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The Perils of Writing Close to Home: Truth vs. Fiction

The Literary Life

September/October 2005

At no time on my book tour did I jump up and down, wave my fists, and scream, “It’s a novel! That means fiction!” At least I don’t think I did. It’s hard to be sure, because, in my head, I had that tantrum about three times daily as I traveled from town to town in southern Michigan, reading, signing books, and attending the Ann Arbor Book Festival. You see, my novel, Flight, was set in that region, where I had lived during my high school and college years.

 

The Status of a Classic

News and Trends

September/October 2005

This month the Library of America, the nonprofit publisher founded in 1979 to “preserve our nation’s literary heritage,” will release the first two installments of a planned eight-volume edition of Philip Roth’s collected fiction.

No Translation Takers

News and Trends

July/August 2005

Despite a $10,000 incentive from the Association of American Publishers to United States publishers willing to translate, publish, and promote contemporary Iranian fiction, no commercial houses have come forward since the initiative was announced in late 2004.

Myths We Live By, But Shouldn't: A Writer's Guide to Reality

The Practical Writer

July/August 2005

Perhaps because many writers and their adherents are poorly paid and often go unrecognized, they cultivate a variety of myths—some about the creative process, others about the profession itself—to justify what they do, to cheer themselves up, to inhabit a mystique.

The Transformation of James Frey

Feature

July/August 2005

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Two years after publishing a brutal, unflinching account of his drug addiction, James Frey is showing signs of becoming a kinder, gentler writer in his second memoir, My Friend Leonard.

Resuscitating Poetry Recitation

News and Trends

July/August 2005

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The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation recently completed the pilot phase of a new program designed to raise the profile of poetry in high schools.

Amazon Expands Search Function

News and Trends

July/August 2005

In case anyone was wondering, the four most frequently used words in T.S. Eliot’s 1943 collection Four Quartets are “time,” “past,” “fire,” and “end.” It is this kind of information that can be found by using one of several new features recently added to Amazon.com’s “Search Inside the Book” function, launched in October 2003. 

Literary MagNet

News and Trends

July/August 2005

Literary MagNet chronicles the start-ups and closures, successes and failures, anniversaries and accolades, changes of editorship and special issues—in short, the news and trends—of literary magazines in America. This issue's MagNet features Poetry, the Southern Review, Swivel: The Nexus of Women and Wit, 6x6, Ninth Letter, and Black Clock

Small Press Points

News and Trends

July/August 2005

Small Press Points highlights the happenings of the small press players. This issue features McSweeney’s Books, Believer Books, Tell Tale Press, and Wings Press.

The Contester: Who's Doing What to Keep Them Clean

News and Trends

July/August 2005

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Unfortunately, these days it is not the quality of the award-winning writing that gets people talking; it is the way in which contests are run and the manner in which winners are chosen—or not chosen, as the case may be—that attract attention.

 

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