Nina Bayer never expected to receive so much international attention when she launched her short story magazine, Lunch Hour Stories, in January 2006. But since then she has received story submissions from writers as far away as Bulgaria, Greece, India, and even the Republic of Moldova , which she had to locate on a map. "It's northeast of Romania," she says. "I guess you can never underestimate the power of the Internet."
Lunch Hour Stories magazine is the literary offshoot of Lunch Hour Book Publications, Bayer's publishing company operated from her home in Bothell. She designed the magazine around the motto, The best sixty minutes of your day!" ... because people are busy, and because short stories are great for people on the go." She created a magazine that could fit easily into a purse, briefcase or backpack, and be read in less than sixty minutes. "Being short on time is, apparently, universal, because the concept caught on. In the first year I received over 4,000 requests for information about the magazine."
Because the classes at UW Bothell are so enriched with cultural awareness, the world became just that much smaller to me.Nina Bayer IAS '05
Bayer, who turned 50 in August and just completed a Master of Fine Arts degree at the Whidbey Writers Workshop, started the company and the magazine after her graduation from UW Bothell as a way of financially supporting her endeavors as a graduate student and as a writer. But, she says, it was her experiences at UW Bothell that inspired her to do more.
"Because the classes at UW Bothell are so enriched with cultural awareness, the world became just that much smaller to me. As I learned about art, religion, history, and literature, people in other countries started to seem less far away, less different. And it was this feeling of universal kinship that gave me the confidence to reach beyond my own writing and find other writers, both nationally and internationally, and help them get their work published. I had no idea, though, that I would reach so far, or touch so many lives. I have made new friends all over the world, and published stories that really needed to be told."
Besides publishing, Bayer speaks to schools, community organizations, and in-home writing and reading groups, promoting the literary arts. "In an ever-increasing electronic world, I believe in preserving the integrity of the printed word. I don't publish stories online, and I work hard to introduce writers and readers to short stories, literary magazines and chapbooks. There's nothing better than a great story, especially if you can hold it in your hands."
Lunch Hour Stories magazine appeals to all readers, because each story is as unique as the writer who writes it. Upcoming issues include a story about arranged child marriage from a writer in Chennai, India; a story about a girl with Progeria, a disease that prematurely ages her, from a writer in Louisiana; and a story about witches in Nigeria from a writer in Italy.