Hurricane Irene delays Writerscast posting

September 2, 2011 by  
Filed under Pipeline

Just like millions of other Americans we were hammered pretty hard by this hurricane, in our small Connecticut town 99% of homes lost power, and as of today, September 2, still more than 55% of homes are without power.  We got ours back last night, thankfully, but still do not have internet.  Without a good connection, posting interviews is painfully difficult.  I have several great interviews ready to post, next being with Dean Bakopoulos about his excellent novel My American Unhappiness.   I hope to have a new Publishing Talks interview posted by next week also.

Our other big news is that Livewriters, our book and author video site, had its best traffic month in August, surpassing 70,000 unique visitors.  We are posting ever more interesting interviews, readings and discussions with authors about their books there, plus featuring just about every book trailer there is.  And if you want to enjoy a lively literary blog experience, visit Livewires, a fresh look at the literary landscape.

During the storm, I had plenty of time to read (print books by candlelight and flashlight, ebooks with the device’s own light) and am looking forward to talking to the authors of quite a few wonderful books, including My Green Manifesto, Just Bill, Confronting Collapse, and Duet.

My best wishes to all who suffered in and after the storm, and condolences to all those who died in it.

Publishing Talks: David Wilk interviews Jason Allen Ashlock

May 31, 2010 by  
Filed under PublishingTalks, The Future

In this series of interviews, called Publishing Talks, I have been talking to book industry professionals about the future of publishing, books, and culture.  This is a period of disruption and change for all media businesses. How will publishing evolve as our culture is affected by technology, climate change, population density, and the ebb and flow of civilization and its economics? Publishing Talks interviews help us understand the outlines of what is happening, and how we might ourselves interact with and influence the future of publishing as it unfolds.

These interviews give people in the book business a chance to talk openly about ideas and concerns that are often only talked about “around the water cooler,” at industry conventions and events, and in emails between friends and they give people inside and outside the book industry a chance to hear first hand some of the most interesting and challenging thoughts, ideas and concepts being discussed by people in the book business.

I first read about the new literary agency, Movable Type Literary Group established by Jason Ashlock and his partner Meredith Dawson a few months ago.  I’ve wondered for awhile now about the role of agents in the changing landscape of book publishing, and evidently so have Jason and Meredith.  Along with an NEA based graph on their home page “Books are not dead,” they have composed the following statement of purpose and occasion:

“We have arrived, as Harold Bloom might say, belatedly.

The scene is established, the paradigms rigid, the machine stubborn and aging. Now more than half a millennium removed from the prima typographicae incunabula, “the first infancy of printing,” a chorus now announces the swift and coming death of the published word and the end of book history. But crisis and opportunity are concurrent, and the instability of one paradigm leads to the creation of another. We work in publishing at a moment of both belatedness and birth, when the trend of all future events is being determined. We aim, with many of our friends and colleagues, to confront the crisis of the moment and from the upheaval to design and shape a future.”

When I ran across Jason at a publishing event in Manhattan, we arranged to talk.  I wanted to hear in his own words what this new agency will be all about.  I think alot of what he says here will resonate for listeners of this podcast.  Certainly, it makes sense for the role of the agent to be transformed, and to help lead the transformation of relationships between author, publisher and audience that is emerging now.  It looks like Movable Type has an opportunity to create a new model for its own clients, and by example, for others as well.  Maybe because, like many others looking at an established industry with new eyes, Jason Ashlock has an opportunity to create a new paradigm.

Meg Wolitzer – The Ten Year Nap

May 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Fiction

tenyearnap9781594483547 (paperback)
Penguin Group, $16.00

Writerscast host David Wilk interviews author Meg Wolitzer, whose novel The Ten Year Nap has recently been released in a paperback edition. This brilliantly written novel, set in contemporary New York City, portrays the lives of a group of women who have set aside their careers to raise children. Wolitzer paints her characters with the complexity and sympathy they deserve, but she never lets them off the hook for their foibles and failings. Women and men will recognize – sometimes painfully – much that is familiar to those who have lived through and come after the post-first wave of feminism in modern urban culture. Her humor is subtle but can make the reader laugh out loud as well.

In a wide ranging discussion Wilk and Wolitzer discuss the story line, characters and issues raised in The Ten Year Nap, as well as Ms. Wolitzer’s approach to writing and books and how she works. For any fan of Meg Wolitzer’s novels, and there are many, listening to this interview will be fun and illuminating. The Ten Year Nap is a wonderful book and highly recommended to anyone interested in contemporary American fiction.

The People of the Book – Geraldine Brooks

February 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Fiction

brooks978-0143115007 (paperback)
Penguin Books, $15.00

Writerscast host David Wilk interviews Pulitzer Prize winning author Geraldine Brooks, on tour for the release of the paperback edition of her newest novel, People of the Book.  This brilliant and engaging historical novel has a story that spans centuries, using the Sarajevo Haggadah as the focus. As one reviewer has said:  “There’s a romance between Brooks and the world, and her writing is as full of heart and curiosity as it is intelligence and judgement.” Carrie Brown, The Boston Globe.

In a wide ranging discussion with host Wilk, Ms. Brooks talks about her work and her working methods as a historical novelist.  Wilk and Brooks talk in depth about The People of the Book.  The author also offers fascinating details about the novel she is working on now, based on the Wampanoag Indians of Martha’s Vineyard, where she lives with her family.  Her own website www.geraldinebrooks.com is a rich source of information about this wonderful writer and her consistently rich and rewarding fiction.

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