Encounters in Publishing

Interview

SLICE + VICE: LITERARY AGENT NOAH BALLARD

by Marae Hart

Inspired by the “seven deadly sins,” SLICE + VICE is an exposition of the underbelly of craft. With vice in mind, SLICE asks writers and industry professionals seven short answer questions to illuminate the darker side of creativity and the publishing process.

For the latest SLICE + VICE, we chatted with Curtis Brown literary agent Noah Ballard, who you can catch at the upcoming Slice Literary Writers’ Conference.

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Interview

SLICE + VICE: LITERARY AGENT ANNIE HWANG

by Marae Hart

Inspired by the “seven deadly sins,” SLICE + VICE is an exposition of the underbelly of craft. With vice in mind, SLICE asks writers and industry professionals seven short answer questions to illuminate the darker side of creativity and the publishing process.

For the latest SLICE + VICE, we chatted with Folio Literary Management agent Annie Hwang, who you can also catch at the upcoming Slice Literary Writers’ Conference.

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Interview

TWENTY YEARS, THREE BOOKS: Reintroducing the Short Stories & Novellas of Andre Dubus

by Joshua Bodwell

1998

On a cold February afternoon in 1998, I visited an independent bookshop in Wells, Maine. In the shop’s ever-reliable “Staff Picks” section, I noticed a paperback by Andre Dubus.  I had never heard of Dubus—and it would be years of mispronunciation before I learned that his last name rhymes with “abuse,” like “duh-byooz”—but that day Dancing After Hours leapt out at me.

Back then—and even today, for that matter—any Vintage Contemporaries paperback with a spare mid-1980s/early-1990s cover design and bold stripe of color on the spine gave me pause. I had been making my way slowly through the entire list of the so-called “Dirty Realists” of the day—Ann Beattie, Raymond Carver, Richard Ford, Richard Russo, Joy Williams, and Tobias Wolff—and they all seemed to be on Vintage Contemporaries, many of them edited by Gary Fisketjon, now an editor and vice president at Knopf.

I thumbed the pages of Dancing After Hours. On the back cover were comparisons to Raymond Carver, Flannery O’Connor, and even Anton Chekhov, the greatest of Russian masters. On the basis of a single story’s opening line, I plunked down my twelve dollars: “On a Thursday night in early autumn she nearly committed adultery, was within minutes of consummating it, or within touches, kisses; it was difficult to measure by time or by her mouth and tongue and hands, or by his.” (“The Timing of Sin”)

I quickly discovered Dubus’s work was never easy. The stories were fraught with difficult moments of loneliness and heartache, sudden explosions of violence. And yet, Dubus infused them too with tenderness and redemption, balanced complexity with kindheartedness. He was a devout but complex Catholic, so even when his stories felt suffused with a kind of spirituality, they never felt “religious” in a didactic sense; rather than accepting the black-and-white of church doctrine, they embraced the grayness of reality.

I was rapt.

A few months after my initial discovery, I found three paperback editions of Dubus’s early books at a favorite used bookstore housed in a former train depot: Separate Flights (1975), Adultery & Other Choices (1977), and Finding a Girl in America (1980).The covers of all three books featured austere black-and-white and hand-lettered titling in red. The elegant paperbacks were the work of Boston-based David R. Godine, Publisher. Just as I trusted the curation of theVintage Contemporaries list so much I would stop and consider any book it published, the moment I held those three Dubus books in that wonderfully book-brimming old train depot, I added books published by Godine to that list, too; it was a list that already included Black Sparrow Press and City Lights Books.

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Interview

An Interview with Libby Flores

Libby Flores is a trailblazer. She has worn many different hats in the publishing world and wherever she works she manages to create change for the good. She gained recognition throughout the industry through her work as Director of Literary Programs at PEN Center USA. Earlier this year she directed the Believer Festival in Nevada, which was hailed as a literary micro-Coachella (Publishers Weekly). Libby recently traded the West Coast for the East Coast, and almost immediately landed a position as the Director of Audience Development and Digital Production at BOMB Magazine. She’s also the NYC Director of the Freya Project, a reading series dedicated to uniting women and amplifying their voices. To top it all off, Libby is also a talented writer, whose work has been featured in many publications. In this latest Encounters in Publishing interview, Libby offers insights about the relationship between writers and their audiences, what it means to be a steward in the literary community, and the importance of validation as a writer. You can also find her at our writers’ conference this fall.

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Interview

An Interview with Maris Kreizman

Maris Kreizman’s approach to working in publishing may be unconventional, but it gives her an edge. She isn’t simply in touch with the latest trend, she often sets it. Maris worked in the publishing department of Kickstarter, focusing on innovative ways to connect writers with their readers. She also served as editorial director for the esteemed Book of the Month. Now she’s taken on an exciting new endeavor, launching a book club for BuzzFeed. In this latest Encounters in Publishing interview, Maris talked about the importance of being a fan first, before you jump online and try to tell your work. At the heart of this discussion, she pinpoints the importance of striking up meaningful connections online and how they’ve impacted her own life.

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Interview

An Interview with Literary Agent Quressa Robinson

Quressa Robinson has been devouring books from an early age​, and she turned that passion for stories into a thriving career​ in the literary world. With five years of experience as an editor under her belt, she recently jumped into the world of agenting.​ In this latest interview in the Encounters in Publishing series, Quressa talks about how important it is for writers to develop characters and stories that are fresh and original. Quressa carefully handles all the needs of her clients, guiding them from the drafting of a manuscript to the publication of their book.  She is currently seek​ing​ YA and adult fiction. Quressa is excited to attend the SLICE Literary Conference for the first time this September.

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