In our annual MFA Issue, eight recent graduates offer insights on the realities of applying to, choosing, and attending an MFA program; Felicia Rose Chavez, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Matthew Salesses, and Namrata Poddar discuss race, power, and the writing workshop; Laura Da’ interviews U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo about her new memoir, Poet Warrior; Kaveh Akbar talks about his new poetry collection, Pilgrim Bell; plus essays on the art of truth by five debut nonfiction writers; how-to articles on author newsletters and audio galleys; advice from an agent; writing prompts; contest deadlines; and much more.
In a new memoir, Poet Warrior, published by W. W. Norton in September, U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo travels the roads, rivers, and rhythms of her life, taking readers on a journey across generations.
The New Nonfiction 2021
Essays by Lauren Hough (Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing), Brian Broome (Punch Me Up to the Gods), Lilly Dancyger (Negative Space), Ashley C. Ford (Somebody’s Daughter), and Anna Qu (Made in China).
Kaveh Akbar, the author of Calling a Wolf a Wolf, returns with Pilgrim Bell, a collection of poems that dissolves the border between knowing and not knowing and interrogates ideals of justice, the self, and the divine.
Eight recent graduates from MFA programs across the U.S. offer advice on applying, choosing, financing, attending, and completing a graduate writing program.
Felicia Rose Chavez, Viet Thanh Nguyen, and Matthew Salesses join Namrata Poddar to discuss decolonizing the writing workshop and the effects of gatekeeping on BIPOC writers.
News and Trends
Artist Nathan Langston put a unique spin on a game of Telephone by using a fragment of poetry to inspire one artist then another—growing into a multifaceted project with contributions from artists from seventy-two countries.
The first lines of a dozen noteworthy books, including Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr and Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead.
To recruit talented BIPOC professionals into literary agenting and ensure social justice in the field, Literary Agents of Change offers a paid internship program as well as a mentorship program focusing on retention.
Roxane Gay Books, a new imprint of Grove Atlantic, will publish three books a year in a variety of genres, with the author herself casting a wide net in terms of the submissions she’s seeking and dispensing with the usual requirements.
The nonprofit press in Asheville, North Carolina, publishes eight poetry, fiction, and nonfiction books a year with a mission to bring an inclusive ethos to books illuminating “the life of the spirit.”
The author of the new debut poetry collection Gumbo Ya Ya discusses four journals that first published their work, including BOAAT, TriQuarterly, Southeast Review, and Ploughshares.
In a new graphic novel, comic artist Theo Ellsworth adapts Jeff VanderMeer’s tale of a mysterious building where “office culture” connotes secret languages and unspoken rituals.
Acclaimed author and agent Catherine Cho discusses her start as an agent; her decision to open her own agency, Paper Literary; and her advice for writers daunted by the process of finding representation.
The Practical Writer
The agent representing Chris Belcher, Kate Broad, Delia Cai, Duy Doan, and others offers advice about working with a coauthor, changing a memoir to fiction, why agents don’t consider previously published work, and how to become an agent.
The critic on the importance of respecting the artist’s labor, reviewing books published by independent houses, and more.
The Nitty-Gritty: How to Create an Author Newsletter
A look at the tools, platforms, and strategies authors can use to directly communicate with their readers, including advice on effective author newsletters from Catherine Baab-Muguira, Danielle Trussoni, Jane Friedman, and Yanyi.
Advance Listening Editions: How to Create Your Own Audio Galley
An author and podcaster considers a new strategy for building pre-publication buzz and offers cost-saving methods, products, and software writers can use to record their own audio galleys.
The Literary Life
The Time Is Now: Writing Prompts and Exercises
Write a poem that contemplates the impact you want to make as a writer, a story about a culture shift in a family, or an essay about a simple word and its presence in your life.
Lost in the Weeds: In Praise of Wild Things—in the Garden and in Writing
A poet discovers a newfound appreciation for the dandelion, blackberry vines, and globes of white clover that encroach on her garden, finding an inspiring metaphor for the wild things waiting to be unearthed in her own unfinished drafts.
The author examines her personal relationship to the professional work of translation, forms of responsibility unique to the genre, and the complex notion of translation as a labor of love.
Entering Through the Side Door: A Path for Approaching Your Truth in Difficult Material
The author reflects on her complicated pregnancy and subsequent abortion—experiences that shaped her first book, the memoir Poor Your Soul—and the ways writers explore the periphery of events to find the beating heart of their subjects.
Losing My Manuscript: On Almost Giving Up
After her notebooks and journals were stolen, a memoirist revisits the stories of famous writers who lost their own work and describes how losing her notes forced her to re-envision her first book, Low Country, published in April.