Mike Sager—an esteemed writer for the Washington Post, Rolling Stone, and Esquire for more than forty years, and his company The Sager Group—is partnering with EsquireClassic.com curator Alex Belth and NeoText Books for The Stacks Reader Series, which will highlight classic literary non-fiction and short fiction by great journalists that would otherwise be lost to history.
The living archive of memorable storytelling by notable authors will kick off with two works of literary journalism:
“An American Family” by Daniel Voll, a story of “transgressive love in the Midwest” about a pair of siblings who fall in love and have children, and “The Cheerleaders ” by E. Jean Carroll, a survey of an upstate New York community cursed by murder and suicide in their high school football and cheer program.
“Literary journalists are artists who deal in fact,” said Mike Sager. “We’re like jazz musicians; all of us who do the work have honed our chops reading and imitating the great storytellers who came before us. For decades, great magazines helped create and nurture the genre, but tons of classic content never made the switch to digital. Now with the help of NeoText and Alex Belth—the world’s leading magazine paleontologist—we’re on a mission to uncover, rediscover, and preserve.
There are a zillion great stories out there most people have never even heard of. They’re timeless. They’re the kind of stories movies are made from. And they need to be appreciated—as do their authors, who have agreed to be interviewed for the series as well.
Magazines, like newspapers, are a perishable medium, and not just physically,” said Alex Belth. “Writers, artists, and editors who are famous in one generation are neglected or forgotten by the next. Along the way, particularly in the second half of the 20th Century, the craft of literary non-fiction was honed to such a degree that, at its best, it approached art.
“A great magazine feature has all the compression of a short story and it is more daring, and fleshed-out than a traditional newspaper story. The idiom has been mastered by a select few, and I’m fortunate enough to be tasked with finding these literary truffles and presenting them as an essential part of our literary and cultural tradition.”
Back in 2020, Sager first partnered with digital publisher NeoText to release updated, expanded, and remixed versions of some of Sager’s classic reporting, as well brand new pieces of journalism written and developed by Sager.
“NeoText was founded upon the core principle of publishing ground-breaking work spanning multiple styles and formats,” said Nick Mennuti, NeoText’s Director of Narrative. “The Stacks Reader Series is the next evolutionary step in NeoText’s ongoing commitment to paying that mission forward.
These recently unearthed treasures will remind readers of journalism and short fiction’s hallowed past and act as inspirational avatars for the next generation of writers. It is our distinct honor and pleasure to help share them with the world.”
The series will launch on March 23rd with an interview between Mike Sager and series editor Alex Belth. The first books in the series—“An American Family” by Daniel Voll and “The Cheerleader” by E. Jean Carroll—will be available on March 24th and 25th respectively, digitally and in paperback on the NeoText website, Amazon, and wherever books and eBooks are sold.
About Mike Sager
Mike Sager is a best-selling author and award-winning reporter. A former Washington Post staff writer and contributing editor to Rolling Stone, he has written for Esquire for more than thirty years. Sager is the author or editor of more than a dozen books, including anthologies, novels, a biography, and textbooks.
In 2010 he won the National Magazine Award for profile writing. Several of his stories have inspired documentaries and films, including Boogie Nights; he is editor and publisher of TheSagerGroup.net. For more information, please see MikeSager.com.
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Image courtesy of Mike Sager