Elaine Kaufman supported writers at her restaurant when she was alive, and the Table 4 Writers Foundation keeps her legacy going with its grant. The third annual writers’ grants contest will award a $5,000 grand prize and two $2,500 prizes for promising writers. Applications are due by November 15 and can be submitted here. For more on Kaufman, read our own Bill Morris’s tribute.
“The purpose of being a serious writer is not to express oneself, and it is not to make something beautiful, though one might do those things anyway. Those things are beside the point. The purpose of being a serious writer is to keep people from despair. If you keep that in mind always, the wish to make something beautiful or smart looks slight and vain in comparison. If people read your work and, as a result, choose life, then you are doing your job.” Year in Reading alumna Sarah Manguso on envy and the purpose of writing. Pair with Jaime Green’s Millions review of Manguso’s Ongoingness.
Pew Research published 10 Facts About Americans and Public Libraries, and some of the findings may surprise you. For example, would you have guessed that 26% of library patrons say their use has gone up in the past five years? Other findings, of course, won’t shock anybody — such as the fact that e-reading is on the rise, which, as I noted two years ago, poses some serious ecological challenges.
“It all adds up to a fascinating portrait-of-the-artist-on-the-make in the booming 1950s. And it makes you wish the stories were better.” Year-in-Reading alum Jess Walter reviews a new (911-page) collection of stories by Kurt Vonnegut. See also: “2 B R 0 2 B”, a “lost” Vonnegut story that first appeared in the sci-fi journal Worlds of If in January 1962.
Ultra-niche magazines operate a bit differently than their larger and more mainstream cousins. Magazines like Donkey Talk, which caters exclusively to donkey hobbyists, aim for tiny audiences of a few hundred to a few thousand readers. They also cultivate their own jargon -- one magazine, The Mountain Astrologer, tosses the word “quincunx” around as casually as “email.”
Are you a writer in the Philadelphia area? Are you looking for “a comfortable, congenial environment where you can meet other writers, editors and publishers?” If you answered yes to both of these questions, then this September’s Barrelhouse Conversations & Connections conference will be right up your alley. This year’s keynote speaker will be Familiar author J. Robert Lennon.