Volume 18 • Issue 8 | July 15-21, 2005



Aileen Torres

Rick Rofihe, creator of “Anderbo,” a new online literary journal featuring poetry, fiction and nonfiction.

New literary journal to launch

Established writer Rick Rofihe to publish new voices in “Anderbo”


Rick Rofihe has earned the distinction of being a successful writer. This Soho resident has had nine stories published by “The New Yorker,” which bought his first story, “Boys Who Do the Bop,” after Rofihe had spent about a decade—1978 to 1988—writing and trying to sell the piece. Despite never having taken a single writing class in his life and having grown up in a small town without a bookstore or library at the time—he devoured Walt Disney comic books and magazines as a kid—Rofihe has taught hundreds of courses on the craft of fiction at Columbia University, where he was a professor in the MFA program, the 92nd St. Y and the Gotham Writers’ Workshop.

But Rofihe, born in Bridgewater Nova Scotia in 1950, is getting a bit tired of all that. He’s not so interested in writing and promoting his own work anymore. Sometimes, when I finish a story, I don’t send it out for six months, if at all,” he said. “It used to be a hunger,” he explained about getting his work published, but it isn’t much of one now as he finds himself increasingly engaged in working with other writers to refine and publicize their work.

Hence, the birth of “Anderbo,” Rofihe’s new literary journal, which will launch an online edition this summer—at www.anderbo.com—with a print edition to come in September. The magazine will publish three issues online and one print issue annually. Donning the hat of publisher and fiction editor, Rofihe has chosen June Eding to be the journal’s poetry editor and Tony Antoniadis to be the “fact” editor. Anderbo will be a combination of stories, poems and short nonfiction pieces, including interviews. Eding has studied poetry, written children’s books and currently works for a publishing house. Antoniadis has a day job that has nothing at all to do with writing, but his work has been published in the author Dave Egger’s journal “McSweeney’s” and “Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood,” a website comprising stories by and about New Yorkers and run by the writer Thomas Beller, who is a friend of Rofihe. [Beller actually stopped Rofihe on the street one day and gave him cash then and there to write some nonfiction stories for the website. Rofihe has since written “The Bowery Scene” and “Things We Say To Cops (Things Cops Say to Us)” for the site.]

While he confesses to launching Anderbo on the fly—“I don’t really know what I’m doing,” he said—Rofihe has had significant experience in publishing. He became a small press publisher in Canada many years ago after getting a grant from the Canadian government, at which point he just started cranking out books, with, as it turned out, very successful sales results. He began to think about online literary publishing when he noticed several magazines publishing three or so issues a year in cyberspace. They would then cull a selection from their virtual editions to be published in book form. Rofihe himself had sold one of his stories to the New York University-affiliated journal “Epiphany,” which published his piece on its website.

“I had never had a story online before, but I find it nicer,” said Rofihe. “If your work is on the Web, anybody can find it anywhere at anytime. So, I just thought, why not [start a literary journal of his own]?” It would be a way to publish stories he’d read by other people—his students, for instance—that he thought were good, but perhaps wouldn’t fit into other journals. “People who want to publish want to make public things that are to their taste,” said Rofihe, who likes “quirky, small things.”

Once he got it in his mind to start his own literary magazine, he had to think of what to call it. When he went to register a name for the publication, all the possible titles he had come up with were already taken. Given that he had previously owned and run two publishing companies in Canada, Rofihe figured, why not fall back on one of those names? He chose the name of his second publishing company, Anderbo.

“Anderbo is a made up word,” explained Rofihe, “and the reason I made it up was, you know, like, it used to be when you said ‘mustang’ people would think ‘horse.’ But now, ‘mustang,’ it’s, like, a car built by Ford. I didn’t want to ruin a word, so I made up a new word. And then, when I went to register, I kept tossing out words, and they were all taken. So then, I said, ‘Anderbo!’ Which is a word that could not be taken because I made it up. And it was available, so Anderbo was reborn.”

Anderbo is still in its incipient stages, so it has yet to form a definitive style. But Rofihe has already selected three fiction stories to be included in the first issue. The poetry and nonfiction editors continue to seek and review submissions.

Although he can’t lay out specifics, Rofihe knows what he likes when he reads it. “If somebody can write a story that makes me forget I’m reading—just like if you were a storyteller in a non-literate society and you’re a storyteller with a cup, you have to draw in those listeners and keep them, because it’s at the end of the story that they drop the coins in the cup. So, you have to draw them in, build a world in their heads, get them interested, and hold on to them. And when I find a story like that, I want everybody to know about it. I’m much more interested in that story now than in my own stuff.” Rofihe continues to teach writing and is currently doing preliminary work on a screenplay.

Anderbo will accept submissions through Aug. 31. Those interested in submitting fiction should email their stories (no more than 3,500 words) to Rofihe at rrofihe@yahoo.com. Up to six poems may be submitted to Eding at juneeding@aol.com. Nonfiction pieces (maximum 750 words) may be sent to Antoniadis at tony.antoniadis@gmail.com.

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