November/December 2005

Although John Updike has written twenty-one novels, it's not just literature that inspires him. His new book of essays aims to define what's "American" about American art.


Still Playing the Game: A Profile of John Updike

by Henry Stimpson
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Even in his seventies, with twenty-one novels behind him, John Updike still feels the thrill of inspiration. But writing isn't the only art form that gets his creativity flowing.  

More to the Story: A Profile of Paula Fox

by Amy Rosenberg
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In a follow-up to her critically acclaimed Borrowed Finery, Paula Fox's memoir The Coldest Winter: A Stringer in Liberated Europe, documents how resilience, talent, and energy can become the makings of art.  

You Never Know: A Profile of Ernest J. Gaines

by Ken Foster
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With the publication of his first book in twelve years—a collection of talks and short stories—Ernest J. Gaines proves that writing is a lifelong journey, and an unpredictable one at that.  

News and Trends

Amazon Starts Publishing Program

by Doug Diesenhaus

In August, launched a program that offers customers short stories and essays in a digital format for forty-nine cents each.

Considering the Value of a Book

by Kevin Larimer

During a recent trip to New York City, Joseph Bednarik, the marketing director of Copper Canyon Press, noticed something while riding the subway that got him thinking about the ways in which poetry is distributed. 

Literary MagNet

by Kevin Larimer

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 Poetry Northwest, the Alaska Quarterly Review, Fence, Black Clock, Ninth Letter, and Eleven Eleven.

Small Press Points

by Kevin Larimer

Small Press Points highlights the happenings of the small press players. This issue features Other Voices Books, Soho Press, Paris Press, Curbstone Press, Limberlost Press, Aralia Press, Ugly Ducking Presse, A Rest Press, and Atelos.

The Literature of War

by Joe Woodward

As long as there has been war, there have been writers trying to understand it, turning battlefield horrors into narrative, trying to make something useful out of its debris, but in recent months an unusually high number of soldier memoirs have been released by American publishers.

The Written Image: Chip Kidd

by Staff

Images from a new collection of graphic art by Chip Kidd, an associate art director at Knopf, who has designed nearly eight hundred book jackets for the publishing house during the last twenty years.


Page One: Where New and Noteworthy Books Begin

by Staff

Page One features a sample of titles we think you'll want to explore. With this installment, we offer excerpts from The Jungle Law by Victoria Vinton and Mother’s Milk by Edward St. Aubyn.

The Practical Writer

The Virtual Book Tour

by Doug Diesenhaus
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Writers promote their books online from the comfort of their own homes.

On Submitting Short Stories: Ten Things Never to Do

by Steve Almond
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Steve Almond recounts the "misdemeanors" he committed in the process of submitting his short fiction for publication.

On the Road: The Do-It-Yourself Book Tour

by K.L. Cook
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Reading at a barbecue dinner at the small Tennessee university where my father-in-law teaches, addressing an audience in Amarillo that included the high school English teacher who inspired me to write, visiting Flannery O’Connor’s peacock farm...

The Literary Life

Talking It to Death: The Best-Laid Plans Often Go Awry

by Christopher Conlon
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Writers who talk about their work risk never finishing it.

The Art of Reading Saul Bellow: An Unfinished Symphony

by Aaron Hamburger
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Saul Bellow's work widely influenced American Literature in the years after World War II.