Tag Archives: publishing

So You Didn’t Get to Go to AWP

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

Picture of Bookfair It’ll be just like this.

Another year of AWP has drawn to a close, and countless editors, writers and journal staffers are heading back to their home institutions with swag bags, connections and newly autographed books.

Not everyone got to go to AWP, and I just want to say that’s OK. We’re all in this together. In case, like me, you were at home watching the literary world scroll by on social media, here’s what you can do to recreate the AWP experience:

First, stock up on wine. You’re going to need a lot of it. Start with half a plastic cup of unfortunately-sharp white as you pull from your shelves every literary journal, small-press book, and poetry collection you own. Arrange the books on your dining or coffee table in a pleasing display. Rearrange three times. Settle on the original arrangement–it should be about the work.

Find the last…

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Support Local Writers

We should support our local artists, whether they are writers, musicians, or painters. This is a sound philosophy, even if it is sometimes difficult to follow: we can only be so many places at once, afford so many babysitters, stay up late so many nights of the week. We’ve all been there, I’m sure. I want to support my friends’ band, but why are they playing at 9 p.m. on a Tuesday? That reading sounds great…let me find a sitter. However, we can read on our own time—how perfect! So buy some books and magazines and support your local artists. The following list will get you started.

For this post I’m focusing on our local writers and their works that have been published this year. What do I mean by local writer? I’m including those who currently live in Georgia, as well as those who have lived here in the past. Many writers have been to school and /or taught in Georgia, while many current Georgia writers have deep roots elsewhere.

BOOKS

Stephanie Perkins now resides in Asheville. I am super excited to read her debut YA novel, Anna and the French Kiss (Dutton) which comes out in December 2010. Her second book, Lola and the Boy Next Door is set to come out in the Fall of 2011. About Anna:

“Very sly. Very funny. Very romantic. You should date this book.”

— MAUREEN JOHNSON, NYT bestselling author of 13 Little Blue Envelopes and Scarlett Fever

 

 

Josh Russell gave us the fantastic Yellow Jack (W.W. Norton, 1999) and now My Bright Midnight, A True Story (LSU Press, 2010).  

“I’ve been waiting for more of Josh Russell’s NOLA since Yellow Jack, waiting patiently, most of the time, and now it’s paid off. This book flat out kicks ass in its New Orleansness but also in its humanness, a novel firing on all cylinders, amazing characters, killer details, lyrical language and a plot that keeps the pages turning. A book worth the wait and worth its salt, a novel to read and reread, to savor, to treasure.”
—Tom Franklin, author of Hell at the Breech and Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

Ben Spivey’s debut novel, Flowing in the Gossamer Fold, has received blurbs from Brian Evanson and Gary Lutz.

“Ben Spivey’s alluringly melodial debut novel of a marriage gone asunder unreels itself with the indisputable logic of dreams and delivers, along its phantasmagoric and dazing way, emotional clarities that feel entirely new.”

–Gary Lutz, author of Stories in the Worst Way and I Looked Alive

SHORT FICTION

 Much of this short fiction news is lifted from The New South’s Writing Workshop news page. Visit the site for more news.

Sonya McCoy Wilson published the “The Rigor Tree” in Diverse Voices Quarterly as well as “Brown Paper Bags” in TimBookTu (July 2010).

Karen Gentry’s story “Treasure Island,” which appeared originally in NÖO Jornal, has been selected for the Wigleaf Top 50 [Very] Short Fictions 2010.

John Holman’s story “Credentials” (which first appeared in Mississippi Review) has been reprinted in Fictionaut. Holman’s profile of the South’s best bird appears in the Oxford American‘s Best of the South 2010 (May ’10, Issue 69).

Josh Russell’s story “Young Woman Standing Before a Window” has been published in Epoch (Vol. 58, Number 3).

Dionne Irving’s story “Florida Lives” was a finalist for the Mid-American Review‘s 2009-2010 Sherwood Anderson Fiction Award.

Cheryl Stiles has published a work of creative nonfiction, “Systems Failure,” in Southern Women’s Review. This essay is part of a book length manuscript of essays entitled On Nelson Street.

