November/December 2011

Profiles of Joan Didion and André Aciman, a special section on how literary magazines and small presses are building community on and off the page, nine ways of looking at a bookstore, and more.


The Perfume of Experience: A Profile of André Aciman

by Michael Washburn
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André Aciman isn’t as obsessed with memory as his writings on the mysterious passage of time may indicate. He just doesn’t know how to be in the present.

The Power of Community

Survival of the Fittest: Four Editors on the Future of Literary Magazines

by Joey Franklin
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The editors of Bellingham Review, Creative Nonfiction, the Missouri Review, and the Normal School discuss the evolution of literary magazine publishing and weigh in on what they’re doing to reach readers,...

Beyond the Page: Literary Magazines Find New Ways to Develop Community

by Michael Bourne
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From hosting conferences in exotic locales to offering one-on-one workshops and reading series, magazines are finding new ways of funding publication and building their brands, all the while cultivating a literary community.

The Big Myth: Why Going With a Small Press Can Yield Big Dividends

by Steve Almond
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For an author whose dream is to make books of enduring value with the help of a passionate editor, the benefits of working with a small press can outweigh those of going the commercial route.

Price of Submission: The Evolution of Reading Fees and Their Cost to the Community

by Laura Maylene Walter
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Resource-strapped literary magazines are turning to reading fees to help stay afloat, but can paid submissions really help strengthen journals and the community they serve?

A Social Approach: An Interview With Innovative Publisher Richard Nash

by Gabriel Cohen
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In 2009 editor Richard Nash left Soft Skull Press, where he’d shaken up independent publishing for eight years, to take advantage of the connective power of the industry. Now at the helm of a venture called Cursor, Nash discusses the newly launched...

News and Trends

Homegrown Libraries

by Alex Dimitrov

Artist Colin McMullan, founder of the Kindness and Imagination Development Society, has found one way to take the act of sharing that’s become so popular with social media outside the electronic box and into the physical world with his Corner Library project.


Latino Poets Connect at CantoMundo

by Belinda Acosta

CantoMundo, a burgeoning Latino poets workshop in its second year, has become the third organization to make up an unofficial triad aimed at nurturing the work of American poets of color.


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 Aracelis Girmay’s Kingdom Animalia, and Tomaž Šalamun’s The Blue Tower, as the starting point for a closer look at these new and noteworthy titles.

Character Counts in Translated Fiction

by Ken Gordon

Despite the average wired American’s tendency to downsize their character counts, the page counts of newly published books of translated fiction show that the rest of the global literary community may be beefing up. 

Small Press Points

by Staff

Small Press Points highlights the happenings of the small press players. This issue features Exterminating Angel Press, the six-year-old independent book publisher with a big mission: to challenge the received cultural narrative.

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 Memoir (and), Harvard Review, Huizache, the Coffin Factory, Monday Night, and Ploughshares.

The Written Image: Moby-Dick in Pictures

by Staff

In this issue we offer a look at one of the 552 illustrations by Tim Kish, who created a picture a day for each page of Melville’s tome, featured in Moby-Dick in Pictures, published in October by Tin House Books.

Q&A: Kevin Craft’s Northwest Territory

by Catherine Richardson

While working on his fourth issue as editor of Poetry Northwest, Kevin Craft, who succeeded David Biespiel in January 2010, discussed the importance of community, as well as a measured approach to editing, to the magazine’s success.

The Practical Writer

Consider the Elephant: Nine Ways to Feel a Bookstore

by David Malki !
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For the average author, a bookstore can be either a place of solace or a source of anxiety—a sacred temple of literature or an intimidating marketplace where only the bestseller survives. The bookstore is many things to many different people, but in...

The Literary Life

A Writer's Daily Habit: Four Steps to Higher Productivity

by Ellen Sussman
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Novelist Ellen Sussman offers four simple steps for writers who want to get more out of their writing time.

Get a Job: The Importance of Work in Your Writing

by Benjamin Percy
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From burger-slinging line cooks to space-walking astronauts, focusing on a fictional character’s work and well-researched working habits can set a story in motion.

In the Absence of Yes: The Sixteenth Rejection Letter

by M. Allen Cunningham
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Fiction writer M. Allen Cunningham shares his approach to digesting rejection, a fundamental part of this literary vocation that every writer—even luminaries such as Henry James and Wallace Stegner—must face.

Why We Write: A Necessary Magic

by Lisa Jennifer Selzman
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After her daughter’s illness stripped the beauty and enchantment from her life, a writer finds inspiration to work again in the joy her child gains from creating her own art.