News & Events
Over the course of the past few years, I’ve had the honor to be interviewed by James Peacock, a scholar whose current work addresses representations of Brooklyn in contemporary fiction. His questions have been thoughtful, insightful, often unexpected. I’m thrilled to report that the complete interview has just been published in the journal Contemporary Literature. You need to pay for online access (or buy a physical copy, or check one out at your local university library), but I’d still be thrilled if you’d like to read it!
While I work on revisions to The Book of Esther and prepare for it to come out next year, I thought it would be fun to give some things away on my Facebook page. I have a first-edition copy of The Testament of Yves Gundron that I’m ready to inscribe and send to someone; I’ll hold a little draw when I get to 600 likes. Want to come join me over there? There’s literary and teaching news, and occasionally a cute picture of a cat, kid, or baby. If you’d like to, please visit my page, click Like, and enable notifications (so you’ll hear about it when the giveaway happens—curses on you, Zuck, for not otherwise allowing authors, artists, and small businesses to reach the people interested in their work!). See you there, and more soon.
The Massachusetts Review nominated my story “The Once and Future Capital” for a Pushcart Prize! I’m so excited; this is my first nomination. It’s in the Summer 2014 issue if you’d still like to support a great journal and read it! And in case you’re interested, here’s my little piece about how the town harlot got her name.
I am thrilled to report that Tim Duggan Books (Tim Duggan’s eponymous new imprint at Crown) will publish my third novel, The Book of Esther, likely sometime in the spring of 2016! Tim is a remarkable editor; I feel so fortunate to be able to work with him on this project. More news as it becomes available.
Thank you to my family, and to the many friends, colleagues, and readers who have supported and encouraged me as this book has followed its path to completion. I am beyond grateful, and can’t wait to show you what I’ve been up to.
Back in 2006, I had the honor of participating in an auction to benefit the First Amendment Project. Authors auctioned off the right to name characters in their writing to support the good work of protecting freedom of speech. At the time, I was writing a novel set in 1930s Berlin, so I asked for a German name. But the person who won my auction said she’d really like to have a character named after her, and her name was Irish. So I asked if she’d be willing to wait for an opportunity to arise.
That person is Quinn Heraty, a partner in her own firm specializing in entertainment law. (I was thrilled as all get-out to discover that she works with John Hall, who is also a lawyer, but known to me as a poet; back in the day he was the genius behind the spoken-word band King Missile.) And the fictional Quinn Heraty now stars as the town harlot in “The Once and Future Capital.” (Don’t worry, I asked Ms. Heraty before I used her name for that purpose. She was game. Because she’s cool!) I am thrilled that I finally got to honor our peculiar little contract. Hooray for free speech, and for cool people, and for fiction’s mysterious alchemy.
When you read the story, send some mental thanks her way! To me, the name seems just right for the character: interesting, unexpected, gender ambiguous in the right, sexy way. The story wouldn’t be the same without it.
The Summer issue of the Massachusetts Review
I have a new story, “The Once and Future Capital,” in the new issue of The Massachusetts Review. I couldn’t be more excited! It’s about Kingston. Please go read it!
(There are Yves Gundron bumper stickers, too.)
Not long ago, we were driving down my father’s road—winding, unpaved, only a few houses on it—when we saw a parked car with a magnetic decal on the side. Usually, such decals advertise local businesses, but this one was promoting a novel. As I continued to drive, Tom took out his hand-dandy Internet device and we looked up the book, which turned out to be . . . possibly a little kooky? It promised to reveal truths about the universe (it sounded a little Secret-esque); and the few sentences we read were gummed up with adverbs. But we felt fundamental kinship with the driver of that car (an author? An author’s friend? Either way). And thought we’d like to do something similar—if a little more tongue-in-cheek.
So we are happy to present The Hopkins and Barton Emporium. At present it features one Brookland bumper sticker, another for Yves Gundron, one that kind of sums up our position on the sorry state of political dialogue in this country, and another reminding people not to text and drive. (Since they’re for cars, and it’s such an important safety issue.) Wanna head over and buy one? We’d be tickled. And maybe we’ll think up some kind of contest soon and give a few out as prizes.
In order to take my current wonderful job as the Elizabeth Drew Professor at Smith College, we moved to Northampton, MA. As a result, we’re selling our beautiful house in the Hudson Valley. If you teach at Bard, Vassar, Marist, SUNY New Paltz, or UCC; or if you work in Albany or NYC and could make an easy commute (by bus, train, or easy access to the Interstate); or if you’re a writer, artist, or other person who works at home, it would be a great house for you. (Before it was our house, it belonged to the beloved Jewish children’s book author Simms Taback, who won the Caldecott while living there.) We also think it would make a fabulous weekend house for New Yorkers who’d like the appurtenances of a country house (lots of space, quiet, a deep, beautiful yard) while retaining the perks of living in a town (such as being able to walk to a great farmers’ market, organic coffee, an incredible butcher, and the best bar at which it has ever been my pleasure to drink a cocktail). The house is a three-bedroom, 1.5-bath on a quiet, friendly block. We put in an all-new kitchen, replaced the floors on the first story, and just upgraded it to a high-efficiency natural gas furnace. And we’re offering it at a break-even price because we don’t live there anymore.
If you like the sound of it, take a peek at this flattering write-up on Upstater and at the official listing (the MLS # is 20141289). If you can pass this information on to anyone who might be looking, we’ll be grateful!
I’m very excited to have a new story, “The Once and Future Capital,” forthcoming in the Summer 2014 issue of The Massachusetts Review. Details TK!
I’m flattered that in the past few months I’ve been inundated with requests for advice about such topics as finding an agent or publisher and when/why/how to apply for an MFA. The advice section of this website features concise, practical thinking on these topics. (And can tell you how—and how not—to request a letter of reference.) I hope it can be of service to my students, former students, readers, and friends. If there’s a topic I haven’t yet addressed that you’d like to see an article on, please message me on my Facebook page. I’ll try to get a response up quickly!