Lit-Link Round-up


Steve Almond asks whether it’s immoral to watch the Super Bowl.

Best headline ever: ghost ship of cannibal rats about to crash into the Devon coast!

The Online Avengers: The New York Times explores the complexities of anti-bullying activism on the internet.

So only 10% of “traditionally published” authors make more than 20K per year (and 5% of self-published writers). This sounds dire, but I doubt anyone in the industry is surprised by the news. I’m 45 years old—my first published short story came out twenty-two years ago, and my third book is about to drop—but I didn’t enter this “ten percent” until last year. And 20K is a pretty bizarre figure to even measure things by. You can live off that kind of money if you’re childless and bunk down with roommates, but no one can support a family or probably even live alone in a decent apartment on 20K a year. So even the cut-off mark designating the “elite” includes people who are basically earning minimum wage. This is such a complex issue. Most writers have day jobs, and some of those pay well—or decently—so they’re not living the same kinds of lives those in poverty do. But I think the point remains that when creative writing students talk about how they can’t wait to “finish their book” so they can begin their lives of fame and fortune, or…you know…pay off their gargantuan student loans…there’s a profound disconnect going on.

Yet more and more studies are proving that literature is pivotal to certain types of human growth, like empathy. Here’s a nice op-ed, “Reading Books Is Fundamental,” in the NYTimes.

Congrats to Bethanne Patrick on her new Books Editor gig at Washingtonian magazine.

HUGE shout out to Lidia Yuknavitch, Rumpus regular and my former editor at Chiasmus Press—her novel Dora: A Headcase, has been optioned by Hollywood director Katherine Brooks.

And it’s a day for congrats: the 2014 Pushcart winners.

Cheryl Strayed and Claire Bidwell Smith will be part of the first “Motherless Daughters” convention in California this May.

This eccentric little dude went on the Ellen show and blew everyone’s mind with his utter genius on piano.

This is my last round-up for a few months. But don’t forget Other Voices Queretaro! Cecil Castellucci, Emily Rapp, Rob Roberge, Stacy Bierlein, and I would love to see you!

Gina Frangello is the author of four books of fiction and a forthcoming memoir, Blow Your House Down. Her novel A Life in Men (Algonquin 2014) is currently under development by Netflix as a series produced by Charlize Theron’s production company, Denver & Delilah. Her most recent novel, Every Kind of Wanting (Counterpoint 2016) was included on several “best of” lists for 2016, including Chicago Magazine’s and The Chicago Review of Books’. She has nearly 20 years of experience as an editor, having founded both the independent press Other Voices Books, and the fiction section of the popular online literary community The Nervous Breakdown. She has also served as the Sunday editor for The Rumpus, and as the faculty editor for both TriQuarterly Online and The Coachella Review. Her short fiction, essays, book reviews, and journalism have been published in such venues as Salon, the LA Times, Ploughshares, the Boston Globe, BuzzFeed, the Chicago Tribune, the Huffington Post, Psychology Today, and in many other magazines and anthologies. After two decades of teaching at many universities, including UIC, Northwestern’s School of Continuing Studies, UCLA Extension, the University of California Riverside Palm Desert, Roosevelt University, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Columbia College Chicago, Gina is excited to be a student again at the University of Illinois-Chicago’s Program for Writers, where she has returned to complete the PhD she left unfinished twenty years ago. More from this author →