September/October 2003

In a devastating fire, Maxine Hong Kingston lost her home, a just-completed manuscript, its backup copies, and the will to write. That was 12 years, a thousand kindnesses, and one brand-new book ago.


The Story Revisited: a Profile of Maxine Hong Kingston

by Renée H. Shea
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Maxine Hong Kingston discusses The Fifth Book of Peace, which she describes as a "nonfiction-fiction-nonfiction sandwich." 


Critics on Reviews

by Mary Gannon

Reviewers are accused of having agendas and of cronyism, are called show-offs and career-killers. It's a lot of heat to take for some free books, a few bucks, and a byline.

Catching Up With...Pulitzer Prize Winner Jhumpa Lahiri

by Matthew Solan

In her Pulitzer Prize–winning first book, The Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri explores the struggle of first- and second-generation Indian Americans bridging the gap between the country they call home and the heritage that defines them. Her much-anticipated first novel, The Namesake, explores a similar theme.

Independent Presses

Start the Presses: An Annual Look at the Passion and Precision of Independent Publishing

by Kevin Larimer
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Profile of independent poetry publishers Aralia Press, Limberlost Press, the Owl Press, and Futurepoem Books. 

A Small World of Difference: Print on Demand Versus Letterpress

by Joe Benevento
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Letterpress and print on demand publishing are surprisingly similar, despite their different methods of printing.

News and Trends

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, Poems & Plays, the Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Bloom, the Harvard Advocate, Harvard Review, Meanjin, and Vallum. 

Watch Out: Seajay Launches BTWOF

by Courtney E. Martin

Carol Seajay, former publisher of Feminist Bookstore News, a San Francisco–based magazine that covered the feminist, gay, and lesbian book industry until folding in 2000, recently launched Books to Watch Out For, a series of monthly e-mail newsletters featuring reviews of gay and lesbian books. 


New Editor Picks O. Henry Winners

by Timothy Schaffert

Laura Furman, the first female O. Henry series editor in more than forty years, has instituted some changes to the process of selecting stories for her first volume, due out next month from Anchor.


Dana Gioia's NEA: Art for the Masses

by Dalia Sofer

Since Dana Gioia was named chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts in January, the organization has awarded nearly $1 million to poets and translators of poetry and over $2 million to literary arts organizations. But the highest profile project of Gioia’s term so far begins this month, when six theater companies—from New York City; Chicago; Minneapolis; Little Rock, Arkansas; and Portland, Oregon—will begin a yearlong tour of 100 small and midsized cities across the U.S. to perform a selection of plays by William Shakespeare. A seventh theater company will tour 16 U.S. military bases.

The Narrative Approach to Science

by Dalia Sofer

David Foster Wallace’s long-awaited sixth book will arrive in bookstores next month. But it’s not what some might expect from the author of Infinite Jest and A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again.


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 Bring Me Your Saddest Arizona by Ryan Harty, Indiana, Indiana by Laird Hunt, and Eyeshot by Heather McHugh.

The Practical Writer

First: Amanda Stern and The Long Haul

by Joanna Smith Rakoff
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Amanda Stern's stories are urban, angst-ridden, so anxious and, at times, violent that they can make for a teeth-clenching read.  

The Writer's Responsibility: How to Write About Those You Know

by Reagan Upshaw
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How to balance the moral responsibility of protecting the feelings of family and friends and the literary responsibility of producing compelling writing.  

The Literary Life

Last Words: Bringing a Poet's Final Work to Print

by Deborah Garrison
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A discussion of the posthumous publication of Stan Rice's final poetry collection, False Prophet.

Revisiting The Ginger Man: J.P. Donleavy's First and Best Novel

by Lance Contrucci
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Profile of the Irish writer and his debut novel,The Ginger Man.