News & Events


A Dialogue with Susan Bernofsky in PEN America


In the current issue of PEN America (#16: Teachers), director of Columbia’s MFA in Translation Susan Bernofsky and I have a dialogue about our practices as teachers of undergraduate and graduate students, and the lessons we bring to the classroom from our own teachers. (Michael Martone, are you reading this?) Although I’m erroneously identified as teaching at Columbia (which is not true this year), I’m proud to be part of the issue and pleased with how the piece and the issue as a whole turned out. I hope you’ll enjoy reading it! (As a side note: Check out the Bill-Clinton-lookalike Vassar undergrad, c. 1958, on the cover!)



Because I Love the Social Contract

I am really proud that my essay, Reason #40: Because I Love the Social Contract, is part of 90 Days, 90 Reasons.

If anyone has come to my site for the first time after reading that essay, welcome; I’m delighted you’re here and glad to meet you. Come say hello on my Facebook page!

And L’shana tovah u’metukah to everyone!



An Interview with Literary Mama’s Caroline Grant

Caroline Grant, the editor in chief of Literary Mama, recently interviewed me for their blog. Topics include lessons I pass on to my students from my high school teachers (Bob Pridham and Cornelia Reid, are you reading this?), the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to me in a Latin class, and stuff I’d like to invent if I could be an inventor. If you’re interested, you can read it here.



More Publishing Advice

I just uploaded three new posts to the Publishing Advice section of my Advice page: one on when you should start looking for an agent (and, concomitantly, on how you know your book is done in the first place), one on how to know when the story you’re working on is ready to send out, and a third on how to respond if an agent contacts you. I hope these will prove helpful!

Do you have a topic you’d like to propose for this section? Please post it on my Facebook page.



Courses this Academic Year

Just a quick note to let my students at Yale know that, in addition to teaching my upper-level fiction workshop this coming spring, I’ll be teaching an introductory workshop in the fall. If you know beginning fiction writers—or people who might like to give fiction a try, though they haven’t done so yet—please send them my way. Please also be in touch if you’re a current Yale undergrad interested in working on an independent study. This could be a fiction writing project or a program of individual literary study that’s of interest to us both. I’m all ears!

I’d also like to let my NYU graduate students know that I’ll be teaching my craft seminar on plot construction again this fall. This will feature the same wild reading list as last year (anyone for Sesshu Foster, Percival Everett, Jenny Erpenbeck, and Thomas Bernhard?), and I’m looking forward to it. If you have peers who might be interested (and this would include people who think they’re not at all interested in plot: I will win them over), please do send them along.



Pedicure video, anyone?

There is a video of my reading with Paul La Farge at apexart on May 17th! This video is more than sixteen minutes long, which is actually very long in the Internet age, but it has a few features to recommend it: 1) We are soaking our feet in a bowl of water and bath salts while we read, and 2) Paul’s piece is hilarious. You could just kind of fast-forward over my reading and listen to his if feeling pressed for time. Enjoy!



New Additions to the Advice Page

I have two new articles up on my Advice page: How Can I Improve my Chances of Being Accepted to an Undergraduate Workshop? and How Do I Ask a Professor for a Letter of Reference?. I hope either or both might be helpful to you. I’m proud to see that author Erika Dreifus linked to them from her excellent blog—itself a storehouse of good advice for young writers. Many thanks to Sonnet Media for redesigning the Advice page as a whole; it’s now much easier to navigate.



Good News from the Sustainable Arts Foundation

I am absolutely thrilled to have been awarded a Winter 2011 Artist’s Grant from the Sustainable Arts Foundation! This wonderful organization’s mission is to support artists and writers who are also raising families. I’m honored to have been chosen; and very grateful for their help in finishing my new book.



Good Things Come in Threes


My brilliant husband has three recent publications in which you might be interested: a new short story in Fence (both the print and online editions), whose new issue also features new work by Deborah Eisenberg and Fiona Maazel; an essay on observing the yarzheit of a non-Jewish parent, currently up on Tablet; and an article called “Network: How to Use LinkedIn to Connect With Your Community” in the November/December Poets & Writers. I recommend all three!



New Work from the Hopkins & Barton Book Trailer Manufactory

The Hopkins & Barton Book Trailer Manufactory proudly presents the second installment in its book trailer manufacturing project, Tobias’s incisive yet glowing review of Michael Griffith’s new novel, Trophy:



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