September/October 2022

Our September/October issue features a special section on A Writer’s Education, including an overview of MFA programs creating nurturing spaces for diverse communities, MFA application advice, tips for making the most of writing workshops, and a look at twelve books on craft; a profile of novelist Namwali Serpell; essays by five of the year’s best debut nonfiction writers; Jonathan Evison on his experience with book banning; an in-depth interview with agent Annie Hwang; essays by David Sedaris, Valeria Luiselli, and Sara Nović; ten pro tips for the freelance book reviewer; self-publishing advice; writing prompts; contest deadlines; and much more.


The New Nonfiction 2022

by various
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Essays by Chloé Cooper Jones (Easy Beauty), Elamin Abdelmahmoud (Son of Elsewhere), Putsata Reang (Ma and Me), Lars Horn (Voice of the Fish), and Prince Shakur (When They Tell You to Be Good).

A Writer’s Education

Finding Permission

by Deesha Philyaw, Melissa Chadburn, Paul Tran, and Elissa Schappell
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Before a calling to write can turn into a pursuit of the craft, a writer needs one thing: belief that their words and their ideas matter. Four writers reflect on the people and moments that gave them permission to make their art.

Belonging and the MFA

by Jessica Kashiwabara
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A look at programs that are ahead of the curve in creating safe and nurturing spaces for diverse communities, including those with a faculty that reflects the student body and those that hold space for writers working in languages besides English.

MFA Application Advice

by Luis Jaramillo
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A former director of a graduate writing program offers tips on compiling the most common MFA application materials, including a statement of purpose, a writing portfolio, letters of recommendation, and transcripts. 

Making the Most of Writing Workshops

by Camille T. Dungy
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An acclaimed author and distinguished professor offers advice for workshop participants who want to create an open, equitable, encouraging, and positively challenging workshop experience for themselves.

Reading as an Apprentice Time Traveler: A Lesson in Close Reading and in Writing Time

by Lesley Wheeler
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A memoirist and poetry editor shows how the practice of close reading—studying a work sentence by sentence or line by line—can illuminate how one’s favorite authors use tiny details to build worlds.

The Writer’s Bookshelf: A Year of Craft Reading and Advice

by Staff
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Twelve recent and forthcoming books by some of contemporary literature’s most insightful and generous luminaries provide valuable support and advice for those finding their own path as a writer.

News and Trends

The Practical Writer

Reclaiming My Book: Translating American Sign Language to Text and Sound

by Sara Nović
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A novelist recounts the experience of incorporating a three-dimensional language like American Sign Language into the two-dimensional form of a book and the challenges and rewards of translating that into an audiobook. 

The Literary Life

The Time Is Now: Writing Prompts and Exercises

by Staff
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Write a poem in sections that considers the life and impact of an artist you admire, a story in which a protagonist relies on the harvest moon, or an essay inspired by back-to-school memories.

Best Wishes: Stories From the Front of the Book-Signing Line

by David Sedaris
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The best-selling author and humorist reflects on some of the most baffling requests he has received, and nearly always denied, while signing books after readings, including “Sign my organ donor card.”

Agents and Writers: When the Affair Is Over

by Siân Griffiths
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Acknowledging that writers rarely speak of their failures with agents publicly, an author openly and honestly describes three disappointing experiences with agents that have nevertheless bolstered her resolve to find the right publishing partner.