March/April 2011

The spring 2011 guide to writing vacations; profiles of poet Nikky Finney and novelist Karen Russell; an experts guide to twenty-first century publishing; the best time to start your agent search; and more.


The Wider Sky: A Profile of Nikky Finney

by Kevin Nance
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For Nikky Finney, whose fourth book of poems, Head Off & Split, is out this month, fearlessness isn't just a character trait. It's a responsibility.

The Strangeness Quotient: A Profile of Karen Russell

by Eryn Loeb
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In her new novel, Swamplandia!, Karen Russell returns to the dark and magical kingdom of kid-dom.

Conferences and Residencies

The Bear River Writers' Conference: Petoskey, Michigan

by Jeremiah Chamberlin
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Michigan’s Walloon Lake, an old stomping ground of Ernest Hemingway, is now the site of the Bear River Writers’ Conference, where each summer a new crop of writers join mentors such as Patricia Hampl, Robert Hass, Laura Kasischke, and Elizabeth...

The Slice Literary Writers Conference: Brooklyn, New York

by Adrian Versteegh
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A new conference offering a wealth of programs designed to help emerging writers navigate the publishing industry will launch this September in Brooklyn, New York.

International Itinerary

by Staff
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For those interested in venturing far afield—from Kenya to Canada, Italy to Ireland—we take a look at the inspiring locales of ten conferences, festivals, and retreats.

The United States of Writing Vacations

by Staff
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We’ve mapped a hundred and fifty destinations across the United States—from the islands off the Washington coast to the beaches of southern Florida—that offer inspiration for your writing and your adventurous spirit.

Conferences in the Pacific Northwest: Bellevue, Washington, and Portland, Oregon

by Kathryn Trueblood
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Writers traveling to the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Conference in Bellevue, Washington, and Ooligan Press’s Write to Publish in Portland, Oregon—the oldest and youngest conferences, respectively, in the region—are offered the chance to...

The Future of Family-Friendly Residencies

by Thomas Israel Hopkins
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Dreaming of a way to integrate family into the traditional (solitary) residency model, one writer proposes four ways for parent-writers and residency directors to work together toward child-friendly colonies.

News and Trends

Inside Writers’ Houses

by Alex Dimitrov

A look at, a new Web site that chronicles the pursuit and experience of literary pilgrimage, and A Skeptic’s Guide to Writers’ Houses, a scholar’s take on this devotional phenomenon.

Digital Digest: Gauging Google’s E-book Impact

by Adrian Versteegh

The launch of Google’s eBookstore, which offers a unique compatibility across more than eighty-five devices, could prove to be a game-changing challenge to the closed systems of Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble.


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.

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 T. C. Boyle's When the Killing's Done and Laura Kasischke's Space, in Chains, as the starting point for a closer look at these new and noteworthy titles.

Q&A: Chabon Takes Chair at MacDowell

by Catherine Richardson

Shortly after Michael Chabon stepped into the position of chair of the MacDowell Colony’s board of directors last December, he spoke about his dedication to the colony and about making the most of the MacDowell experience.

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 the Literary Bohemian, Tin House, Barrelhouse, Alimentum, New Letters, and Confrontation.


Small Press Points

by Staff

Small Press Points highlights the happenings of the small press players. This issue features Wave Books, the Seattle-based poetry publisher that over the past five years has established a national reputation for its carefully selected and artfully produced books.

Poets, Composers Find Sanctuary

by Shell Fischer

For the past twelve months, five poets and five composers from across the country have been working together to explore in words and sound the idea of sanctuary. Their project will culminate this month in the performance of a concert, titled The Sanctuary Project.

The Written Image: The Select

by Staff

A scene from The Select (The Sun Also Rises), the third in a trilogy of productions based on modernist American literature of the 1920s by New York City–based theater company Elevator Repair Service, which will play at Emerson College’s Paramount Center in Boston from March 15 to March 20.

The Practical Writer

The Literary Life

Track Changes: Ditto Machines to Digital Literature

by Eileen Pollack
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Technology for writers has come a long way since the days of correction tape and mimeograph machines, but are the conveniences of the digital age taking the art out of the work?

Writing Jobs: How to Develop Characters That Work

by Lauren Grodstein
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Creating the professional life of a fictional character requires a multifaceted approach to research, but the payoff can be a story that resonates in the real world.