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The Authors Guild

Bulletin Board

This week’s batch of contests includes fiction and poetry. Deadlines range from Dec 31-Jan 14.

The Cabell First Novelist Award recognizes a rising new talent in the literary world who has successfully published a first novel. The winner receives $5,000 and a party and the winning novel is taught in courses across Virginia Commonwealth University and by gifted high school students at the Governor’s School in Petersburg, Virginia. Books published from July through December 2013 are eligible for this next deadline and must be the author’s first novel. Deadline: January 14, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.

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Along Publishers Row

by Campbell Geeslin

“When I find books that I love, I feel the author is writing for me alone, and feel a private joy.” The quote is from Liu Xia, the wife of imprisoned Chinese Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo. He has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power.” Ms. Liu is living under house arrest in Beijing.

Another quote from one of her letters to a friend: “My reading has no specific goal, for me it’s rather like breathing—I have to do it in order to live.”

A translation of the letter was sent to The New York Times by Perry Link, a professor at the University of California, Riverside. Ms. Liu described herself as “feeding on books.”

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New Books by Members

This week’s recent and upcoming releases by Authors Guild members include titles by Andrew Clements, Ju Ephraime, Sue Fliess, David Lee Fowler, Peter Hoffer, Laura Long, Alex Prud’homme, Karen Robards, Anne Wilson Schaef, Dyan Sheldon, and Fay Weldon. Titles beneath the jump.

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Indies First Deemed a Success Thanks to 1000 Hand-Selling Authors

More than 1000 authors turned out for Indies First on Nov. 30, answering Sherman Alexie’s call to become a bookseller for the day.

You can watch the event unfold through photos posted by authors and booksellers on the Indies First Facebook page. (Scroll down and you’ll spot many authors you recognize, including T.C. Boyle, Pearl Cleage, Jon Scieszka, Isabel Wilkerson, and, we’re told, our very own Scott Turow looking sharp as he models the official blue Indies First tote bag.)

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Bulletin Board

This week’s batch includes a mix of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry as well as residencies. The deadline for each is December 31, 2013.

The Chautauqua Prize celebrates a book that provides a richly rewarding reading experience and honors the author for a significant contribution to the literary arts. The winner receives $7,500 and all travel and expenses for a one-week summer residency at Chautauqua Institution in western New York. The prize is open to any book of original fiction or narrative/literary nonfiction, written in English. Entry fee: $75. Deadline: December 31, 2013. For more information, please visit the website.

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Along Publishers Row

by Campbell Geeslin

When wintry days whistle in, it’s time to reach for Nicolai V. Gogol’s The Overcoat. Next to a warm fire, there’s nothing more satisfying than a vodka-sized shot of Russian literature.

The boisterous wind “cut his face like a knife, covering it with lumps of snow, swelling out his collar like a sail.”

A priest told Gogol that he must renounce his literary work and enter a monastery. He replied, “Not to write means the same to me as not to live.”

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NY Times Looks at Books and Magazines in Digital Transition

We were struck by the appearance in today’s New York Times of two prominently placed stories about media in transition. Both are well worth reading.

Dave Streitfeld explores the enduring appeal of the traditional book in the digital era.

“Even as the universe of printed matter continues to shrivel, the book — or at least some of its best-known features — is showing remarkable staying power online. The idea is apparently embedded so deeply in the collective unconsciousness that no one can bear to leave it behind.”

Writing that “efforts to reimagine the core experience of the book have stumbled,” Streitfeld notes that a number of tech startups that have tried to incorporate social networking or multimedia into books have either gone out of business or been forced to change their business model.

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New Books by Members

This week’s recent and upcoming releases by Authors Guild members include titles by Alyssa Satin Capucilli, Allan Cole, Michael Connelly, Christine Duval, C. Herbert Gilliland, Debbie Levy, Jacquelyn Mitchard, James Muench, Andrea M. Nelson-Royes, Deborah Raney, Doreen Rappaport, Albert Russo, Marilyn Singer, and Kevin Underhill. Titles under the jump.

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Along Publishers Row

by Campbell Geeslin

David Orr, author of Beautiful and Pointless: A Guide to Modern Poetry, writes a column for The New York Times Book Review.

He wrote, “At any given moment, millions of people in this country are happily not reading poems, and dozens of poets are happy to say they don’t care.”

Does one have to study poetry to become a fan? Orr quotes Philip Larkin, “Oh, for Christ’s sake, one doesn’t study poets! You read them, and think, that’s marvelous, how is it done, could I do it? And that’s how you learn.”

Orr concludes: “When we talk about accessibility, we should remember that poetry, unlike churches and fortresses, has never loved a wall.”

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End of the Road for Siegel and Shuster Heirs’ “Superman” Battle? A Cautionary Tale

First the Jerry Siegel heirs, in February; now the Joe Shuster heirs. The lawsuits over the rights of the heirs of Superman’s co-creators may be over. The Shuster heirs appear stuck with a 1992 agreement paying a “pension” of $25,000 per year. The Siegel heirs fared much better: their 2001 agreement included $3 million up front and an ongoing 6% of gross revenues.

Last Thursday, an appellate court effectively affirmed DC Comics’ ownership of the copyright for Superman in what may be the final chapter in a long, complex and ultimately losing struggle by the heirs of Superman co-creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster to regain their rights to the iconic superhero.

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