July/August 2010

July/August 2010 cover

Our tenth annual roundup of the summer's best debut fiction, an insider's guide to what literary agents do for you, an interview with Pulitzer Prize-winning poet C. K. Williams, and Steve Almond's story of self-publishing success.


Pulse, Clock, Calendar: A Profile of C. K. Williams

by Allan M. Jalon
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C. K. Williams offers some straight talk on what's changed and what's stayed the same—about him and his work—since his poetry debut forty-one years ago.

First Fiction 2010

by Staff
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For our tenth annual debut-fiction roundup, we found an especially innovative group of new authors—James Kaelan, Belle Boggs, Aaron Michael Morales, Michelle Hoover, and Jacob Paul—whose books are published by equally forward-thinking independent...

Literary Agents


Necessary Agent

by Jofie Ferrari-Adler

An editor reveals how the best agents—Molly Friedrich, Jud Laghi, Chris Parris-Lamb, Scott Moyers, and Jennifer Joel among them—work behind the scenes to help their clients’ books get the attention they deserve.

Anatomy of an Author Agreement

by Julie Barer
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An agent deciphers the most important clauses in a publishing contract.

Seek and You Shall Sign

by Eryn Loeb
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How agents find potential clients, and what writers can do to seal the deal.

News and Trends

Roosevelt's Writers

by Kevin Nance

The Federal Writers' Project was established seventy-five years ago, and according to one author and documentary filmmaker, it was a watershed event, if not a turning point, in the history of American literature. Employing up to 7,500 people annually during its four-year run, the Writers’ Project nurtured a generation of authors who otherwise might have been forced into nonliterary careers.

American Wins Rolex Mentorship

by Alex Dimitrov

The Rolex Mentor and 
Protégé Arts Initiative recently announced that this year’s mentor in literature, German writer Hans Magnus Enzensberger, has chosen as his protégée American poet Tracy K. Smith. This is the fifth year a mentorship has been awarded to a writer, and the first time the winning writer has hailed from the United States.


Page One: Where New and Noteworthy Books Begin

by Staff

With so many good books being published every month, some literary titles worth exploring can get lost in the stacks. Page One offers the first lines of a dozen recently released books, including Aimee Bender's The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake and Joshua Mohr's Termite Parade, as the starting point for a closer look at these new and noteworthy titles.

Literary New Orleans, Post-Katrina

by Nicole Cooley

On the 
fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, several local and national arts organizations, including the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society and the Poetry Society of America, are presenting readings in New Orleans to commemorate all that was lost—the lives, homes, businesses, and communities—and to celebrate a flourishing of the literary arts in the area since the storm.

3 for Free

by Staff

In this regular feature, we offer a few suggestions for podcasts, smartphone apps, Web tools, newsletters, museum shows, and gallery openings: a medley of literary curiosities that you might enjoy.

Digital Digest: The Changing Economics of E-books

by Adrian Versteegh

Apple’s entry into the e-book market has given publishers the leverage they needed to force a marketwide shift from a wholesale to an “agency” model of e-book retailing, but the long-term impact of the move—for both publishers and authors—remains unclear.


Small Press Points

by Staff

Small Press Points highlights the happenings of the small press players. This issue features Blue Hour Press, an independent poetry publisher in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, that is “dedicated to bridging the gap between the beauty and tradition of print and the accessibility and possibility of the Web, releasing digital chapbooks that are satisfying, respectable, and innovative.”

The Written Image: Race Car Poetry

by Staff

Race car driver Alex Grabau has customized his car with a decal of a poem by Jim Daniels. From July 9 to 11, Grabau will compete in Giants Despair, an uphill race in Laurel Run, Pennsylvania. He will race again at the Duryea Hillclimb in Reading, Pennsylvania, from August 20 to 22.

Literary MagNet

by Staff

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 Isotope, Gigantic, Bombay Gin, Ploughshares, the Harvard Review, and Prairie Schooner.

The Practical Writer

Bullseye: How to Submit to Glimmer Train Stories

by Staff
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A guide to submitting to Glimmer Train Stories, one of the go-to magazines for literary agents scouting new talent.

Self-Publishing Steve: Part 2—Making the Dream a Reality

by Steve Almond
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Author Steve Almond explores DIY ways to promote, market, and extend the "shelf life" of a self-published book.

The Literary Life

Why We Write: To Get the Words Out

by Scott Hartman
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A writer examines how his stuttering, though a hardship in childhood, helped shape his writing.