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.
In The Furrows, Namwali Serpell draws readers into the roiling nature of grief in a powerful narrative that explores memory, loss, and Black identity without resting on what she calls the “meaningless platitude” that art promotes empathy.
The New Nonfiction 2022
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).
Annie Hwang of Ayesha Pande Literary talks about community building, professional burnout, the questions writers should ask when querying agents, and the demanding work of advocating for diversity in publishing.
The author of one of last year’s most challenged books confronts a campaign of threats, cyberattacks, and doxing in the post-truth era.
A Writer’s Education
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
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
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
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
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
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
Banned Books Week raises awareness of the rise in attempts to remove titles from schools and public libraries through a series of special events to be held across the country starting on September 18.
The first lines of a dozen noteworthy books including The Book of Goose by Yiyun Li and Togetherness by Wo Chan.
Amy J. Wong and Andrew Fung Yip founded Matilija Lending Library to “reflect our people of color communities in the San Gabriel Valley, and build multiracial solidarity.”
Since 2020 #BookTok, the hashtag that represents the book-loving community on TikTok, has emerged as a powerful force.
Seven Kitchens has cultivated a diverse roster of writers through the fifteen or so chapbooks it publishes each year, including through its eight chapbook series, each appealing to a different community.
The author of What We Fed to the Manticore highlights five journals that published her stories, including the Minnesota Review and Ecotone.
A look at three new anthologies, including New Weathers: Poetics From the Naropa Archive, edited by Anne Waldman and Emma Gomis.
A special “unburnable” edition of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale was crafted to raise awareness about recent efforts to ban books from schools and libraries.
The new editor of Poetry shares his aspirations for shaping the 110-year-old magazine to reflect an expansive literary landscape.
The Practical Writer
Reclaiming My Book: Translating American Sign Language to Text and Sound
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 books editor of the Boston Globe on the shrinking of books coverage, social media and the role of the editor, and the need for higher pay for book critics.
On Writing About Books: Ten Pro Tips for the Freelance Reviewer
A poet and critic who has written dozens of reviews for newspapers, literary journals, magazines, and websites offers practical advice for reviewers who want to show their readers what a book looks like through their intelligent, authoritative eyes.
Nita Wiggins describes writing and self-publishing Civil Rights Baby: My Story of Race, Sports, and Breaking Barriers in American Journalism, and an agent and a publicist add their perspectives and offer self-publishing advice.
The Literary Life
The Time Is Now: Writing Prompts and Exercises
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
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
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.
The editor of The Best Short Stories 2022: The O. Henry Prize Winners sees translation as a way of putting a language back in movement by allowing the currents of different languages to mix and blend.