D.C. Area Publishing House Fights Divisive Rhetoric with Nonpartisan Candor

KENSINGTON, MD — Frustrated by disconnected and myopic blog posts, Facebook comments, and tweets flung daily across the web, Atticus Books is uniting conversation in one place with Six Degrees Left, a series of frank discussions centered on a rotating theme of hot-­button topics across a wide spectrum of disciplines.

October’s inaugural Six Degrees Left discussion tackles the value of creative writing MFA programs, an especially controversial topic in light of criticism surrounding the ranking of universities offering the degree. Writers Matt Bell, Colin Fleming, Roxane Gay, Tara Laskowski, Matt Mullins, and JM Tohline are the first participants in the open communications forum.

“Six Degrees Left is a virtual think tank of discourse meant to combat, if not drown out, agenda-­driven rhetoric,” says Dan Cafaro, founder and publisher of Atticus Books. “Our series cuts to the core of society’s tipping point issues through a vibrant exchange of ideas with sensible, plainspoken thought leaders whose common attribute is an intimate understanding of the human condition.”

Atticus’ goals for the series include dismantling literary elitism and inciting critical discussion. “If you’re looking for signs of intelligent life and prefer that pundits leave their parochial prism at the doors of perception, you’ve come to the right place,” Cafaro says. With divisive cultural criticism on the rise, Six Degrees Left fills a need for diverse opinions valued by the premier advocates of independent thinking: bookstores, libraries, publishing houses, and the greater artistic community.

“Our panelists—many of them writers and multimedia artists—offer candor without partisanship,” Cafaro stresses. “Freeform, artistic dialogue is strikingly different—and often more colorful and enlightening—than the polarizing, black-­and-­white views of the sociopolitical community. The nuanced perspective of the artist in response to complex subject matters rises above the closed-­minded, ‘no-­spin zone’ hypocrisy that pervades our nation’s airwaves.”

Six Degrees Left is a monthly series of lively debates with topics ranging from the Occupy Wall Street protest to censorship and the creative use of public space.


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