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Poets & Writers Magazine

    Yesterday, the New York City–based PEN American Center announced its new PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, an annual prize honoring a book in any genre that has “broken new ground and signals strong potential for lasting influence.” The winner will receive $75,000.

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Your trusted source for information on writing contests, grants for writers, and more.

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    "Reading and writing allows us to be empathic. And without empathy, I think, our society would be at a total loss. I think in that way, writing can affect great change." Poets Nathaniel Mackey and Cathy Park Hong answer questions from New York City high school students about writing and inspiration at a live Writers at Work event hosted by 92nd Street Y with the Paris Review.


    “When I feel like my identity as a writer is threatened by my flaws, failures, and limitations of health, I can become overwhelmed by fear so profound, I..."


    “Writing itself is such a solitary act that when I am finishing a project I often feel lonely to the point of distraction. I combat that isolation by surrounding myself..."

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    by Ander Monson

    Ander Monson, editor of DIAGRAM and author of Letter to a Future Lover, leads a literary tour of Tucson, Arizona, home of the renowned UA Poetry Center.

    by Jenny Shank

    In this tour of the Mile High City, novelist Jenny Shank visits the sites, writing groups, organizations, and presses that keep her hometown's literary spirit alive in the bootstrapping tradition of those “roaring drunken miners” who founded it.

    by Jen Michalski

    Author Jen Michalski takes us on a tour of the many literary sites writers should visit while strolling the gritty streets of Baltimore.

    by Oscar Casares

    From the long-standing tradition of the Texas Book Festival to the offbeat O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships, acclaimed author Oscar Casares highlights a range of literary happenings and haunts in Austin, a city that pledges to keep it weird.

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Our Literary Agents Issue features an in-depth interview with the four agents who founded the Book Group; our sixteenth annual roundup of the summer's best debut fiction, including Yaa Gyasi's novel Homegoing; Benjamin Percy on superpowered storytelling; an interview with Carolyn Kellogg of the Los Angeles Times; a Q&A with Ruth Curry and Emily Gould of Emily Books; and more. 

Jul/Aug 2016

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Ampersand Episode

The eighth episode of Ampersand features a preview of the new issue of the magazine; a clip from an interview with the four literary agents that make up the Book Group; original readings by debut novelists Yaa Gyasi, Rumaan Alam, and Imbolo MBue; and more.

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Reviewers & Critics: Carolyn Kellogg of the Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times book editor Carolyn Kellogg talks MFAs, publishing optimism, and how she’s revolutionizing her new position in the shifting landscape of book reviews.

Agents & Editors: The Book Group

Four veteran agents talk about the business of books, the secret to a good pitch, and what authors should do in the lead-up to publication.

Rock, Paper, Scissors: Agent, Writer, Editor (Reflections From Someone Who’s Been All Three)

A publishing-industry veteran who has worked as an agent, writer, and editor explores how her various experiences have helped her make decisions about both her own career and that of other writers.

Q&A: Curry, Gould Expand Emily Books

The founders of revivalist press Emily Books talk about their recent partnership with Coffee House Press, staying true to their ethics, and sustaining the future of “weird books by women.”

James Patterson’s Innovative Instinct

In his latest publishing venture, blockbuster novelist James Patterson has launched his “lightening-paced” novel series, BookShots, part of his ongoing efforts to support literacy and reach new readers.

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First Fiction 2016


In our sixteenth annual First Fiction roundup, five debut authors—Yaa Gyasi, Masande Ntshanga, Rumaan Alam, Maryse Meijer, and Imbolo Mbue—discuss their first books. Introduced by Angela Flournoy, Naomi Jackson, Emma Straub, Lindsay Hunter, and Christina Baker Kline.

An Open Door: A Profile of Richard Russo


For the past thirty years, from the publication of his first novel, Mohawk, to his latest, Everybody’s Fool, a sequel to his beloved 1993 novel, Nobody’s Fool, Richard Russo, the Pulitzer Prize–winning “patron saint of small-town fiction,” has remained the same generous, optimistic, hardworking writer he’s always been, welcoming readers into his books and his heart.

Pushcart Prize Turns Forty


The Pushcart Prize, a venerable nonprofit award series and press, released its fortieth-anniversary prize anthology this month. On the eve of its release party, Poets & Writers staff looked into the history of the prize, and what has kept "one of the last bastions of non-corporate writing" alive and well over the years.

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Gallery Book Group
Credit: Tony Gale

Four veteran agents who formed the Book Group talk about the business of books, the secret to a good pitch, and what authors should do in the lead-up to publication.

Gallery Imbolo Mbue
Credit: Kiriko Sano

In our sixteenth annual First Fiction roundup, five debut authors including Yaa Gyasi, Rumaan Alam, and Imbolo Mbue (pictured) discuss their first books.

Gallery Traveling Stanzas
Credit: Traveling Stanzas

The Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University is expanding its programming and bringing poetry to a wider audience with Traveling Stanzas. 

Gallery DC Comics
Credit: DC Comics

Fiction writer Benjamin Percy shares what he’s learned from writing comics, and how the process has helped shaped his narrative voice.