A gentlemanly riposte to email is being launched by the literary world as Dave Eggers heads a group of authors who are turning instead to the old-fashioned letter.

The critically acclaimed author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is joining in with a new initiative from American arts magazine the Rumpus, which is offering readers the opportunity to receive a letter a week from literary names including Eggers himself, Tao Lin, Stephen Elliott, Nick Flynn, Margaret Cho, Elissa Schappel, Emily Gould and Jonathan Ames. “Think of it as the letters you used to get from your creative friends, before this whole internet/email thing,” urged the Rumpus. “Most of the letters will include return addresses (at the author’s discretion) in case you want to write the author back.”

The Rumpus editor and author Elliott said the response to “Letters in the Mail” so far had been “overwhelming”, with almost 1,500 subscribers and growing. “I had the idea because I’m a letter writer and I miss writing and receiving letters,” he said. “I’ve always written lots of letters. Fifteen years ago when my then girlfriend was travelling Europe I would send her letters poste restante to whichever town she was supposed to arrive in next. The letters were often written by hand and as long as 20 pages. I had the idea on a Monday evening three weeks ago today and announced it the next morning. But I did not realise the response would be so overwhelming.”