The author of PRETTY IS describes her inspirations
Maggie Mitchell photographed by Jill Sutton.
Words I missed in the course of my spelling bee career, between the ages of 11 and 14: Vichyssoise. Oenologist. Creel. Narcissism.
I had no acquaintance with French cuisine, or viniculture, or the accoutrements of fishermen: the first three words could be excused. But narcissism? That one has always felt like an ironic nudge, a slightly barbed private joke. Wasn’t it admiration I was seeking on the spelling bee circuit, in my own hapless, nerdy way? And doesn’t that boil ...
Author of SPEAK
Loiusa Hall photographed by Bonnie Berry.
A few weeks ago, a publishing sales representative visited the bookstore where I work. He lives on the West Coast, but he was in Houston for personal reasons: a family member was receiving treatment at the Texas Medical Center. Yet despite the tough spot in his life, he became animated about books, telling me about one in particular: “Have you read Speak yet? It’s amazing—and it’s not even my book!” What he meant was, he didn’t work for Speak ...
Lidia Yuknavitch photographed by Andrew Kovalev.
The girl comes alive in the white of the snow and on the white of the page in Lidia Yuknavitch’s incendiary new novel, The Small Backs of Children. It’s a story as fragmented as the fallout from the bomb that obliterated the girl’s family yet as interconnected as the lived experiences that bind the far-flung female artists populating Yuknavitch’s universe. In a war-torn Eastern European country, an American photographer captures the exact moment the girl becomes an orphan and the ...
Donn Pearce knew a thing or two about The System.
Donn Pearce’s Cool Hand Luke is a hot book. A hot, sweaty book. A hot, sweaty, stinking book. When you read it, having worked vicariously on a chain gang in a Florida July, you’ll want to take four or five showers—and you’ll give up any thought of a life of crime, especially one south of the Pee Dee and east of the Atchafalaya.
Published in 1965, Cool Hand Luke is a dripping-forehead book about heat, yes. More than that, it ...
Naomi Jackson photographed by Lola Flash.
Novelist Naomi Jackson leads a hyphenated life: Caribbean-American. She was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised by West Indian parents—mom from Barbados, dad from Antigua, stepmom from Jamaica—in the predominantly West Indian neighborhoods of Flatbush and Crown Heights. And yet, frequent trips to visit the Caribbean were considered “going home.”
“This question of home is one that’s haunted Caribbean people for a long time, since so many have had to seek their fortunes outside of where they first ...
Our survey of books first published overseas that are making their way to America
Jesse Armstrong photographed by Barney Jones.
Sophie and the Sibyl
U.K.: April 9, 2015 | Bloomsbury
U.S.: Aug. 4, 2015 | Bloomsbury USA
George Eliot is old and ugly with wonderful eyes to the slightly hungover Max, the 23-year-old brother of her German publisher, when he meets her in Berlin. Duncker sends them off together to the spa town of Homburg, where Eliot—the sibyl of the title—and Max run into the beautiful, imperious, rich, intelligent Sophie von Hahn, whom Max is to marry. A ...
Emily Mitchell photographed by Britt Olsen-Ecker.
Emily Mitchell is the author of Viral. But who is Emily Mitchell, really?
“Emily Mitchell has worked as a waitress, a receptionist at a bakery/tanning salon, a short-order cook, a snowmobile driver, a crime-scene cleanup technician, an exotic animal trainer, a war correspondent, a phone dispatcher, a secretary, an environmental campaigner, a freelance journalist, a bean counter and a holistic pediatric oncologist,” Mitchell writes in “Biographies.”
“Biographies” isn’t her biography, but one of a dozen delightfully diverse ...
Publishing is still a business forged from personal connections
What’s the point of BookExpo America? Every year the publishing industry’s annual convention seems to get smaller, and half the conversation on the floor seems to be of the “Why am I here?” variety. But as archaic as it may be, publishing is still a business forged out of personal connections, of agents knowing which editor would be right for a particular author and publicists knowing which reviewers will like what books. So much of publishing is still about ...