Hierarchy & Division in the Writing World

Recently I asked a writer and agent whether I should attend an upcoming pitch conference to pitch my revision book. His reaction surprised me: He compared current trends in publishing to the increasing disparity of wealth in our country, the separation between the “haves” and the “have nots,” the elevation of celebrities and specialists and the successful above most ordinary folk… To move from peon status to what our culture views as success, he said, you have to get on your knees and beg. He sees pitch conferences as an opportunity to beg.

While I don’t entirely agree (I pitched my book at AWP and got an agent at Bloomsbury to look at my proposal; was that begging?), I’ve been mulling over his analogy ever since. (more…)

Permission for Privacy

KeyWestGroupSo Marilynne Robinson’s on stage. It’s day three of the Key West Literary Seminar—the crowd of a few hundred has been reveling in authorly conversations leading up to this climactic lecture, and we’re all a bit weary. The focus of the seminar is “how the light gets in” or “literature of the spirit.” Whatever that means. No one seems to know, although these authors have dedicated their lives to this work. (more…)