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Posts Tagged ‘Lorin Stein’

Outlander Author Diana Gabaldon on Writing Best Sellers and Playing Nice With Hollywood

LunchAtMichaelsJudging by the decibel level at Michael’s today the media mavens and swells had plenty to talk about between bites of their Korean tacos (delish!) and Cobb salads. There’s always a flurry of activity on the last Wednesday in July before most of the last remaining power lunchers depart for their much-needed vacations in August. You can only be fabulous (or pretend to be) for so long before you have to regroup and refuel.

For us, July isn’t going out with a whisper but rather with a bang as I had one of the most fascinating Michael’s lunches in eons with best-selling author Diana Gabaldon, whose wildly popular Outlander novels rocket right to the top spot on The New York Times best-seller list as soon as they’re published. She has sold a head-spinning 25 million books that have been translated into 24 languages. The mind reels. Her most recent, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (how’s that for a title?) came out in June, the same week Hillary Clinton‘s book did. I guess you know whose publisher had a better week. I was “the last stop” on Diana’s magical mystical media tour, which has included an SRO appearance at Comic-Con, a sell-out conversation at the 92nd Street Y and, just this morning, an appearance on CBS This Morning with the two lead actors of the new original series based on the books that premieres August 9 on Starz.

Diana Gabaldon and Diane Clehane.

Diana Gabaldon and Diane Clehane

It’s always a bit of a crapshoot sitting down with someone I’ve never met to make conversation over lunch with the expressed purpose of learning as much as I can about my companion in about an hour while fielding the numerous “newsflashes” that come courtesy of the diners around the room. I was grateful I got a good night’s sleep last night because simply put, Diana is a force of nature. I could barely keep up as she recounted the story of how she decided “to write a book just to learn what it took to do it; I did it for practice” and how her pragmatic approach to novel writing (which hasn’t changed much, by the way) has catapulted her to international stardom.

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How Poetry Magazine Is Spending Its $200 Million Donation

If you haven’t heard this story before, it’s a good one: in 2002, Ruth Lilly, an heir to a fortune built by Indianapolis pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, donated $200 million to Poetry magazine, which at the time was a modest literary publication with a circulation of 10,000 and an annual budget of $700,000. The Chicago Tribune tells the fascinating story of how this enormous gift changed the game for poetry publishing.

Today, the foundation has a budget of more than $6 million. The magazine gets $1.5 million a year, and $2.2 million goes to educational programs. Poetry’s website alone receives a hefty $1.2 million, a point of contention in literary circles. Then there’s $1.3 million for administrative costs, including salaries for the 20-person staff. “We have a guideline that forces us to never spend more than 5 percent (annually) of the total market value of the endowment,” said John Barr, president of the Poetry Foundation.

How much has this helped? By some accounts, a great deal: circulation at the magazine is up to 26,000, and last spring the magazine won a National Magazine Award over favorites like the Paris Review. At the same time, more money, more problems: Barr has met with a huge amount of criticism for overspending and other management issues aside:

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Jezebel’s Sadie Stein to Join Editorial Staff of The Paris Review

Starting next month, Sadie Stein will join The Paris Review and its blog The Daily as a contributing editor.

“Sadians stay tuned!” announced Paris Review editor Lorin Stein in a post today.

Stein (Sadie, not Lorin) has been the fashion and arts correspondent and editor at the Gawker-media owned site Jezebel since 2008.