If you have additional news, corrections, or links you’d like me to add, please leave the information in the comments section of this post. Thanks for reading.

May Chatter: Books

I’ve had several folks recommend I read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and I just saw a full-page ad for Stieg Larsson’s trilogy on the back of the latest issue of The New Yorker. It sounds like a lot of fun, and here’s an opinion on it that connects back to our earlier discussion of bad writing. Whenever this book becomes available at my library I’m going to check it out. It is currently at the top of the NYT Paperback Mass-market Fiction Bestsellers and Paperback Trade Fiction Bestsellers lists.

The Pregnant Widow, by Martin Amis, is another book getting plenty of publicity. There’s a review in the New York Times as well as an article at Salon that counters several critics: “Martin Amis’ New Novel: Why the Haters are Wrong.”

May 2010 News

Great News: My friend Stephanie has many exciting things to share about her journey through publishing.

Good News: The first four chapters of This Novel are thoroughly revised and nearly polished: thirteen more chapters to go. I researched the heck out of 1945 and now I’m wondering—what was the most elitist champagne to be served in 1988? Any ideas? Give me your 80s memories.

Bad News: Georgia continues fall from grace, grace being the elevation granted by one tiny thread holding it up above Mississippi. I’m talking about education [sic].

On Bad Writing

This week I’ve added some words to This Novel. It is not a tremendous amount, but considering I’d set the project aside for several months and had to get back into it, I feel all right about it. The key to producing material is accepting that early drafts are UGLY and BAD. The key is revision: four-fold, five-fold, however long it takes, however many times a writer has to see (vision) things again.

I share Anne Lamott‘s essay “Shitty First Drafts,” from Bird by Bird, with my composition students, but I’m considering teaching it at the beginning of my literature classes as well. Too many students have the erroneous assumption that they can simply sit down and think for a minute and then type a three page literary analysis paper and be “done.” I try and build tasks of serious revision into our course schedule, but ultimately it is up to the student to give a shit or not. Lamott’s essay explains the necessity of bad first (and second) drafts and clearly articulates one of my most overused teacher phrases, “Writing IS thinking.” Lamott also examines the anxiety that surrounds writing, the anxiety to produce, to be good enough. So, is bad writing okay? Yes, it is a means to better writing, to revision. Is it okay to present it as a final product?–not so much, unless the purpose of said final product is to examine ‘badness,’ as does Steve Almond in his Bad Poetry Corner.

I read an article at Salon by Laura Miller, “Bad Writing: What is it Good for?” I appreciate Miller’s discussion of the abundance of crappy prose. The internet provides the perfect showcase. Miller takes various angles in discussing crappy prose, referencing a list of bad books and Steve Almond’s Bad Poetry Corner. The list of bad books from the American Book Review is tenuous, but I can get behind Almond’s pursuit. The key for the success of Almond’s site is that he already has a marked fan base; he has more than established himself, he is almost an ethos, a cause within cyberspace. One can either praise such self-promotion, which I do because I like his work, or one can find it trite and audacious. I find it fun. I, lacking a ‘platform’ and prurient exposure, should certainly shy away from trying to create any sort of medium out of the horrendous song lyrics and poems that my fifteen year old mind may have birthed. THAT needs to stay in the past. I will never claim to be a poet, probably because I am scarred from reading my teenage endeavors. No need to inflict that adolescent angst on my friends in cyberspace.

Bad writing is a necessary precursor to the good stuff. So, get thee bad writing down. And then, work it up again and again.

Oates on Grief, Teaching, Pursuit

Joyce Carol Oates’ essay, “I Am Sorry to Inform You,” in the 2010 The Atlantic fiction issue is a moving examination of loss, grief, and life. Oates discusses losing her husband of 48 years, Raymond Smith. This essay made me love Oates even more, and the level of truth, painful truth, she articulates gives the reader affirmation and new words. Oates speaks what many of us cannot articulate. This examination of grief, life, and profession is a comfort. And I find the below photo, by Eva Haggdahl, to be simply beautiful.