Blog

The Authors Guild

Along Publishers Row

by Campbell Geeslin

Ewan Clayton is the author of The Golden Thread: The Story of Writing. He is a Brit, a former monk, a calligrapher and teacher. A reviewer of his book said, “He brings his craftsman’s perspective to his history of the Roman alphabet from its start to its finish.”

In an interview with PW, Clayton said, “Two things [about writing] fascinate me. First, the act of writing itself. Making contact with another surface and then moving across it in a sequence of movements, it’s like a dance or a kind of free-running in a city of letterforms as you surmount the challenges that each new combination of shapes throws at you, and always you keep your flow going. The second thing is what happens to a document after it is written, the activity that surrounds it.”

Read More…

Bulletin Board

This week’s batch includes a residency, a translation prize, a medical themed prize for poetry, and a short story contest. Deadlines range from Jan 31-Feb 1.

The Goethe-Institut Chicago is accepting submissions for the Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator’s Prize, which honors an outstanding literary translation from German into English published in the US the previous year. The winner (translator) will receive $10,000 and an all-expenses paid trip to Chicago, where the award ceremony will be held. Fiction, nonfiction, and poetry are eligible. Deadline: January 31, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.

The Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine is an annual international award for an unpublished poem on a medical subject. Poems must be no more than 50 lines in length and not have previously been published in any form. They must be written in English and should not be translations of another writer’s work. The winner will receive £5,000 (or approximately $8,184). Entry fee: £10 per poem. Deadline: January 31, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.

Read More…

Along Publishers Row

by Campbell Geeslin

Are women authors who write about women ignored by critics?

Novelist Jennifer Weiner (The Next Best Thing, 2012) was the subject of an eight-page Profile in the Jan. 13 New Yorker.  The title was “Written Off,” and it dealt with her “quest for literary respect.”

Weiner’s titles have sold 4.5 million copies and spent 249 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list. None has ever been reviewed in the Times Book Review.

Weiner made her case: “There is so much antipathy today toward the idea of fiction existing for pleasure or escapism. I just have a very hard time seeing entertainment as a bad thing. The things that come up again and again in my books, like a man who thinks that you are beautiful just as you are: is that sentimental, wish-fulfillment bullshit that isn’t ever going to happen in real life? I feel like it’s something that we want, and I believe in it, even if it is sentimental.”

Weiner gives many readers what they want. But literary critics may be looking for something else—the prose and perception of a Jane Austen or George Eliot.

Read More…

New Books by Members

This week’s recent and upcoming books by our members include titles by Raymond Buckland, Lynn Darling, Patricia A. DeMaio, Patrick A. Durantou, Elizabeth Foxwell, Russell Freedman, Connie Goldsmith, Joan Bransfield Graham, Matthew Kennedy, Christine Kohler, Lois Lowry, Pearl Ketover Prilik, and Susan VanHecke. Titles under the jump.

Read More…

Bulletin Board

This week’s batch of contests includes a fellowship for our Massachusetts residents as well as contests for fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Deadlines range from January 27-31.

The Iowa Review Awards is a multi-genre writing contest in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Submissions may be up to 25 pages of prose or 10 pages of poetry (one poem or several, but no more than one poem per page). Work must be previously unpublished.  The winner will receive $1,500 and the runners-up will receive $750. All manuscripts will be considered for publication. Entry fee: $20. Deadline: January 31, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.

The Massachusetts Art Council’s Artist Fellowships provide direct, unrestricted support to Massachusetts artists in recognition of exceptional original work, to foster the creation of new art in the Commonwealth. Any artist 18 years or older who has been a legal resident of Massachusetts for the last two years at the time of application is eligible. All Artist Fellows/Finalists must be legal residents of Massachusetts when grants are awarded. Submissions must be 25 pages or less, but may be a single work or up to four works or excerpts. Deadline: January 27, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.

Read More…

Along Publishers Row

by Campbell Geeslin

E.B. White’s fame continues mostly because of a pig and a spider (Charlotte’s Web, 1952).  But throughout his life, he had a special affection for dogs.

Now, his granddaughter, Martha White, has collected and edited E.B. White on Dogs—a book of essays, letters and poems about his canine friends.

Over the years he had labs, Scotties, half-breeds and mutts.  He wrote of his “ignoble dachshund, Fred,” “I like to read books on dog training. Being the owner of a dachshund, to me a book about dog discipline becomes a volume of inspired humor. Every sentence is a riot.”

Read More…

New Books by Members

Happy 2014! We hope everyone had a good holiday. This week’s recent and upcoming books by our members include titles by Laurie Halse Anderson, Janie Baskin, E.L. Doctorow, Michelle Edwards, Ju Ephraime, Nancy Horan, Julie Kramer, Janet Lawler, James A. Levine, Jess Lourey, Valerie Martin, Lois Swann, Lisa Unger, and Michele Zackheim. Titles beneath the jump.

