►Advice, tips, and seminar round-ups from the Writer's Digest's conference, The Business of Getting Published, held last weekend in New York City, are gathered here.
►Contemplating a city without free public libraries is terrible enough. And somehow, that city being Philadelphia, historic home to many publishing initiatives, it was even worse to consider. Massive budget shortfalls in the Pennsylvania state budget meant this was slated to occur on October 2, but fortunately letters, pressure, and special legislation eventually prevailed.
►In case you're not caught up with the week's news, the MacArthur Foundation announced its 2009 list of Genius Grant recipients – individuals from various disciplines each receive half a million bucks, no strings attached, just to continue being creative in their respective fields. Literary names include Edwidge Danticat, Deborah Eisenberg, and Heather McHugh.
►I'm happy to know that The New Yorker is going to be exempt from the mandate apparently issued this week to all other Conde Nast magazines to cut expenses by 25 %. I'm a fan of TNY, and want to see it thrive. And I understand that most literary endeavors need funding not tied to profits to survive. Still, I keep hoping someone – and the folks at CN seem massively qualified – will one day work out a way to both support literature in a mass-market publication and be fiscally successful, too. Meanwhile, Go Remnick!
►Speaking of magazines, Web Designers Depot compiled some of the most controversial magazine covers of all time. Agree with the choices? [update: broken link here has been fixed.]
►Attention MFA students, alumni and faculty: What do you think MFA students should expect (demand?) from a program? Erika Dreifus is collecting opinions about this over at her Practicing Writing blog.
►Shelf Awareness bills itself as "daily enlightenment for the book trade." I'd say it's an interesting destination for anyone interested in books, period. My favorite feature is the daily run down on which authors are slated for TV appearances that day.
►At The Rumpus, in a review of Jill McCorkle's new short story collection, Going Away Shoes, Skip Horack notes: "Writers who are able to make us laugh out loud are often viewed with unjust suspicion, as some readers seem to fear that humor is somehow “unliterary,” that what makes us laugh cannot also be profound. That’s nonsense, of course, and the dark humor contained in these stories testifies to what Shakespeare knew well: that humor has the power to expose as much about our struggles and our pains as it does about our triumphs and our joys."
►I'm a sucker for anything British. Don't know why and no longer care. I just go with it. So I'm enjoying a new blog find for all the reasons any procrastinating activity ought to make one both giddy and guilty. It's written by a British author of young adult novels, and she's long winded, funny, honest, a bit crude, no-nonsense but also whimsical, and loaded with Britishisms some of which I still can't puzzle out. She calls herself "crabbit". Just read her and you'll get that one. Start with the recent post, Why Do I Write At All?"
Have a great weekend. Laugh.