July/August 2012

Our Literary Agents Issue features a look behind the scenes at the offices of Folio Literary Management as well as the stories of how three authors found their agents; plus our twelfth annual roundup of debut fiction, the literary art of name branding, reflections on the postpublication journey, and more.


Me, You, and Charles Yu: A Profile of Charles Yu

by Kevin Nance
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The search for the true identity of the author behind three of the most unusual books of fiction published in the past five years, including the new collection Sorry Please Thank You, just took a turn.

First Fiction 2012

by Staff
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For our twelfth annual roundup of the summer’s best debut fiction, we asked five established authors—Charles Baxter, Attica Locke, Christine Schutt, Peter Ho Davies, and Sam Lipsyte—to introduce this year’s group of talented debut authors: Natalie...

Literary Agents

A Day in the Life of a Literary Agency: Behind the Scenes at Folio Literary Management

by Michael Bourne
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Folio Literary Management, a six-year-old agency in New York City, agreed to let contributing editor Michael Bourne spend a day as a fly on the wall to capture a behind-the-scenes snapshot of a literary agency.

The Aha! Moment: Ellen Levine of Trident Media Group

by Michael Bourne
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Literary agent Ellen Levine describes the moment when she first decided to take on unpublished author Ayana Mathis and offers a line-by-line reaction to a page from Mathis’s forthcoming novel that commanded the agent’s attention and convinced her of...

Critical Links: How the Author Found the Agent Found the Editor

by Staff
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We found three versions of the prototypical success story—an author finds an agent who sells the manuscript to an editor—and asked the three principal characters in each to share how they found one another and worked together to make their...

News and Trends

Dark Room Redux

by Rochelle Spencer

Twenty-five years after poets Thomas Sayers Ellis and Sharan Strange founded the Dark Room Collective as a community for established and emerging African American writers, members have gathered for a reunion tour that celebrates the DRC’s rich history and far-reaching influence in the literary world.

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 Carmen Bugan’s Burying the Typewriter and Joyelle McSweeney’s Percussion Grenade, as the starting point for a closer look at these new and noteworthy titles.

Librotraficante Takes Back the Book

by Belinda Acosta

In a fight against the controversial Arizona House Bill 2281, which effectively bans ethnic-studies classes and curricula, novelist Tony Diaz and other members of the Texas-based arts advocacy group Nuestra Palabra have formed a network of writers and supporters to raise awareness about the impact of the bill and to counter its effects with initiatives such as “banned book bashes” and the building of underground libraries.


Small Press Points

by Staff

Small Press Points highlights the innovative and can-do spirit of independent presses. This issue features Stoneslide Books, a recently launched fiction press looking for narratives that prompt readers “to think, to ask questions, to move the mind forward.”

Literary MagNet

by Travis Kurowski

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 Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Conjunctions, Phantom Drift: A Journal of New Fabulism, Fairy Tale Review, and Unstuck.

The Written Image: Antigonick

by Staff

In this issue we offer a look at a new, illustrated translation of the Antigone of Sophocles. Antigonick, a collaboration between poet Anne Carson and poet and artist Bianca Stone, was released by New Directions in May. 

Q&A: The NEA’s New Literature Director

by Noah Charney

As he steps into his new role as the NEA’s literature director, Ira Silverberg speaks about the books that first drew him to literature and how he’s currently serving the field at the nation’s largest art organization.

The Practical Writer

After the Book Party: Three Paths From Publication

by Alethea Black, Celine Keating, Michelle Toth

Three authors who followed very different paths to publication in 2011 speak about what they learned after their books were published, including hard lessons about publicity and reviews, readings and events, and advertising and sales.


The Literary Life

Practical Poetry: The Art of Brand Naming

by Margaret Wolfson
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What’s in a name? Contributor and verbal-identity consultant Margaret Wolfson examines the inventiveness and linguistic energy behind brand naming, an industry that welcomes the skills of poets, writers, and linguists.

Why We Write: Beating the Odds

by Jennifer Baker
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With “real world” concerns vying for one’s attention, it’s all too common for disciplined writing to fall by the wayside. Contributor Jennifer Baker writes about how she beat the odds and learned to carve a space in her life for her first love.