September/October 2019

Our annual MFA issue features an interview with novelist Téa Obreht; ten recent MFA program graduates on the realities of applying to, choosing, and attending a writing program; our third-annual roundup of the best debut nonfiction; a survey of the academic job market; an in-depth Q&A with Little, Brown senior editor Ben George; a look at the future of Barnes & Noble; Christina Baker Kline and Lisa Gornick on historical fiction; Shelly Oria on writings from the #MeToo movement; writing prompts; contest deadlines; and more.


A Gift: An Interview with Téa Obreht

by Amy Gall
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In the follow-up to her best-selling debut novel, The Tiger’s Wife, which drew from her early childhood in Belgrade, Téa Obreht takes readers to the inhospitable and drought-ridden Arizona territory of 1893.

The New Nonfiction 2019

by Various
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Essays by debut authors Jayson Greene (Once More We Saw Stars), Noam Dorr (Love Drones), Sarah M. Broom (The Yellow House), Krista Eastman (The Painted Forest), and Jaquira Díaz (Ordinary Girls).

Agents & Editors: Ben George

by M. Allen Cunningham

Ben George, a senior editor at Little, Brown who works with some of the biggest names in literary fiction and nonfiction, talks about the author-editor relationship, the plight of the midlist writer, and the art of revision. 

Body Language

by B. A. Van Sise
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A photographer explores the process of creating visual narratives in Children of Grass, an expansive three-year poetry portraiture project for which he asked poets to pose for a concept based on a poem by each subject.

Special Section

My MFA Experience

by Kevin Larimer
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Why did you choose the MFA program you attended? How did you make ends meet while you were there? How did your program prepare you for post-MFA life? Ten recent graduates on the realities of applying to, choosing, and attending a writing program.

News and Trends

The Practical Writer

How to Get Paid: Academia

by Michael Bourne
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The fifth installment in a continuing series about making money as a writer takes a closer look at the financial realities of academia, from adjunct work to tenure-track professorships. 

First: Jake Skeets’s Eyes Bottle Dark With a Mouthful of Flowers

by Rigoberto González
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The author spends a day in Albuquerque with poet Jake Skeets, who talks about writing his debut book and the magical year in which he won the Unterberg Poetry Center’s Discovery Poetry Contest and had his book selected for the National Poetry Series...

The Literary Life

The Time Is Now: Writing Prompts and Exercises

by Staff
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Write a poem exploring the idea of slipping into another’s skin, a story inspired by your school days, or an essay that attempts to decipher a deeper meaning in a piece of literature—three prompts to get you started. 

The Turn: Harnessing the Generative Power of No

by Benjamin Percy
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The author of eight books, most recently the story collection Suicide Woods, on turning career pitfalls into successes, the truly amazing things that can happen when someone says no, and how the only true failure is to stop trying.