Alexander Chee invites Ann Beattie, Matt Bell, and five other writers to reflect on the usage of the present tense, “the current preferred mode of the self-taught writer.” Pair with our own Michael Bourne’s essay on grammar and Anthony Doerr.
The publishing industry is roughly 86% white. Yet comparative titles, or “book comps,” are whiter still, the L.A. Review of Books has found, arguing that this makes it exceptionally difficult for writers of color to place their books with imprints at Big Five publishers. “Comps,” in other words, “perpetuate the status quo.” Here’s how.
“Every sense cleared about three hundred percent and stood up on its hind legs waving its feelers.” Eighty years ago, James Agee got an assignment that entered him into history, though not during his lifetime. Let us now celebrate Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. See also: our essay on famous artist-writer collaborations, like Agee’s with Walker Evans.
“If I’ve sat on my arse all day—and it’s definitely my English arse I sit on, not an American ass—then what I most want to do come evening is sit on it some more,” Geoff Dyer loves to sit. He and other authors discussed why the standing desk is overrated at The New Republic. Here’s where our writers work.