There are situations one hopes never to find oneself in as an Editor, but today I write to share a gross oversight and an apology.
Earlier this morning, a concerned reader, Ana Prundaru, contacted me concerning a flash fiction piece we published in October of 2015. The piece in question, “Swallowed by the Sea,” was sent to Easy by B. Mitchell Cator. As verified through plagiarism software, this piece is a duplication of Townsend Walker’s “Slashing at the Nets.” Though we have removed the piece from our site, I encourage our readers to read this powerful flash as written, formatted, and attributed to its rightful author, as well as explore Mr. Walker’s other projects.
I sincerely apologize to Mr. Walker personally and professionally. As a fellow writer, I am sickened by this discovery. As an editor, I’m frustrated and embarrassed. That I did not intercept this piece as a fraud prior to publishing is my editorial mistake. For that oversight, I want to also apologize to our readers and sincerely thank Ms. Prundaru for bringing the situation to my attention.
Today has also brought the news that Easy Street is not the only entity on the receiving end of Mr. Cator’s duplicity. As with many small magazines, our editors work on a basis of trust with writers, the majority of whom are working hard to get their work in front of the world. For one writer to take the hard work of not just one, but many, talented authors, passing work off to journals whose missions are to champion writers and beautiful work is appalling, at best.
Here at Easy Street, we are writers, too — artists drafting, working, and submitting our own carefully crafted words, just like our submitters. We want to believe we are all in literature boat together, celebrating any rising tide. Easy Street will continue to lift up beautiful works and authors despite these frustrations. That said, we will be taking steps to ensure this does not happen again, even if it slows down our processes.
I hope that by sharing this error in a transparent fashion, other magazines and writers can avoid literary thievery and laud the rightful authors of published works. If you’d like to contact me with questions or comments, please do so by writing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or commenting below. Thank you for your time and patience we unravel this sorry mess.
Mea culpa, dear readers.