November/December 2020

Our November/December issue features an interview with Rumaan Alam on his third novel, Leave the World Behind; a conversation with novelist Naomi Jackson and Danielle Evans, author of the new story collection and novella The Office of Historical Corrections; our fifth annual 5 Over 50 roundup of debut authors; a roundtable discussion with six Black editors on independent publishing; essays on publishing the narratives of BIPOC writers in the Midwest and reevaluating the practice of blind submissions; advice on revising your poetry manuscript; writing prompts, contest listings, and more.


Leave the Expectations Behind: A Q&A With Rumaan Alam

by Joshunda Sanders
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In his third novel, Leave the World Behind, Rumaan Alam delivers a propulsive narrative that speaks to the challenges and crises of the moment while defying any expectations of what a novel written by a gay Indian man should be. 

Special Section

The Abundance, Joy, Beauty, Persistence, Power, and Potential of Independent Publishing: A Conversation With Six Black Editors

by Camille T. Dungy
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Six Black editors—Heather Buchanan, Kwame Dawes, Mensah Demary, Parneshia Jones, Alexandra Watson, and Camille T. Dungy—discuss the work of bringing writing into the world, finding new contributors, and shaping the literary culture. 

Stories From Here: Sharing the Personal Narratives of BIPOC Writers in the Midwest

by Julia Shiota
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The author debunks common stereotypes about Midwestern writers and literature, and reinforces the importance of recognizing and sharing the many stories by BIPOC writers in the region.

News and Trends

The Clifton House

by LaToya Jordan

Sidney Clifton, the eldest daughter of poet Lucille Clifton, has purchased her childhood home in Baltimore with plans to recreate the space as a haven for emerging and established artists.

The Practical Writer

Small Press Perseverance: Indie Publishing During the Pandemic

by Michael Bourne
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The author explores how bookstore shutdowns and social distancing measures have affected indie presses and the writers they publish.

The Literary Life

The Time Is Now: Writing Prompts and Exercises

by Staff
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Write a poem considering the beauty of a vestigial organ, a story in which the main character is reflected in the setting, or a lyric essay on memories of intimacy from the past. 

The Infallible Continuum: A Scientific Theory of Writing Education

by James P. Blaylock
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The author presents his theory of the writing life as a “toilsome, magical, unpredictable road,” and illustrates the hurdles an ambitious writer might encounter.