March/April 2017

Our Writers Retreats Issue features advice on choosing a residency that's right for you, ideas for do-it-yourself retreats, and a visit to the Color of Children's Literature Conference; plus an interview with short story master George Saunders on his debut novel, Lincoln in the Bardo; a Q&A with Laura Miller of Slate; Kevin Wilson on the necessity of failure; tips for savvy self-publishing; writing prompts; submission information for over 120 contests with upcoming deadlines; and more.


Special Section

Smart Retreats: Five Questions to Consider Before You Apply

by Anna Leahy and Douglas R. Dechow
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Two veteran retreat-goers offer advice for writers considering a residency, and pose important questions to consider before applying—from cost and length to setting creative goals to identifying the current stage of your project.

Sounds of Silence: A Workshop With Pico Iyer

by Roberta Grant
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Essayist and novelist Pico Iyer leads a writing workshop at the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in the Ventana Wilderness of California, helping his pupils to understand the role of silence—and its relationship to language—in their work.

Writing in the Eternal City: Four Seasons at the American Academy in Rome

by Stephen Morison Jr.
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The director of the American Academy in Rome and the program’s current literature fellows discuss the opportunities that the Academy’s eleven-month residencies offer emerging writers, as well as exciting new changes to the historic program.

The Aha! Moment: Residency Codirector Steve Kettmann

by Michael Bourne
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As part of a continuing series, Steve Kettmann, cofounder and codirector of the residency program at the Wellstone Center in the Redwoods, discusses why novelist Thad Nodine’s writing submission earned him two all-inclusive weeks in a picturesque...

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 Afaa Michael Weaver’s Spirit Boxing, Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Refugees, and Patricia Smith’s Incendiary Art, for a glimpse into the worlds of these new and noteworthy titles.


Singapore Unbound

by Melynda Fuller

Launched in February, the New York–based organization Singapore Unbound supports Singaporean writing and cross-cultural literary exchange through a reading series, an annual literary festival, and a book review blog committed to promoting independent publishers and writers of Singaporean heritage from around the world.

Honoring Pat Conroy’s Legacy

by Jonathan Vatner

Less than a year after the celebrated author’s death, the Pat Conroy Literary Center in Beaufort, South Carolina, has opened its doors.


The Poetry Coalition Takes Flight

by Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum

Twenty poetry organizations from across the United States have joined forces to enhance the visibility of poetry and its growing popularity and cultural impact, beginning with a monthlong, nationwide suite of programs investigating the relationship between poetry and migration called “Because We Come From Everything.”


Small Press Points: Sibling Rivalry Press

by Staff

Small Press Points highlights the innovation and can-do spirit of independent presses. This issue features the Little Rock, Arkansas–based Sibling Rivalry Press, which has sought to provide “a stage and a microphone for anyone who is ‘other’” through the publication of poetry collections, chapbooks, and journals for LGBTQIA writers since its inception in 2010.

Q&A: Yang Inspires Young Readers

by Dana Isokawa

The national ambassador for young people’s literature encourages children and young adults to read books from unfamiliar genres and cultures through his new Reading Without Walls program.

The Practical Writer

The Literary Life

The Necessity of Failure: An Examination of the Writing Life

by Kevin Wilson
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A fiction writer reflects on the meandering and far-from-perfect path that led to the publication of his second novel, Perfect Little World.

Where We Write: Fountain City, Wisconsin

by Mark Wunderlich
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After decades away, a decorated poet returns to his hometown in rural Wisconsin to read from a recent collection inspired by the very people he now finds himself addressing.

The Time Is Now: Writing Prompts and Exercises

by Staff
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Try your hand at poetry translation, write a story with a deeply flawed protagonist, and reflect on your relationship to the natural world—three prompts to ignite your imagination this spring.