The Pen American Center has announced the 2011 award winners. I was particularly pleased to see Danielle Evans win the fiction prize for Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self.
Stacy May Fowles suggests that one way to address the gender imbalance in literary publishing is for men to stop submitting to those magazines who have serious gender imabalances among their contributors until those magazines rectify the disparity. I disagree with the suggestion because the responsibility belongs to editors, not writers, but her argument is interesting.
At the Texas Observer, Brad Green’s story, “Fixing Miss Fritz,” is worth a read or three.
Glenn Beck has something of a literary career and Laurie Winer offers some insight on that career, such as it may be.
In this interview, Dinty Moore talks about what he looks for in submissions and other things.
I recently read Best American Short Stories 2010, edited this year by Richard Russo who is one of my favorite writers. Straight Man? Amazing. Empire Falls? Amazing. My expectations were high. I generally enjoy reading BASS because it gives me a sense of what the literary establishment considers “the best” from year to year. I may not enjoy all the stories in a given year’s anthology but I am always impressed by the overall competence in each chosen story. I don’t think I’ve ever read a story in BASS and thought, “How did that get in there?” At the same time, I often find the BASS offerings to be shamefully predictable. The stories are often sedate and well-mannered even when they are supposedly not. I don’t see a lot of risk taking and more than anything else, I don’t see a lot of diversity in the stories being told. This year, though, BASS really outdid itself. Almost every story in the anthology was about rich or nearly rich white people to the point where, by the end of reading the book, I was downright offended. I know people will disagree with my thoughts here and that’s fine, but I really think shit is fucked up in literary publishing. That’s coarse but I cannot think of a better way to convey my frustration. Anytime I talk about this issue, that’s the best way I can encapsulate my feelings. This issue has been on my mind for a couple weeks (and years) and two things triggered my… current pre-occupation with whose stories are or are not being told.