by Campbell Geeslin
The lives of real-life writers are being turned into fiction. Novelist Thomas Mallon, author of Fellow Travelers and, most recently, of Watergate: A Novel, wrote in Sunday’s New York Times Book Review, “This territory seems to be expanding of late.”
Mallon lists Colm Toibin’s The Master (about Henry James), Jay Parini’s The Passages of H. M. (about Herman Melville), David Lodge’s A Man of Parts (H.G. Wells) and the newly published Arctic Summer by Damon Galgut, based on the life of E.M. Forster.
“In Arctic Summer,” writes Mallon, readers “will find a narrative voice reminiscent of Forster’s own calm, percipient one. Galgut depicts the novelist participating in ‘buttoned-down conversation about books and travel and opera and architecture’ all the while unable to ‘keep his gaze from sliding sideways, to the figure of the servant who bent in to clear the plates.’”
This week’s recent and upcoming books by our members include titles P.M.H. Atwater, Linda Coleman, Beverly Lanzetta, David Madden, Alberto Ruy-Sánchez, Robert Seidman, Susan Sussman, J.E. Thompson, SF Tomajczyk, and Jamie Langston Turner. Titles below the jump.
This week’s batch of contests is brimming with poetry prizes. The deadline for each is Oct 31.
The James Hearst Poetry Prize is currently open for submissions. Entries may include up to five previously unpublished poems. The winner will receive $1,000 and publication in the Spring 2015 issue of the North American Review. Entry fee: $20 (includes a one year subscription to the North American Review). Deadline: October 31, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.
The Poetry Society of the United Kingdom is currently seeking submissions for the National Poetry Competition. The competition is open to anyone aged 17 or over at the time of entering. International entries are welcome. The winner will receive £5000, publication in The Poetry Review, and will be invited to read at the Ledbury Poetry Festival in July 2014. Poems should not exceed 40 lines and should be written in English. Entry fee: £6 for the first entry and £3.50 for each subsequent entry. Deadline: October 31, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.
by Campbell Geeslin
“Writers are starting to realize that in predicting the future, they have actually helped shape it,” wrote Nick Bilton in The New York Times. He suggested that some sci-fi writers may have contributed “to dark advances in technology.”
H. G. Wells first wrote about atomic bombs in 1914. George Orwell predicted an N.S.A.-like surveillance state. “And writers have been envisioning incredibly destructive weapons of all shapes and sizes, for centuries,” Bilton said.
Back in 2011, Arizona State University president Michael Crow challenged Neal Stephenson, the author of several sci-fi novels, to stop writing dystopian stories and offer ideas with a brighter outlook.
Last week, the university released Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future. There are no dark stories. Co-editor Kathryn Cramer told the Times, “We’re hoping to show that there are a lot of things we can do better.”
This week’s recent and upcoming books by our members include titles by David A. Adler, Kathy Caple, Doreen Cronin, Lisa Doan, G. Brian Karas, Michelle Knudsen, Jacqueline Briggs Martin, Laurel Neme, Jon Scieszka, Marilyn Singer, R.L. Stine, and Dianne White. Titles below the jump.
This week’s batch of contests is a mixed bag of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Deadlines range from October 15-31.
The American Poetry Review is currently accepting submissions for the Honickman First Book Prize, open to U.S. citizens who have not published a book-length collection of poems. Poems previously published in periodicals or limited-edition chapbooks may be included in the manuscript, but the manuscript itself must not have been published as a book-length work. Manuscripts must be at least 48 pages. The winner will receive $3,000, publication, and distribution by Copper Canyon Press through Consortium. Entry fee: $25. Deadline: October 31, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.
The Amazon-Hachette conflict returned to the news this week, with two Authors Guild members playing prominent roles. Monday brought news that Authors United, the grassroots group formed this summer to support writers caught in the middle of the Amazon-Hachette dispute, unveiled its second initiative: an open letter to Amazon’s board of directors. The group, founded by Authors Guild Council Member Douglas Preston, but unaffiliated with the Guild, has grown to 1,100 authors.
Following this announcement, on Tuesday morning Authors Guild President Roxana Robinson appeared on Bloomberg Television’s “In the Loop” to discuss the potential effects of the letter and whether Amazon’s poor treatment of authors has endangered its reputation with consumers. Robinson argued that Amazon’s “targeting” of writers during its dust-up with Hachette threatens to erode the public’s confidence that Amazon is a author- and reader-friendly company. “People who buy books often tend to be people of conscience, and they recognize what Amazon is doing and they don’t like it,” Robinson said. “It’s very easy to find another source of books.”
The broadcast became heated over the question of whether books are products like any other in the marketplace. Robinson’s tablemate on the program, Bloomberg Contributing Editor Paul Kedrosky, took issue with Robinson’s claim that “a book is not like a brick.” He proceeded to mock authors’ conceptions of themselves as “special snowflakes.” Robinson took issue with the demeaning phrase, and then defended writers as “creators of serious intellectual property that support our culture and have done so for thousands of years.”
by Campbell Geeslin
Emily St. John Mandel’s new novel is Station Eleven. She is 35 years old, has published three earlier novels, and lives in Brooklyn.
Mandel told The New York Times, “When I started writing, there were a few post-apocalyptic novels, but not quite the incredible glut there is now. I was afraid the market might be saturated.”
It wasn’t. Knopf bought Station Eleven with a six-figure advance. That was more than Mandel earned for all three earlier novels.
Times interviewer Alexandra Alter said, “Some trace the current literary fascination with the end of civilization to The Road, Cormac McCarthy’s 2006 novel, which became a bestseller and won the Pulitzer.”
Mandel said, “It’s almost as if The Road gave more literary writers permission to approach the subject.”
In the September 14 Times Book Review, the reviewer of Station Eleven, Sigrid Nunez, wrote that the book “offers comfort and hope to those who believe or want to believe that doomsday can be survived, that in spite of everything, that people will remain good at heart, and that when they start building a new world they will want what was best about the old.”
This week’s recent and upcoming books by our members include titles by Carolyne Aarsen, David A. Adler, Robin Overby Cox, Nancy Raines Day, Kate Flora, Joe Gannon, Wayne Everett Goins, Katherine Howe, Susan Morse, Paula E. Morton, Walter Mosley, Dennis Palumbo, Charles Sheehan-Miles, and Gail Sheehy. Titles below the jump.
This week’s batch includes a prize for experimental fiction as well as a fellowship for writers in the middle of their careers. Deadlines range from Oct 1-15.
The Amy Lowell Traveling Poetry Scholarship is an annual scholarship of approximately $54,000 established to support travel abroad for gifted American-born poets. There is no age requirement, and there is no requirement that applicants be enrolled in a university or other education program. While many recent winners have been published poets, there is no requirement that applicants have previously published their work. Applicants should submit a representative sample of their poetry. The sample must not exceed either one printed volume plus no more than 20 typed pages of your most recent work, or if you do not have a printed volume you may send up to 40 typed pages of your poetry. Deadline: October 15, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.