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How We Assembled Indiespensable #12

[Editor's Note: Did you miss the announcement? Indiespensable, Volume 13 is a custom edition of the acclaimed graphic memoir Stitches by David Small, available only to subscribers. Visit the Indiespensable page for full details.]

When Jill finished her advance copy of Into the Beautiful North, she knew right away that she wanted to interview its author, Luis Alberto Urrea. A month or so later, the 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist came to Powell's, and they sat down for a conversation. Jill emerged from that room, and... well, it's funny how blasé we get sometimes about meeting writers, even great writers, after working among them for years — which made Jill's over-the-moon reaction all the more remarkable. Some of that admiration comes across in her extensive interview, which you can read right here.

Jill calls Into the Beautiful North "funny, moving, and gorgeously written."Jill calls Into the Beautiful North "funny, moving, and gorgeously written." She suggests, "If you haven't yet read this lyrical, generous, and important American writer, his new work is a great place to start."

Poor Claudia splashed onto Portland's literary scene this spring with a stunning debut, featuring new work by Tom Spanbauer, Walt Curtis, and Monica Drake, among others. Within days of the new lit journal's launch, we approached the editors about creating a custom edition, exclusively for Indiespensable subscribers. The result: a 4" x 9" hand-bound book with French flaps and original art, featuring new work by 12 up-and-coming poets from the Portland area, many of whom will be publishing their first or second book in 2009. Most will be unfamiliar to you; some you might recognize, such as Michael and Matthew Dickman, twin brothers profiled by Rebecca Mead in the April 6, 2009, issue of The New Yorker.

To those of you who responded to the survey we posted this past spring, thanks very much! Your feedback is much appreciated; surely, it will help inform our choices as we prepare future installments. Among the more obvious lessons: People really liked our author trading cards. And so...

You might recall the name Jessica Anthony. ("From where? From where?" you're wondering. Keep reading, we'll tell you.) The previous edition of Indiespensable included a sampler containing excerpts from three new novels; the second excerpt in said piece was drawn from The Convalescent, Anthony's debut. We wound up enjoying her book so much that we asked her to help us revive the author card series. And here's your card, lovingly designed by Lenore and then signed by the author, herself.

Hope you're having a great summer. Enjoy the books!

P.S. We pour 16 ounces of book-lovin' into every Powell's pint glass! How will you fill yours?

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