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Archive for 2012

Wednesday’s Work-in-Progress: How to Pitch a Book Review

You were all so incredibly kind about and interested in my previous “case study” post. So when my latest book review (of Damion Searls’s translation of Life Goes On, the first novel by Hans Keilson), appeared in The Forward last week, I thought that you might similarly welcome some potentially instructive background. That’s why I’m sharing the text below, which reproduces most of my initial e-mail message seeking the assignment.

I say “most” because when I sent this pitch last summer, The Forward‘s arts coverage was in transition. Ultimately, I sent this pitch to both the managing editor (the former arts & culture editor) and the newly assigned arts & culture editor. I’d corresponded with both of these individuals before, so there were some personalized greetings that I’m omitting in the text below. Continue reading ›

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Monday Markets/Jobs/Opportunities for Writers

Monday brings the weekly batch of no-fee competitions/contests, paying submission calls, and jobs for those of us who write (especially those of us who write fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction).

  • “The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard is offering a new research and study opportunity: a short-term visiting fellowship for individuals to work on special projects designed to advance journalism.” No application fee. Application deadline: November 19, 2012.
  • Frequencies, “a new biannual journal of artful essays” that “challenge the current non-fiction prescription” is published by Two Dollar Radio. Essay submissions are accepted “on a rolling basis.” Send completed essays only. Pays: “We do pay cash money.” http://twodollarradio.com/frequencies-about.htm (via NewPages.com)
  • “The Elizabeth Kostova Foundation offers its sixth annual summer fiction writing seminar in the ancient town of Sozopol, Bulgaria. The seminar program consists of intensive daily fiction workshops, roundtable discussions, guest lectures and literary readings by faculty and participants. Fiction writers from Bulgaria and fiction writers from English-speaking countries, including but not limited to the U.K. and the U.S., are invited to apply. A total number of ten applicants will be selected for participation and funding.” No application fee. Application deadline is March 15, 2013, for the May 2013 seminar.
  • Coming soon–the November issue of The Practicing Writer. As usual, it will feature an array of no-fee competitions and paying call information. If you’re not yet a subscriber, join us to get your copy quickly!
  • “Considering making a career in literary translation? Already embarked on your course but feel you could do with more help and support? If so, you might be one of the talented emerging translators we’re looking for to participate in the 2013 BCLT Translator Mentoring Scheme (1 January – 30 June 2013). Launched in 2010, the scheme has already produced fourteen mentorship ‘graduates’ in languages ranging from Catalan to Polish. Several of the previous mentees have had work published as a result of contacts made and skills honed during the mentoring process. Mentors and mentees work together in a combination of face to face meetings and also through online communication such as email or Skype. Mentees should expect to commit an average of one day a week to the programme. Each mentee receives receives a bursary of £500 plus reasonable expenses.” No application fee. Apply fast (by October 31, 2012).
  • Louisville Magazine seeks a Staff Writer, the Austin American-Statesman (Texas) is looking for a Social Media Editor, and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (Md.) is advertising for a Writer/Editor.
  • Teaching jobs continue after the jump. Continue reading ›

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    From My Bookshelf: The Curse of Gurs, by Werner L. Frank

    Last weekend, I journeyed to Columbus, Ohio, for a family Bat Mitzvah. There, I had the pleasure of spending time with Werner Frank, whose astounding genealogical research includes some of my own family history (on my dad’s side).

    Werner, who emigrated from Germany as a child in 1937, has recently published a book focusing on a specific strand of this research: the story of the October 1940 deportation of Jews from the Baden region of Germany to Gurs, an internment camp in France. From Gurs, many of these Jews were eventually deported to Auschwitz. This helps explain the book’s full title: The Curse of Gurs: Way Station to Auschwitz.

    The story is particularly painful because so many of Werner’s relatives were among these Baden Jews (as were some of mine). Moreover, Werner remains acutely aware of his good fortune in having left Baden before 1940 – a realization that I similarly share concerning my grandparents, who were also Baden-born.

    I purchased a Kindle copy of Werner’s book while we were in Columbus; Werner was kind enough to then gift me with a print copy. As an historian, I was wowed from the outset by Dr. Michael Berenbaum‘s introduction: Continue reading ›

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    Friday Finds for Writers

    The weekly collection of writing-related resources, news, and reflections to read over the weekend.

  • To begin: As you may have noticed, I’m something of a dash fan (even if I have to disguise the dash as a hyphen sometimes for text-only newsletters that don’t absorb the auto-corrected dash all that well). Which is all a way of saying that I loved Ben Yagoda’s “Mad Dash” column for NYTimes.com this week.
  • “How NOT to Put Together a Short-story Collection,” by Amber Sparks.
  • Joel Friedlander’s useful “Twitter for the Absolutely Terrified Newbie Author.”
  • Clear-eyed post on “the economics of self-publishing,” with a detailed case example, from Anne Trubek.
  • If you’re in the Boston area, I hope you’re going to be able to enjoy the Boston Book Festival this weekend. Wish that I could be there with you.
  • Have a great weekend, all. See you back here on Monday.

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    Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

    Every Friday morning My Machberet presents an assortment of Jewish literary news from around the Web.

  • Lots of great book coverage in The Forward this week (including, if I may be so immodest as to point it out, my review of a new English translation of Hans Keilson’s first novel).
  • Superb essay by Etgar Keret (translated by Sondra Silverston) on Keret’s “new house in the old country.”
  • Michael Lowenthal has a new novel out, and he talks about it in a wide-ranging interview for The Rumpus that touches on “American politics, gay parenting, and Jewish literature.”
  • Because my early childhood summers were spent at Brighton Beach; because my life, too, is so much about passing stories along; because I, too, treasure moments spent in the company of my mother and my niece–for all of these reasons I loved Jami Attenberg’s post for The Prosen People. (See also Ron Charles’s enthusiastic review of Attenberg’s new novel.)
  • Finally, The Wall Street Journal ran a nice piece this week spotlighting The Blue Card, the organization to which I am donating portions of the profits from sales of my story collection, Quiet Americans.
  • Shabbat shalom.

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    Wednesday’s Work-in-Progress: Diaspora, Part Deux

    My paternal grandfather’s parents. Their history–and questions I’ve always had about that history–helped generate my story “Matrilineal Descent.”

    This past weekend I traveled to Columbus, Ohio, for a family Bat Mitzvah.

    Exactly five years ago, I also traveled to Columbus, also for a Bat Mitzvah (celebrating the elder sister of this weekend’s star). These are my cousin Nancy’s daughters; Nancy is a cousin through my paternal grandfather (her grandmother and my grandfather were siblings, children of the couple in the photograph to the left). So their ancestors, too, are part of the history behind my story collection, Quiet Americans, particularly in the case of the book’s second story, “Matrilineal Descent.”

    The visit five years ago inspired my prose poem, “Diaspora,” which I hope you’ll revisit. I thought of “Diaspora” again this weekend, when Nancy mentioned that family members had traveled from 11 states (and from Brazil and Canada) to witness this milestone in the Midwest.

    And I’m hoping that another piece of writing will emerge, someday, from something very special about this second Bat Mitzvah in Columbus. Continue reading ›

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