May/June 2010

May/June 2010 cover

A guide to the competitions that turn manuscripts into books, the remarkable story of a Vietnam veteran who spent the past thirty years writing his first novel, and advice from literary agent PJ Mark of Janklow & Nesbit Associates.


Home Sweet Home: A Profile of Meghan Daum

by Frank Bures
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For Meghan Daum, whose memoir, Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived in That House, is being published this month by Knopf, the search for a place to call home turned up something much more important than a permanent address.

Judge and Genre: A Profile of Scott Turow

by Kevin Nance

There’s more to novelist Scott Turow than a knack for compelling plotlines and a sales history that stands at more than thirty million books—and we’re not just talking about his day job as an attorney.

Writing Contests

A Guide to the Competitions That Turn Manuscripts Into Books

by Staff
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A guide to the competitions that turn manuscripts into books, including a closer look at chapbook awards, prizes for first and second books, the terms of the resulting book contracts, and more.

News and Trends

Open-Air Publishing

by Alex Dimitrov

Broadsided, a monthly literature-and-art project that brings poetry and prose into people's everyday lives by posting it in public spaces, reaches beyond local schools, streets, and shops to take open-air publishing global.

Northwestern Acquires Curbstone

by Kevin Canfield

Curbstone Press, the independent, nonprofit publisher that for more than three decades published international literature in Willimantic, Connecticut, and Northwestern University Press in Chicago agreed late last year to form a partnership.

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 Dorothea Lasky's Black Life and Travis Nichols's Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder, as the starting point for a closer look at these new and noteworthy titles.

3 for Free

by Staff

In this 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. And if you don't? Quit complaining, they're free.

Digital Digest: Vooks Look Like a Brand-New Read

by Adrian Versteegh

Since last fall, an Alameda, California–based start-up has been blending digital text, images, video, and social networking to produce what it calls "vooks" (a portmanteau word formed from video and book), which can be accessed through any Web browser or downloaded to mobile devices via Apple's iTunes Store.


The Written Image: Playing With Books

by Staff

A look at a sculpture by U.K. artist Su Blackwell, one of the thirty-three artists showcased in the art book and craft guide Playing With Books: The Art of Upcycling, Deconstructing, and Reimagining the Book, published by Quarry Books in April.

Small Press Points

by Staff

Small Press Points highlights the happenings of the small press players. This issue features CityLit Press, an independent publisher based in Baltimore that provides a venue for writers who might otherwise be ignored by larger independent or commercial publishers.

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 Little Star, Still Crazy, the Paris Review, the Southwest Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, DIAGRAM, and Linebreak.

The Practical Writer

Self-Publishing Steve: Part 1—The Dream Begins

by Steve Almond
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Tales from Steve Almond's first foray into self-publishing, as well as some points of advice on how to—realistically—launch your own book into the world.  

First: Karl Marlantes’s Matterhorn

by Eryn Loeb

Today, Karl Marlantes's debut novel is garnering praise for its vivid, trenchant portrayal of American soldiers in the thick of the Vietnam War. But for more than thirty years, the manuscript languished in literary purgatory, while the author struggled to find an agent—not to mention a publisher—willing to take it on. 

The Literary Life

Why We Write: To Begin, After a Long Time Gone

by Dawn Haines
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For Dawn Haines, a forty-something-year old MFA graduate, mother, wife, and teacher, the lack of deadlines postgraduation resulted in a fallow spell that only writing itself could undo.

Home Improvement: Revision as Renovation

by Benjamin Percy
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Author Benjamin Percy has learned that, for the professional writer, real revision means moving beyond the tweaking of punctuation and word choice and freeing oneself to slash, burn, and reshape a work to fruition.