Read More…

Happy Holidays!

 

We’re shutting down the virtual presses for the year. We’ll flip the switch back on January 6th, provided there’s news that merits your attention at that time.

Best wishes for 2014, everyone!

The Authors Guild

Along Publishers Row

by Campbell Geeslin

“Dickens, writing profusely about Christmas, reciting popular works before audiences in England and America, became the author who seemed to embody the very spirit of the season.”

That quote is from the late Jack Newcombe’s introduction to A Christmas Treasury, a book he edited in 1982. Newcombe was on the staff of Life magazine.

He quoted Dickens too, of course: “Who can be insensible to the outpourings of good feeling, and the honest exchanges of affectionate attachment, which abound in this season of the year.” That is from Dickens’ Sketches by Boz, written in 1836.

William Makepeace Thackeray wrote about Dickens’ The Christmas Carol in 1844: “It seems to be a national benefit, and to every man or woman who reads it a personal kindness. What a feeling is this for a writer to be able to inspire, and what a reward to reap!”

GOOD NEWS: Adam Kirsch is a poet and author of books about Lionel Trilling and Benjamin Disraeli. He wrote in The New York Times Book Review:

“The best literary news of 2013 is that, as Evan Hughes reported in The New Republic, books have not succumbed to the downward spiraling revenue trend: Sales of books in all formats actually grew by almost $2 billion in the last five years, and e-books have turned out to complement printed books without replacing them. It’s easy to see why writers should be happy—they can continue to get paid for their work—but this is equally good news for readers, who still need publishers to find, foster and distribute good writing.”

FACT OR FICTION: Richard Yates said of his writing, “The emotions of fiction are autobiographical but the facts never are.” He was quoted in The Guardian.

ABOUT BIOS: Gary Giddings is director of the Leon Levy Center of Biography at CUNY Graduate Center. He is the author of Celebrating Bird: The Triumph of Charlie Parker.

In an essay for The Wall Street Journal, he wrote: “Comparing life-writing to fiction writing, Andre Maurois argued that ‘biography is a means of expression when the author has chosen his subject in order to respond to a secret need in his own nature.’ We may buy biographies to learn about the subject, but we keep reading because the biographer has put something undeniably personal in the portrait.”

HANDICAP: Kimberly Elkins’s first book, What Is Visible: A Novel, isn’t due out until June but promotion has already begun. Amazon is taking orders, explaining that the book’s main character is blind, deaf and has no sense of taste or smell. Illness struck when she was two years old, 40 years before Helen Keller was born.

We are told that this fiction is written “in an intricate style, populated with many true historical figures.”

Elkins’ big challenge: her seriously afflicted heroine is one of the narrators.

REPEAT: Hollywood has announced that it will remake Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. Sydney Lumet directed a 1974 version with a cast of stars that included Vanessa Redgrave, Lauren Bacall, Sean Connery and Albert Finney as Hercule Poirot. It is frequently shown on TV.

There was also a TV version in 2001 with Alfred Molina as the detective.

Why a new version? I certainly remember who did it. Don’t you?

ON RELIGION: Sam Sacks writes a column, Fiction Chronicle, for The Wall Street Journal.  Recently he observed: “Reading a work of religious fiction is a little like stepping inside a house of worship. If the book professes the tenets of your faith, you read it to have your beliefs reaffirmed or refocused. But if you are an outsider to its creeds—if you are just visiting—you must be particularly open minded to resolve whatever beauties and truths it has to impart.”

AN ENDING: The late Geir Kjetsaa was professor of Russian literary history at the University of Oslo. He was also a translator and author of Fyodor Dostoyevsky: A Writer’s Life (1985).

Read More…

Bulletin Board

This week’s batch includes several fellowships and residencies and a little something for our members residing in Washington (State) and Texas. Deadlines range from January 13-15.

The Artist Trust Fellowships are designed to recognize artistic achievement, dedication to an artistic discipline, and potential for further professional development for artists living in Washington State. Fourteen fellowships of $7,500 are awarded. Applicants must be 18 years or older and must be a resident of Washington State at the time of application. This year, the Artist Trust has partnered with the Millay Colony to provide one artist each in the Literary and Music disciplines a one-month long residency at the Colony and a $1,000 stipend. The residencies will take place in September and October of 2014. Artists in these disciplines should indicate their interest in the residency when applying for the Fellowship and provide a summary of how they would use the residency. Deadline: January 13, 2014. For more information including complete submission guidelines, please visit the website.

Read More…