Synopses & Reviews
Writers write—but what do they do for money?
In a widely read essay entitled “MFA vs NYC,” bestselling novelist Chad Harbach (The Art of Fielding) argued that the American literary scene has split into two cultures: New York publishing versus university MFA programs. This book brings together established writers, MFA professors and students, and New York editors, publicists, and agents to talk about these overlapping worlds, and the ways writers make (or fail to make) a living within them. Should you seek an advanced degree, or will workshops smother your style? Do you need to move to New York, or will the high cost of living undo you? Whats worse—having a day job or not having health insurance? How do agents decide what to represent? Will Big Publishing survive? How has the rise of MFA programs affected American fiction? The expert contributors, including George Saunders, Elif Batuman, and Fredric Jameson, consider all these questions and more, with humor and rigor. MFA vs NYC is a must-read for aspiring writers, and for anyone interested in the present and future of American letters.
"Stemming from a similarly named essay previously published in n+1, this collection of essays and interviews edited by n+1 founder Harbach (The Art of Fielding) explores the 'social and literary consequences' of a 'two-headed system' in American fiction, with M.F.A. programs 'dispersed through our university towns' and the Manhattan-situated trade publishing industry. Compiling the advice and experiences of multitudes of industry professionals, from agents, editors, and publicists, to practicing writers, professors and students, the collection serves as an informative discourse on the phenomenon and provides insight into oft-debated questions about the M.F.A. system and survival as a writer in New York. In 'A Mini-Manifesto,' writer George Saunders warns that 'saying Ã¢Â€Â˜Creative writing programs are bad' is like saying Ã¢Â€Â˜college football teams are bad' or Ã¢Â€Â˜book clubs are bad' or Ã¢Â€Â˜emergency rooms are bad'. All it takes is one good example to disprove the generality.' In 'The Disappointment Business,' agent Jim Rutman describes various setbacks that a writer encounters during the publication process, and how we 'live in hope of being, or representing, the celebrated exception.' In 'Money (2006),' Keith Gessen covers the urgent question of how much money does a writer need. Educational with a humor added to the sincere distress of writers nationwide, this collection is an invaluable read to aspiring writers or those interested in the future of American fiction. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Chad Harbach grew up in Wisconsin and was educated at Harvard and the University of Virginia. He is the author of the bestselling novel The Art of Fielding (2011), as well as a founder and editor of n+1 magazine.
Table of Contents
IntroductionMFA vs NYC
Chad HarbachMFAA Mini-Manifesto
George SaundersBasket Weaving 101
Maria AdelmannThe Pyramid Scheme
Eric BennettThe Fictional Future
David Foster WallaceMy Parade
Alexander CheeNYCHow To Be Popular
Melissa FlashmanInto the Woods
Emily GouldThe Disappointment Business
Jim RutmanPeople Wear Khakis
Lorin Stein with Astri von Arbin AhlanderNine Lives
Jynne MartinMoney (2006)
Keith GessenThe Teaching GameMoney (2014)
Keith GessenSeduce the Whole World
Diana WagmanTwo Views On The Program EraThe Invisible Vocation
Elif BatumanDirty Little Secret
Fredric JamesonThe Great BeyondReality Publishing
Darryl Lorenzo WellingtonA Partial List of the Books
Ive Written Eli S. Evans