Our annual Writers Retreats Issue features a look at the uncertain future of conferences and residencies during the pandemic and how writers are finding community and connection; profiles of novelist Imbolo Mbue and essayist Melissa Febos; Tiana Clark on writing in the time of COVID; Laura Maylene Walter on launching a debut novel during quarantine; an interview with poet and BOA Editions editor-at-large Aracelis Girmay; writing prompts; contest deadlines; and more.
What We Ought to Do: The Song of Imbolo Mbue
In her second novel, How Beautiful We Were, Imbolo Mbue uses the chorus of voices in a small African village fighting for justice in the shadow of an American oil company to sing in celebration of community, connection, and enduring hope.
Craft Therapy: A Profile of Melissa Febos
In her third book, the essay collection Girlhood, published by Bloomsbury in March, Melissa Febos transforms scars into meditations on culture and psychology.
The Road Ahead: Uncertainty and Resiliency at Writers Conferences and Retreats
The author looks at how conferences and residencies are adapting to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic by hosting virtual events and adjusting their budgets to stay afloat.
Pandemic Writing Group: Finding Creativity, Community, and Play
The novelist and essayist shares her experience creating a virtual writing group focused on play, and muses on the meaning of productivity and artistic friendship during the pandemic.
Resources for Writers in Need of Connection
A list of social platforms, online writing classes, and virtual book clubs for writers seeking community.
News and Trends
Writer Rachel Syme’s pen pal matching program has connected more than nine thousand correspondents from over fifty countries during the pandemic.
Writers Rebel NYC, a coalition of writers who are part of the activist group Extinction Rebellion, seeks to encourage conversation and action around climate change through literature.
The first lines of a dozen noteworthy books, including Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge and Festival Days by Jo Ann Beard.
Big Five and indie book publishers have recently increased entry-level salaries. Will it make the industry more accessible to BIPOC professionals?
The independent press based in Troy, New York, prints twenty titles a year, including art books, poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, which challenge genre expectations and push boundaries.
The poet on five journals that published pieces from her debut collection, The Wild Fox of Yemen.
Artist and author Jillian Tamaki sewed and embroidered a piece called Blue Quilt to document her life during the pandemic.
Poet Aracelis Girmay discusses her new position as editor-at-large of the Blessing the Boats Selections, a set of poetry books written by women of color and published by BOA Editions.
The Practical Writer
Revising the Dream: Publishing a Debut Novel in an Uncertain World
The author describes releasing her first novel during the pandemic, and speaks to other debut writers who have canceled book tours, pushed back publication dates, and adjusted their expectations in light of COVID-19.
The Literary Life
The Time Is Now: Writing Prompts and Exercises
Write a poem with instructions for removing self-imposed roadblocks, a story that begins in an unconventional setting, and an essay that catalogues the history of your physical injuries.
A Room of (Almost My Own): Finding Space, and Permission, to Write
After years of using everything from a laptop cart to a kitchen nook as a designated writing space, the author finally creates a room of her own in her home in Long Beach, California.
The poet and essayist reflects on writing during the pandemic and its impact on her creative life and relationship with the writing community.