Farewell to Catapult
I am very sad about the shuttering of Catapult’s literary magazine and writing classes.
When I first started submitting stories, Catapult was my dream magazine. They published quirky fiction and beautiful essays and helpful columns. They didn’t take themselves too seriously but were also super-professional. I longed to write the kind of story that could find a home in Catapult.
Then my dream came true! In 2019, Catapult published this story about a mom and childhood and grief and the Midwest. (Looking back in my files, I see that I submitted it four days before giving birth, and I got the email with Stella Cabot Wilson’s acceptance four days after giving birth. I remember that in the dark early days of my birth injury, this email made me feel that everything would be okay, that there was something waiting for me on the other side.)
As an editor, Stella was thoughtful, kind, and considerate, and I will forever be grateful to her and the other amazing people I interacted with at Catapult over the years. I’m thinking of them this week, and I believe they’ll all go on to do other wonderful things, but right now just taking a minute to honor the sadness for what was a special place on the literary internet.
But I’m not just sad for Catapult’s former staff. I’ve been taking writing classes with Catapult since 2016 and have been lucky enough to be taught by people like Peter Orner, J. Courtney Sullivan, Mitchell S. Jackson, Lilly Dancyger, and a bunch of other fantastic teachers. All the contract writing teachers apparently found out about the closure on Twitter with the rest of us, so I’m sad for them, and I’m sad for me, too.
If this is all news to you, read the Publisher’s Weekly announcement and then see what the founder has decided to fund instead. According to the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, it was sometime between October 23 and November 1, 2022 that “Perception Box” was added to Catapult’s site nav, linking to a mission statement page, freshly edited with a bunch of links to the founder’s new venture.
As the idea that Catapult the magazine will be purely preserved online seems to be out of the question, I am off to go make a PDF of my published story!
On a hopeful note, Lilly wrote a helpful thread for teachers about how to take your classes independent, so I’m sure we’ll see lots of new classes popping up. I already signed up for a class through Writing Co-Lab, which features at least one former Catapult instructor and runs as a cooperative. It heartens me to see writers finding ways to do the work, to support the work, to get the work in the hands of readers.
One more note of gratitude to the people who made Catapult run on the day-to-day — thanks for making it the place it was. We loved it while we had it.