultural: ecology, climate change, landscape, animals, biology, cityscapes, city culture, architecture, urban planning/design/culture/activism, wilderness theory, environmental activism, meditations on place, nature writing, etc.

As Reviews Editor, I’m looking for reviews of books that give us new perspective on the environments around us, the cities we build, the climate we’re altering. I want to publish reviews of books that go beyond the tired trope of white people wandering through the woods and having serene thoughts. I want to publish reviews of books that amplify the visibility of marginalized communities in wild spaces and life sciences. I particularly seek out books that examine the intersections of nature, race, class and/or gender.

Here are a few reviews we’ve published in the last year that I particularly like:

Los Angeles may be ugly, but it’s ours, by Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo

Xochitl wrote this review of LAtitudes: An Angeleno’s Atlas, a collection of essays about the landscape, history, and culture of Los Angeles

Building Fires in the Snow, by Erica Watson

Erica wrote this review of Building Fires In The Snow, an anthology of Alaskan fiction and poetry by LGBTQ writers.

The Inland Empire in Photos and Essays, by Erin Michaela Sweeney

This is a gorgeous book of photography and essays by Lewis deSoto, detailing his life growing up in The Inland Empire.

And we have other amazing reviews coming up as well. Right now, I am particularly looking for fiction reviews, as we have covered a lot of poetry and nonfiction lately. But I am open to any and all genres.

If you’re interested in writing book reviews but you never have before, that’s okay! I can help you through the process.

The VIDA Count numbers remind us of the importance of not just publishing women’s writing, but reviewing women’s books. So submit some pitches to Terrain!


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