March/April 2016

Our Writers Retreats Issue features more than eighty free retreats, conferences, and festivals; practical advice for first-time colonists; Cheryl Strayed's Writers Camp; a conversation with Pulitzer Prize–winning author Jhumpa Lahiri and translator Ann Goldstein; a profile of master essayist Annie Dillard; a library and residency in the Rockies; a report from literary Denmark; the Savvy Self-Publisher; and much more.


Following the Mysteries: An Interview With Jhumpa Lahiri

by Ann Goldstein
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Pulitzer Prize–winning author Jhumpa Lahiri talks with translator Ann Goldstein about her decision to write her new book, In Other Words, in Italian; the search for freedom and happiness; and the mysteries of creativity, art, and life.

Special Section

Free Retreats, Fairs, and Festivals: Inspiring Getaways for Writers on a Budget

by Staff
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Whether it’s a daylong festival, a weekend conference, or a four-week residency, there are countless options for writers looking for a retreat. We rounded up more than eighty free conferences, residencies, and festivals across the country so that...

Cheryl Strayed’s Writers Camp: Connection and Community in Big Sur

by Mary Stewart Atwell
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A novelist recounts her experiences at Cheryl Strayed’s Writers Camp at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, where she learned the importance of recognizing authenticity in her writing and finding her tribe.

Let Them Feed You: Practical Advice for First-Time Colonists

by Alexander Chee
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Novelist and seasoned colonist Alexander Chee shares valuable advice for writers embarking on their first writers retreat.

The Aha! Moment: Cara Blue Adams of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference

by Michael Bourne
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Each year, countless writers vie for the prestigious “waitership” position at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in Vermont. Former waiter and current reader Cara Blue Adams discusses her response to the short story “1997” by Mai Nardone, one of the...

News and Trends

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 Maylis de Kerangal’s latest novel, The Heart, translated from the French by Sam Taylor, and A. Igoni Barrett’s debut novel, Blackass, as the starting point for a closer look at these new and noteworthy titles.

The Practical Writer

First: Rajiv Mohabir’s The Taxidermist’s Cut

by Rigoberto González

In another installment of First, contributing editor Rigoberto González talks with Indo-Caribbean poet Rajiv Mohabir, discussing his debut collection, and how the poet uses language as identity and resistance while “feeling trapped inside a puzzle of ancestry.”

The Savvy Self-Publisher: Vinnie Mirchandani

by Debra W. Englander

Can the publishing industry’s traditional business model compete with today’s marketplace? The president of a technology advisory firm and self-published author tries to answer that question through an analyst’s lens. Literary agent Cynthia Zigmund and publicist Rob Nissen weigh in.

The Literary Life

The Idea of Happiness: Report From Literary Denmark

by Stephen Morison Jr.
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In a continuing series examining the lives of writers in international writing communities, contributing editor Stephen Morison Jr. spends time with three authors in Denmark to explore the country’s literary scene, and the language of happiness.

The Time Is Now: Writing Prompts and Exercises

by Staff
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Explore the emotions of color, shout your strongest feelings, and write for a vending machine—three prompts to ignite the creative process.