November/December 2016

Our Independent Publishing issue features a profile of best-selling novelist Michael Chabon, an in-depth interview with Tin House editor Rob Spillman, a roundup of debut authors over the age of fifty, nine new lit mags you need to read, Steve Almond on the author’s role in jacket design, Annie DeWitt on becoming your own publicist, Laura Maylene Walter on submission fees, writing prompts, and much more.

Features

5 Over 50

by Staff
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A roundup of new and emerging writers over the age of fifty whose debut books were published during the past year, featuring Desiree Cooper, Sawnie Morris, Paul Vidich, Paula Whyman, and Paul Hertneky.

Truth and Imagination: A Profile of Michael Chabon

by Kevin Nance
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In a new novel, Moonglow, the first since the best-selling Telegraph Avenue, Michael Chabon spins a magical family narrative that is as grand and mysterious as the literary form in which he presents it.

Independent Publishing

No Slush Piles: Notes From a Literary Journal Editor

by Stephen Corey
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The editor of the Georgia Review calls to retire a long-used publishing term, contending that unsolicited submissions are so much more than just “slush.”

To Fee or Not to Fee: A Writer’s Critique of Submission Fees

by Laura Maylene Walter
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An author and veteran submitter to literary magazines questions the recent uptick in electronic submission fees and offers advice to the editors implementing them. 

The Aha! Moment: Novelist Caroline Leavitt

by Michael Bourne
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As part of a continuing series, novelist Caroline Leavitt discusses how a letter from editor Andra Miller breathed new life into the female characters in her latest novel, Cruel Beautiful World (Algonquin Books, 2016).

News and Trends

Lit Mag Gives Voice to Homeless

by Adrienne Raphel

Now in its fifth year, the Pilgrim features original writing from members of Boston’s homeless community, who come together on a weekly basis to share their stories, hone their craft, and support each other’s personal and literary growth.

Writing Programs That Fit the Form

by Christine Koubek

At community writing centers across the country, new workshop models offer sustained support for writers undertaking book-length projects, including novels and memoirs, satisfying a demand left unmet by MFA programs and shorter-term writing courses.

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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 highlights the first lines of a dozen recently released books, including Zadie Smith’s Swing Time and Fanny Howe’s The Needle’s Eye, offering a glimpse into the worlds of these new and noteworthy titles.

The Shakespeare Sonnet Project

by Maya C. Popa

The New York Shakespeare Exchange is working with filmmakers and directors to produce collaborative video adaptations of Shakespeare’s sonnets, bringing the Bard’s timeless poems to a new audience.

Literary MagNet

by Dana Isokawa

Literary MagNet highlights an author alongside the journals that have published that author’s work. This issue’s MagNet features poet Paisley Rekdal, who takes us through five journals that first published poems appearing in her forthcoming collection, Imaginary Vessels.

The Written Image: The African Svelte

by Staff

Writer and editor Daniel Menaker compiles over one hundred amusing verbal blunders in his new book, The African Svelte: Ingenious Misspellings That Make Surprising Sense (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016), illustrated by New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast.

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The Practical Writer

The Cover Game: The Author’s Role in Jacket Design

by Steve Almond
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After publishing several books with less-than-thrilling covers, a veteran author shares advice on how and when to meddle with the book-design process—without alienating your publisher.

Read This Now: Becoming Your Own Publicist

by Annie DeWitt
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From embracing the Internet to leveraging blurbs, a debut novelist offers strategies for publicizing your own book, an imperative for many authors publishing with small presses whose limited budgets preclude broad publicity campaigns.

The Literary Life

Turning the Soil: How a Year of Farmwork Yielded Poems

by Tess Taylor
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A poet reflects on how working as a farmhand in the Berkshires provided the foundation for her new book, Work & Days, an investigation of the rich and ancient intersection between the agricultural and literary callings.

A Call to Action: Working Toward Inclusiveness for Poets With Disabilities

by Jennifer Bartlett
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Even as historically underrepresented voices gain support and exposure in today’s literary community, writers with disabilities remain overlooked by most institutions and programs. Poet and advocate Jennifer Bartlett explains why and calls for...

The Time Is Now: Writing Prompts and Exercises

by Staff
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Compose a trio of sensory poems, channel your inner Dickens, or reflect on the relationship between courage and generosity—three prompts to kindle your creativity during the holiday season.

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