July/August 2002

In Peter Cameron's fiction, witty, verbally defended characters struggle to identify and sate life's vague, unnamable longings.

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Limning the Elusive: An Interview with Peter Cameron

by David Bahr
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A profile of fiction writer Peter Cameron.

The Only Way Out is Deeper In: A Conversation with David Shields

by Andrew C. Gottlieb
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An interview with fiction writer David Shields.

Just Say Yes: A Profile of April Bernard

by Joanna Smith Rakoff
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An interview with poet April Bernard.

Literary Premieres: Five Fiction Writers and Their American Debuts

by Carolyn T. Hughes
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Debut authors Terrence Cheng, Yann Martel, Lenore Hart, Adam Haslett, and Steve Almond.

News and Trends

Putting a Price on Writers Who Read

by Diana Abu-Jaber

Giving a public reading, for most writers, involves a good deal of anxiety, a powerful dose of pride in one's work, and the cool relief of getting through the experience without humiliation. Payment often comes in the form of applause. But for those writers whose names regularly appear on book jackets and prize announcements, public readings can mean big business—and big paychecks.

Directions for Armchair Travelers

by Dalia Sofer

In January, National Geographic Books launched a series that offers a different kind of travel book—one that uses the unique perspective of a writer to explore the larger implications of place.

Move Over, Oprah

by Joy Jacobson

Writers, publishers, and bookstore owners who have profited a great deal from the success of Oprah's Book Club reeled from the announcement on April 5 that Oprah Winfrey had made her last monthly book club selection, for nothing else could elevate a book to the status of best-seller quite like it.

The Literary Life

The Norton Anthology of Greeting Cards

by Andy Borowitz
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Greeting card literature that some poets might have made (if they were alive and willing).

On Essays: Literature’s Most Misunderstood Form

by Michael Depp

This is not an essay. Though maybe, in a way, it is. Because it's a strange thing about essays—even talking about them, trying to get at what they are, it's hard not to cleave to the spirit of the essay, that inconclusive, most outwardly formless of forms, which spills and seeps into so many other kinds of writing-memoir, feature, commentary, review—and punctuates every assertion with a qualification, a measure of doubt, an alternate possibility.