The Kids Are All Right
Written by
The Agent
June 2010
Written by
The Agent
June 2010
Leaving publishing's future to tk, by Erin Hosier. I am pleased to announce that I found inspiration in Denver this weekend. It was my second visit in five years to the Lighthouse Writer's Workshop annual Lit Fest, but I feel like this time was different. I met all kinds of great people with great ideas, but more than anything I was reminded that the future of publishing is really in the hands of the next wave - the young people with the energy, connections and brains to keep the dream alive while expanding the idea of what it means to be a reader and a publisher. Not only are they both pretty easy on the eyes, but Andy Hunter and Scott Lindenbaum - the bros behind Electric Literature, a quarterly short story press out of NYC - are extra impressive because they're doing something almost unheard of in the world of literary magazines today: they're paying their contributors. At first blush you'd think that's how they've gotten Colson Whitehead, Aimee Bender and Lydia Davis to submit short fiction to the quarterly, but having now spent a few days in their company I'm convinced any writer would publish there for free. That's how thoughtful, progressive, well-read and inspiring it is to hang out with them. And they're designing apps and shit. One of them was carrying an ipad in his murse, and was reading manuscripts on the plane ride home. And the other was nursing a kind of ever-present literary insomnia due to constantly attending this reading or that Literary Death Match. I got sleepy just hearing about it. Just as impressive was the young literary agent Julie Schilder of InkWell Management, who kicked ass on our panel about the Dos and Do Nots of publishing (I wish it was the "Dos and Donuts" though they did have lovely tea bread), and single handedly inspired me to read more contemporary fiction for pleasure. Other young innovators who deserve a mention is the staff behind flatmancrooked, a new publisher out of California who are taking on the most exciting young writers of their generation and putting out their work with exhaustive publicity campaigns and multiple formats. Look for them on the cover of Poets & Writers this month. I also want to pay tribute to another person under 40 (The New Yorker says this is the cut off, not me) who is making it happen. Back in 2006, novelist and screenwriter Brad Listi started a daily blog on his Myspace in order to create a community. That community became The Nervous Breakdown, a daily forum for authors from around the world that has exciting expansion plans including its own publishing imprint. I'm regularly in awe of Brad's attention to detail, generosity with other writers and his passion for what's next. SWers: Who and what is inspiring you these days?

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  • Edan Lepucki

    I'm blushing.

    I agree with Deborah Siegal: you are inspiring!

    I'm also inspired by my fellow contributors at The Millions, who write such thoughtful essays and reviews, and make me excited to be a writer and reader today. I've been especially wowed with Emily St. John Mandel lately, who is not only a terrific essayist, but a bad-ass fiction writer as well--her two books, Last Night in Montreal and The Singer's Gun, make independent booksellers all over the country swoon. I read and loved the first, and I can't wait to get to the second. She's one to watch...

  • Delta Donohue

    Sounds like you had a great time in Denver. Next time you are here you should check out Pomegranate Place also!

  • Carleen

    Glad to hear LitFest went well for you!

  • Brooke Linville

    Did you go to the Tattered Cover? That bookstore is inspiring to me!

  • Gina Frangello

    Love seeing TNB and Dzanc being loved up in the same post (well, including the comments!) I'm really honored to be affiliated with both of these fabulous publishing venues!

  • Cathy Day

    I've also been really inspired by the energy and smarts of the next generation. Today, I read this article in the Chonicle, and I recognized a lot of my own middle-aged whining in it. Reminds me of that very funny Dennis Cass book trailer that made all of my middle aged writer friends groan in recognition when it became a meme a year or two ago.

    Who is inspiring me? Bryan Furuness and Matthew Simmons who started On Earth As It Is, prayer as narrative, narrative as prayer. Adam Robinson of Publishing Genius. And everything happening at Dzanc Books.

  • Um, YOU?!