Any writer who has felt the sting of rejection—that is, all writers—will be inspired by the story of Dick Wimmer, who has died at the age of 74. Over the course of 25 years, a total of 162 agents and publishers rejected Wimmer’s first novel, Irish Wine, before it was finally published by Mercury House in 1989. The New York Times called it a “taut, finely written, exhaustingly exuberant first novel.” The L.A. Times invoked James Joyce in its review. Wimmer, the iron man of the rejection wars, went on to publish two sequels, Boyne’s Lassie and Hagar’s Dream (All three books are now available in a single volume from Soft Skull.) The moral of Wimmer’s story? Never give up.
You may have heard that J.K. Rowling published a crime novel last year under the pen name Robert Galbraith. According to her alter ego’s website, Rowling will publish another novel as Galbraith, one featuring (again) the private investigator Cormoran Strike. (If you missed it, you should definitely read Elizabeth Minkel’s recent piece on Ron/Hermione and authorial regrets.)
Adonis, the great Syrian poet, has reproduced and adapted one of the ancient Muallaqat (The Suspended Odes) originally written by Zuhayr. The reproduction is hand-written on a scroll of paper, and then painted on, thereby “creating a new and contemporary interpretation of the text.”
“Usually, with a novel, you start with no idea what to do because your job is to create convincing characters and then they just run around getting crazy. The problem with writing a memoir, obviously, is you can’t do that because you sort of know what’s going to happen. Because you’re the character.” – Gary Shteyngart
Elissa Schappell’s quick-witted book criticism now has an online presence with the debut of her Vanity Fair column, Just My Type. First up: a look at new fantasy fiction and a consideration of genre-bending novels, with a winning recommendation of Ann Beattie’s Mrs. Nixon.