July/August 2003

Each summer we feature five writers who are publishing their debut novels or short story collections. This year we introduce Keith Kachtick, Kate Moses, Courtney Angela Brkic, Mary Yukari Waters, and someone you may know from a different venue, the Pulitzer Prize–winning (for drama) Suzan-Lori Parks.


What Fools These Mortals Be: A Profile of Norman Rush

by Sandy Asirvatham
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Norman Rush's first novel, Mating, won the National Book Award in 1991. Since then, he has been writing the just-published Mortals. Did his first novel's success serve up a decade-long case of writer's block? Not at all. In fact,...

First Fiction: Five Fiction Writers and Their Literary Premieres

by Carolyn T. Hughes
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Debut fiction writers Keith Kachtick, Kate Moses, Courtney Angela Brkic, Mary Yukari Waters, and Suzan-Lori Parks, aside from sharing enviable talent, could not be more different.  


Editors on Reviews

by Jane Ciabattari

Book review editors—those powerful yet inundated tastemakers who choose from the more than 130,000 new books published each year the mere shelfful that are reviewed—get used to (and bored with) having nasty motives ascribed to them. This second installment of a three-part series on book reviews examines the subject at hand from the perspective of the assigning editors, who would like to set the record straight.

News and Trends

New Leaders for Literary Nonprofits

by Kevin Larimer

mong organizations hit hardest during the post-9/11 era, in which funding for the arts has been sharply curtailed, literary nonprofits are struggling to simultaneously serve their missions and remain solvent. Despite the economic downturn, two nonprofit organizations—Milkweed Editions, a small press based in Minneapolis, and the St. Mark's Poetry Project in New York City—have maintained financial stability, but more challenges lie ahead: The directors of both organizations, Emilie Buchwald and Ed Friedman, recently retired. 

Literary MagNet

by Kevin Larimer

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 the Believer, Partisan Review, Mid-American Review, the Paris Review, One Story, 32 Poems Magazine, and Tin House


The Dorothy Parker Book Battle

by Suzanne Pettypiece

On April 4, United States District Court Judge John F. Keenan ruled in favor of Stuart Y. Silverstein in a plagiarism suit he filed against Penguin Putnam in 2001. Silverstein, who compiled Not Much Fun: The Lost Poems of Dorothy Parker (Scribner, 1996), claimed in his lawsuit that Penguin infringed on his copyright by publishing Dorothy Parker: Complete Poems, which includes a section titled “Poems Uncollected by Parker,” the identical poems published in Not Much Fun.


Mr. Wolfe, You Can Go Home Again

by Suzanne Pettypiece

Five years ago, in the early morning of July 24, 1998, Thomas Wolfe’s childhood home in Asheville, North Carolina, was nearly destroyed by fire. Since then, conservation specialists and staff at the Thomas Wolfe Memorial have worked to reconstruct the museum and hope to reopen it this fall.

B&N Launches Classics Imprint

by Dalia Sofer

They don’t command the best-seller lists, nor do they show up on reviewers’ desks, but the classics—those books of enduring quality that year after year grace high school and college syllabi and circulate in community book clubs—are the cash cows of the publishing industry: reliable, predictable, and above all, steady sources of revenue. Penguin Classics, Oxford World’s Classics, Bantam Classics, Dover Publications, and the Modern Library are among the leading publishers of their kind in the United States. This spring, Barnes & Noble joined them with its own imprint: Barnes & Noble Classics.

Page One: Where New and Noteworthy Books Begin

by Staff

Page One features a sample of titles we think you'll want to explore. With this installment, we offer excerpts from A Million Little Pieces by James Frey and Big Back Yard by Michael Teig

The Practical Writer

How to Land an Agent: Strategies for the Search

by Noah Lukeman
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A New York–based literary agent gives advice on how to seek representation.  

The Literary Life

And Also, I Write: The Fading Tradition of Avocation

by Michael Depp
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In literature's long history, the full-time, professional writer is a relatively recent development.  

Obscurity: The Persistence of the Unknown Writer

by Don Skiles
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A writer struggles with the question, If one does not win in the arts, is one a loser?