AppNewser Appdata 10,000 Words FishbowlNY FishbowlDC TVNewser TVSpy LostRemote AgencySpy PRNewser MediaJobsDaily UnBeige SocialTimes

Posts Tagged ‘Benjamin Kunkel’

N+1 Editor Scores $650,000 for First Novel

Harbach.png

Bloomberg News has a long profile up about Chad Harbach, an n+1 editor who recently auctioned his first novel to Little, Brown for $650,000.

Little, Brown was not the highest bidder for the book, but Harbach went with it because he wanted to work with Michael Pietsch, who edited David Foster Wallace‘s Infinite Jest. Harbach, a Harvard grad with an MFA from the University of Virginia, doesn’t get paid to be executive editor of the Brooklyn-based literary magazine, so he lives in a three-bedroom in Brooklyn and scrapes together rent with part-time copy-editing jobs.

This paragraph is fun: “Of the five n+1 founders, Harbach is the third to publish a novel. Benjamin Kunkel‘s Indecision, sold 48,000 copies, according to Nielsen BookScan, which covers about 75 percent of U.S. retail sales. All the Sad Young Literary Men, by Keith Gessen, sold 7,000 copies.”

Harbach’s novel, tentatively titled The Art of Fielding, is nearly 500 pages and focuses on a baseball team at a fictional college in Wisconsin. It’s expected out in late 2011.

Sponsored Post

Lauren Berger Writes New Book for Young People Entering "Real World"

Lauren Berger Welcome to the Real WorldCareer Expert, Lauren Berger, releases her second book, Welcome to the Real World: Finding Your Place, Perfecting Your Work, and Turning Your Job Into Your Dream Career (Harper Business), on April 22nd. In this book, Berger shares everything she wishes someone told her after graduation. Her book is the essential guide to anyone starting their first, second, or third job. She encourages readers to be fearless, step outside of their comfort zones, and go after what they want.

Who Spiked the Water at 1745 Broadway?

It’s been a very strange week for the world’s largest publishing company. First we had Wednesday’s surprise announcement that Crown svp and publisher Steve Ross would be moving to Collins, with Tina Constable stepping in to take his place. Now comes last night’s announcement that Daniel Menaker was jumping ship from Random House‘s eponymous imprint, though it remains to be seen if the party line that the decision was “absolutely mutual” will hold up under scrutiny.

Maybe it’s because the current edition of Publishing Revolving Door takes me on a time warp all the way back to 2003 – ancient history for some, but important history nonetheless. Menaker, after 26 years at the New Yorker, first joined Random House in 1995 and continued uninterrupted there save for a sixteen-month stint at HarperCollins, which ended in 2003. The company he returned to was not the company he left behind. They had moved to sleek new offices in an office condominium between 55th and 56th streets; Ann Godoff was gone in one of the most publicized oustings in recent memory; Little Random had been absorbed in the same umbrella containing Ballantine and its holdings; and at the center of the new-look imprint was, and still is, president and publisher Gina Centrello. Taken together, these were clear signs of the company’s increasingly commercial shift that would play out in a major way over the next four-plus years. And yet Menaker was hired to give Little Random a distinct literary bent, which he did in the form of novelists Benjamin Kunkel, Arthur Phillips, Gary Shteyngart and Jon Clinch as well as former poet laureate Billy Collins, even if said acquisitions didn’t necessarily pay off in terms of sales.

No matter how much Menaker, Centrello and the Random House brass want to downplay the bottom line, it’s difficult to play by their rules in light of the company’s most recent shakeups – not to mention their gutting of the sales force, Bertelsmann‘s attempts to patch up the mothership after getting scared straight by former minority shareholder GBL’s threats to take their holdings public (Bookspan, anyone?) and a downturn in profits. All of which has to make one wonder about the overall health of Random House – and if more “unexpected” news is just lurking around the corner.

Katherine Taylor Falls Into Chick Lit Bait Trap

In reading debut novelist Katherine Taylor ‘s interview with the New York Observer’s Spencer Morgan, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the first time James Frey made headlines, long before any charges of fake writing and fabrication were levied his way. No, I’m talking about the interview where he railed against Dave Eggers‘s A HEARTBREAKING WORK OF STAGGERING GENIUS in particularly profane terms, and then it turned out that Frey, like so many men of his generation, is a casual f-bomb dropper without any real malice attached to it. So where do you think that first interview, the one that got Frey in so much trouble, ran? The New York Observer, of course!

So what is up with the salmon tabloid charming opinionated (at best) or incendiary (at worst) from young, impressionable writers? In Taylor ‘s case, perhaps it’s the constant dangling of the chick lit carrot what with her novel – published by FSG this May (and an early theorized candidate for the Starbucks slot occupied by Ishmael Beah) – set amidst glamorous New York surroundings and adorned with the chicklit-standard cocktail glass, cigarettes and pink lettering. “But I love it,” she said. “It works, and I love that [the cover] looks like an old film still and that it’s an old-fashioned cocktail glass and that the woman is wearing dark nail polish, not something bright.” Besides, one has to cut Taylor slack if only for her closing comment: “Indecision [by Benjamin Kunkel] was ridiculously simple, I thought. And had it been a girl who’d written it, it would have had the pinkest cover in the world. It would have been the pinkest of all-time pink covers.” Can’t argue with that…

Meet your Granta Best of Young American Novelists

Granta announced its second-ever list of Best of Young American Novelists, comprised of 21 American-based authors aged 35 and under. And what’s immediately apparent, just as with the first list published back in 1996, is how many of them, um, haven’t published novels yet. Which isn’t to say it isn’t a fine list of American writers, but considering Granta publisher Sigrid Rausing went out of her way to namecheck notable writers who didn’t make the cut, like Benjamin Kunkel, Benjamin Markovits and Joshua Ferris, would it have been so difficult to actually restrict the list to those who truly fit the criteria of the title? Or if not, then call a spade a spade; this is the Best of Young American Writers, although that probably isn’t as pretty an acronym.

granta-groupshot.jpg
In the back row, from the left, judges Edmund White, Meghan O’Rourke (with Paul Yamazaki‘s ear just visible behind her), Matt Weiland of Granta, A.M. Homes, and Sigrid Rausing. In the front, from left, young American novelists John Wray, Akhil Sharma, Rattawut Lapcharoensap, Uzodinma Iweala, Olga Grushin, Karen Russell, Gary Shteyngart, and Gabe Hudson.

Anyway, there was much merriment to be had at the Housing Works announcement party last night. Apart from those writers who appeared for their ceremonial investiture, other boldface names in the crowd included Random House editor-in-chief Daniel Menaker (sporting an unexplained bandage on his nose), Eric Chinski, David Roth-Ey (vying for “tallest man” status with Paul Slovak), Lorraine Adams, Alison Callaghan, Rachel Fershleiser (ably working the joint in her capacity as Housing Works volunteer), John Freeman (when not busily filing wire reports on the LA Times Book Festival Award nominations or Granta’s list), and Wendy Weil…along with a few others Ron photographed.