In our annual Literary Agents Issue, authors share their successful query letters, writers discuss getting “the call” that could lead to representation, and four agents share what they read when they’re not working; plus Destiny O. Birdsong’s profile of poet and scholar Clint Smith, author of How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America; our twenty-first annual roundup of the summer’s best debut fiction; Kristen Radtke’s loneliness project; savvy self-publishing tips; writing prompts; contest deadlines; and more.
In his first nonfiction book, How the Word Is Passed, published in June by Little, Brown, poet and scholar Clint Smith delves into the legacy of slavery alive in the monuments and landmarks within and beyond the United States, in an immersive read that exquisitely depicts how a nation and its inhabitants remember its history.
Excerpts from the titles by Eric Nguyen, Lee Lai, Zakiya Dalila Harris, Joss Lake, Pik-Shuen Fung, and the late Anthony Veasna So featured in our annual roundup of the summer’s best debut fiction.
Alex Torres reflects on the literary legacy of his beloved partner, Anthony Veasna So, the author of the debut story collection Afterparties, who died in December 2020.
I Look Forward to Hearing From You: The Art of the Query Letter in Real Life
A look at two real-life query letters from a published and soon-to-be published author, Gina Frangello and Beth Morgan, with commentary from their respective agents on what caught their attention.
Your Career on the Line: Writers and Agents Discuss “the Call”
The first call between an agent and a writer to discuss representation is considered a milestone for an aspiring writer. The author talks to agents and published writers about what to expect during “the call.”
A Week in Reading: What Agents Do When They’re Not Working
Literary agents Maggie Cooper, Larissa Melo Pienkowski, Kat Kerr, and Eric Smith describe their reading habits off the clock.
News and Trends
The nonprofit Creature Conserve brings together artists, writers, and scientists through classes, events, and more, all with a mission to support conservation by focusing on how we tell stories about animals.
The first lines of a dozen noteworthy books, including Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley C. Ford and The Vault by Andrés Cerpa.
A series of books, edited by Erica Vital-Lazare and published by McSweeney’s, shines a light on Black literature that was previously overlooked or underappreciated.
Four new anthologies including The 2021 Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology: A Selection of the Shortlist and We Are the Baby-Sitters Club: Essays and Artwork From Grown-Up Readers.
A pop-up literary agency at the University of Arizona allows students to gain practical, hands-on experience in the publishing world by connecting children’s picture book authors with established agents.
The L.A. press publishes genre-defying poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and translation from the Asian Pacific American and Asian diaspora.
The author of There Plant Eyes: A Personal and Cultural History of Blindness charts her literary passions and road to publication by the journals she has worked with as a contributor or editor.
Writer and artist Patricia Hanlon has turned her experiences swimming in New England’s wild salt marshes into a book and a series of landscape oil paintings.
The Practical Writer
The literary agent answers questions about how to seek representation as a self-published author, break into the agenting business, and more.
Nikki Peoples describes how she self-published her sci-fi novel, The Station. An editor and a publicist give their advice on reaching more readers, leveraging the power of social media, and finding the right team of publishing professionals.
The Literary Life
The Time Is Now: Writing Prompts and Exercises
Write a poem reimagining an old building in the past, a story in which three people try to achieve the same goal, or an essay about a trip that helped you realize your complicity in a social issue.
The Loneliness Project: My Journey Through American Loneliness
The author reflects on facing her own loneliness and that of others in her second graphic book, Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness, published in July by Pantheon.
Infertile & Querying: Struggling to Conceive While Seeking Representation
The author of the forthcoming novel At Sea describes her struggle to get an agent and conceive a child and meditates on the expectations of being both a mother and an author.