Freedoms, Prizes and Professions

Emily M. Keeler is a writer and the editor of...

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If you weren’t in the audience for that Freedom to Read/Raconteurs event I wrote about here almost two weeks ago, you’re in luck: The storyteller videos are up on NOW Magazine’s website.

Can we collectively applaud Madeleine Thien for her bravery, confronting as she does the ickiness of literary non-disclosure? Why don’t we collectively know the ins and outs of the procedures that ultimately distinguish one book as significantly better than its peers?

Steve Almond had a slightly bummer time at AWP, but he used the experience of attending America’s premier professional writing conference to muse about the state of writers as a professional class. While I can’t help but think his contention that there are more writers than readers rings a little false, it’s still a thing I think about from time to time, especially given the proliferation of creative writing MFAs. Over in Salon, there’s a plea for funding for readers, for books coverage and bookstores, in lieu of philanthropists funding awards and residencies. Which seems sound enough to me.

Speaking of the “professional class” of novelists and teachers, here’s a fantastic Sonya Chung essay in The Millions from a couple years ago about how boring the enterprise of schooled, disciplined writers who jog and go to bed on time seems when you consider a whole golden mythology of hedonistic, impulsive, and unhealthy scribes.

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Ken Setterington speaks during Freedom To Read week.

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