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Posts Tagged ‘Tony D’Souza’

How to Change Your Writing Style But Keep Your Agent

td23.jpgEarlier this year, novelist Tony D’Souza finished a novel that completely broke out of the style of his first two novels, Whiteman and The Konkans.

When he turned the manuscript in to his agent, Liz Darhansoff, they seriously discussed publishing the novel under a pseudonym to avoid confusing his readership base. What would you do?

In the short essay that follows, D’Souza (pictured) explained what happened over the course of the submission process, as he was forced to ask himself a hard question: “What does one do if one and one’s agent disagree?’”

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Granta Heads to Chicago

1253108044116.jpg“The trick now is to make literature seem urgent,” Granta Acting Editor John Freeman told a packed crowd at the Brooklyn Book fair earlier this month. In a new Chicago-themed issue, the UK-founded journal has built a literary monument to the place where President Barack Obama–our “Memoirist-in-Chief, according to Freeman–built his political career.

The new issue features a cover by graphic novelist Chris Ware, along with work by Don Delillo, Elaine Showalter, and Tony D’Souza. For UK readers, the magazine is giving away free tickets to the Small Wonder Short Story Festival this week. The new issue also includes writing by Chicago authors Aleksandar Hemon and Stuart Dybek–both interviewed on a Chicago porch for a web video feature.

Here’s an excerpt from the video: “I came to [Chicago] when I was 28. Everything I learned about living with people, about living in the world, I learned in Sarajevo … What I was looking for in Chicago was what I loved in Sarajevo. Which brings me to think you acquire a sensibility in a city. That’s where you grew up. It’s defined by that city. And this you transfer wherever you go.”

Scene @ the American Academy of Arts and Letters Annual Ceremonial

ceremonial.jpg

What do Joan Acocella, Paul Auster, David Markson, Don DeLillo, John Updike, William Vollmann, Deborah Eisenberg, Stephen Sondheim, Reynolds Price, Richard Ford, Garrison Keillor, Jim Harrison, Mary Gordon, John Corigliano and many, many more luminaries in the literary, artistic and music worlds have in common? They all sat on the stage at the American Academy of Arts & Letters‘ Annual Ceremonial, held in the organization’s Harlem-area auditorium to honor the best and brightest in the arts. Some, like Gold Medal for Fiction winner Updike, have been members for nearly half a century; others, like Dana Spiotta, Junot Diaz, Tony D’Souza and Adam Rapp, received generous monetary awards honoring their recent writing-related outputs.

It may just be my own biased viewpoint that makes me think the Academy is a well-kept secret within the current state of the arts community, but then, it might not: while the turnout was strong, it was decidedly bereft of publishing professionals and those under the age of 35. And Academy President Ezra Laderman‘s opening remarks, highlighting how “we’re in an extraordinary time for the arts” thanks to questions about intellectual property, the decline of a proper arts curricula in any American school and eschewing artistic endeavors for market forces, had just the barest whiff of the old school. And yet it was remarkably clear how much the Academy, and its members, care about the arts and about ensuring that promising writers and artists continue the non-profit’s legacy, and how old school values produce a certain dignity that’s easy to admire. One need only listen to Updike’s spare remarks about how his induction into the Academy as its then-youngest member helped further his career by exposing him to peers as well as “magi-like writers” whom he revered. Bestowing awards onto Diaz and Spiotta is a step to the future, and I look with interest to see which younger writers the Academy recognizes from here on in.

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