Our annual Writers Retreats Issue features a survey of writing residencies at national parks; poet Natalie Diaz in conversation with author Jacqueline Woodson; profiles of novelist Emily St. John Mandel and debut poet Monica Sok; Bethanne Patrick on the life of a literary critic; a look at the changing role of book publicists; life lessons learned at author readings; writing prompts; contest deadlines; and more.
Energy: A Q&A With Natalie Diaz
“We are alive because of story. It is one of our ancestors’ most powerful technologies. And we are all storytellers.” Poet Natalie Diaz talks with Jacqueline Woodson about storytelling, truth, and her second book, Postcolonial Love Poem.
Force of Will: A Profile of Emily St. John Mandel
The story of how Emily St. John Mandel followed up her best-selling book Station Eleven with her new novel, The Glass Hotel, holds valuable lessons for writers about hard work and persistence.
You Get Your Own Island: Exploring Wilderness Residencies at National Parks Across the Country
A look at residency opportunities with the National Parks Arts Foundation and the National Park Service, through which writers can work in secluded spots such as a private island in the Florida Keys or Alaska’s Denali National Park.
Seeds of Change: What a Summer Writers Conference Can (and Cannot) Do for You
The author, a seasoned conference attendee, considers the writing conference experience—famous writers, networking, workshops, and more—and how it can enrich your writing practice.
News and Trends
The Key West Literary Seminar has acquired the former Florida residence of poet Elizabeth Bishop and will turn the house into a public haven for poetry and prose.
The first lines of a dozen noteworthy books, including Recollections of My Nonexistence by Rebecca Solnit and Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong.
Mystery writer Dana Stabenow supports female-identifying and nonbinary writers with a new residency in Homer, Alaska, inspired by the retreat that changed her life.
A round-up of three new anthologies, including River Teeth: Twenty Years of Creative Nonfiction and Poems From the Edge of Extinction: An Anthology of Poetry in Endangered Languages.
A research project called Prismatic Jane Eyre compares the many translations of Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel, studying the ways each reflects the culture in which it was created.
The small press annually publishes four chapbooks of “formally strange or conceptually bizarre” prose.
An author recommends five journals that published poems from his debut collection, The Gutter Spread Guide to Prayer.
Artist Basia Irland carves book sculptures out of ice and embeds them with seeds that populate riverbanks when the sculptures melt.
The author of The House on Mango Street on the origins and impact of the Macondo Writers Workshop, which has brought together writers who are activists for twenty-five years.
The Practical Writer
First: Monica Sok’s A Nail the Evening Hangs On
The author meets poet Monica Sok in Oakland to discuss her debut collection, which takes an unflinching look at the Cambodian genocide in the 1970s.
In the second installment in a yearlong series on publishing professionals, four publicists describe the challenges of their job in the digital age.
The critic discusses her reading process, the perfect pan, and the popular Twitter hashtag she created, #FridayReads.
The Literary Life
The Time Is Now: Writing Prompts and Exercises
Write a poem that captures a moment in the rain, a story that involves scent and memory, and an essay that traces minor feelings to larger sociocultural or historic forces.
The author reflects on what he’s learned about writing and life from attending readings for the past twenty-five years.