Here it is — U.S. 1’s 18th annual Summer Fiction issue. In the beginning we thought it would be a nice little change of pace to our usual offerings of business news, technology breakthroughs, and arts and entertainment previews.

More recently we have begun to realize that it’s becoming a small but important landmark on the cultural horizon — a place where fiction writers and poets can share their work with the community at large, not just other fiction writers and poets. As one of our submitters this year remarked, “the Summer Fiction issue does wonders for our community of Princeton writers.”

But one thing it does not do is tell you who are the best writers and who are the best poets. As we remind everyone year after year, our Summer Fiction issue is not a contest. We have made no effort to objectively grade the submissions against any set of specific criteria, and then rank them for publication. Instead our readers sort them into three general categories: 1.) stories or poems they like a lot and would very much like to see in print; 2) stories or poems that would be nice to see in print; and 3.) stories and poems that just don’t make sense to them and probably wouldn’t make much sense to be printed.

Perhaps not surprisingly most of the stories fall into category 2. At that point we begin to look for connections. One story about a woman facing a temptation has a theme similar to another story — it would be interesting to pair those two so we can see how two writers handle that theme.

Some of the most interesting stories fall into category 3 for one reader, but category 1 or 2 for another reader. Sometimes our eyes are opened, and a submission that at first seemed incomprehensible (and unprintable) finds its way into the issue.

All the discussion that begins here in our office continues at our Summer Fiction reception. This year’s date and place: Thursday, August 21, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Tre Piani restaurant at Princeton Forrestal Village. As always we will have chit chat and hors d’oeuvres around a cash bar until around 6 p.m., and then the introductions of the writers and poets.

We hope that readers — an all important part of this equation — will join us on August 21.

#b#To the Editor#/b#

I just read Richard K. Rein’s touching piece in the July 16 issue about Walt Litz, my classmate at Princeton (1951). Based on your thesis story, he must have had a very special ability to communicate with students and to motivate them accordingly.

I knew him casually as a freshman, when he went out for cross-country — a team of which I was the captain. But after freshman year I rarely saw him, and I had even forgotten that he was on the faculty until I was reminded of that fact by his obituary. Obviously, he excelled as a student (Phi Beta Kappa, Rhodes Scholarship).

Dick Snedeker

West Windsor

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