Our September/October issue features a special section on navigating the MFA, a profile of award-winning poet and essayist Roger Reeves, a conversation with poet Jane Hirshfield, essays by five of the year’s best debut nonfiction writers, an interview with Random House executive editor and vice president Jamia Wilson, and articles on the pressure of early success, how humor works in writing, and the impact of prepublication demand; plus a new column on publishing myths, as well as writing prompts, contest deadlines, and more.
How to Survive the Darkness of Our Days: A Profile of Roger Reeves
In his first book of prose, Dark Days: Fugitive Essays, award-winning poet Roger Reeves braids memory, theory, and close critical readings to evoke a profound vision of community, solidarity, and even joy in our present moment.
The Tiny, Immense, and Immeasurable Gift: A Profile of Jane Hirshfield
Forty years into her illustrious career as a poet, Jane Hirshfield’s latest collection, The Asking: New and Selected Poems, expresses her simple hope for the future—that she may be granted the great fortune to write the next poem.
Essays by debut authors Eirinie Carson (The Dead Are Gods), Leah Myers (Thinning Blood), Andrew Leland (The Country of the Blind), Jen Soriano (Nervous), and Jami Nakamura Lin (The Night Parade).
Random House executive editor and vice president Jamia Wilson talks about her passion for publishing as a craft, how being a writer informs her work as an editor, and the importance of keeping an expansive interest in books.
Navigating the MFA: Admissions, Rejections, and How to Deal With a Tough Workshop
Should I Stay or Should I Go?: Letters from Six Writer-Mentors on the Choice to Pursue an MFA
If you’re at the start of your writing career, you may not have found a literary community to guide you yet. So we asked six writers to step in as mentors and answer a question on many emerging writers’ minds: Should I get an MFA?
Decisions, Decisions: Which MFA Program Is Right for You?
The decision to get an MFA depends on a series of individual considerations; a member of the faculty at Vermont College of Fine Arts introduces some key topics to consider as you seek out the MFA program that will serve you best.
The Thin Envelope: Embracing Your Writing Life After MFA Rejections
A rejection from an MFA program can make you doubt your talent and your art. Writers who’ve been there share stories of persistence, publication, and the path to the writing life—with or without the MFA.
When Workshop Is Hard: How to Deal With Tough Critiques, Miscommunications, and Our Own Insecurities
A writer’s ego is a sensitive thing, rendered most self-conscious in the unforgiving arena of the workshop. A novelist and practicing therapist offers advice on navigating the often-difficult experience of workshop critique.
Twenty-One Other Ways to Get There: An Alternative Map to a Writers’ Education
The MFA is just one of many ways to develop voice and skill as a writer. If having an MFA credential isn’t an imperative, consider the wealth of non-degree writing classes offered by organizations across the country.
News and Trends
A collaboration between three literary organizations, the International Library is a new initiative presenting live conversations about literature in translation while connecting transnational audiences.
The first lines of a dozen noteworthy books, including Down Here We Come Up by Sara Johnson Allen and Good Women by Halle Hill.
In defiance of Amazon’s dominance in the bookselling market, Bookshop has launched an imprint that will release its inaugural title this fall. Bookshop will also introduce its own e-reading platform, supporting independent bookstores.
Led by a board of distinguished authors in collaboration with three nonprofit organizations, a new yearlong fellowship supporting system-impacted writers promises to provide resources and funding to share their stories.
Dedicated to finding the voices and stories audiences most need to hear, Book*hug Press reads beyond borders as a Canadian press with international influences, representationally and aesthetically.
A look at three new anthologies, including Leaning Toward Light: Poems for Gardens & the Hands That Tend Them and Never Whistle at Night: An Indigenous Dark Fiction Anthology.
The author of Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s Go introduces five journals, including Shenandoah and Hyphen, where she found understanding and acceptance for her stories.
The illustrator of the graphic novel My Brilliant Friend, Mara Cerri, discusses her artistic practice, the challenges of rendering an esteemed novel in images, and her experience working with one of world’s most elusive authors.
The new editor of the Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets discusses the power of the written word, the importance of university presses, and his plans to leave no manuscript unturned.
The Practical Writer
Publishing Myths: “You Must Have a Big-Name Agent to Get a Book Deal”
In our new column debunking the myths of the publishing industry, a veteran agent advises authors to consider less the name recognition of a given agent and more the best agent match for their book.
Preorder Now: Measuring the Impact of Prepublication Demand
The author of Blithedale Canyon analyzes why publishers, e-tailers, and bookstores keep tabs on preorder numbers and suggests several ways authors can tailor their preorder campaigns to play to their strengths.
Acknowledgments: An Active Gesture of Gratitude
More than just a list of names, an acknowledgments page is about showing gratitude to the people who have helped you along the way. The author describes the value of starting her acknowledgments page early on in the publication process.
The Literary Life
The Time Is Now: Writing Prompts and Exercises
Write a poem that takes the format of your favorite game show, a short story around the protagonist’s relationship with a job, or an essay about your favorite objects at home.
The Pressure of Young Promise: What Is Success and at What Point Should We Give Up Trying to Attain It?
The author of The Evening Hero unravels the expectations that she carried with her in the nearly two-decade-long journey to the publication of her novel and shares some of the advice that helped her get to the finish line.
Laugh Tracks: How Humor Works on the Page
Humans are pattern-making creatures—and upending patterns is one great way to leave your reader laughing. A former poet laureate of Mississippi deconstructs the brain’s desire to understand and explains how to craft the perfect joke.
What Is Meant for You Is Always Meant for You: A Mindful Approach to Writerly Competition
Competition keeps us comparing ourselves to others writers—but what if in fact there’s plenty of opportunity to go around? An author and editor invites you to recalibrate your mindset by offering insights from his mindfulness practice.