September 2013

Bookmark This: A Writer's Room

Ever wonder where your favorite novels were penned? The New York Times explores the rooms where Jonathan Lethem, Julian Barnes, Jhumpa Lahiri, Edwidge Danticat, Richard Dawkins, and Jesmyn Ward write.

Here's Jhumpa Lahiri's excerpt from the article:

Writers' Reel: Neil Gaiman - No One Cares About Your First Draft

This week's Writers' Reel is a clip from The Nerdist podcast of Neil Gaiman giving advice to aspiring writers.

"When people come to me and they say, 'I want to be a writer, what should I do?' I say, you have to write. Sometimes they say, 'Well I'm already doing that, what else should I do?' And I say, you have to finish things. That's where you learn from."

Bookmark This: Louise Erdrich

Today's Bookmark comes from Louise Erdrich. Her poem "Advice To Myself" is a great reminder to ignore the loud distractions in your life and write!

ADVICE TO MYSELF by Louise Erdrich

Writers' Reel: Advice from Jonathan Lethem about MFA Programs

BookBaby president Brian Felsen recently interviewed PEN Center USA member and Emerging Voices author evening host Jonathan Lethem (National Book Critics Circle Award winner, MacArthur Fellow, and New York Times best seller). In this clip, Jonathan talks about whether or not good writing can be "taught" and the benefits of creative writing programs.

Bookmark This: Your Heart is My Heart

Here is a tremendous short essay that did not make it on to BuzzFeed's "17 Personal Essays That Will Change Your Life." Brian Doyle examines the heart starting with one of the smallest—a hummingbird's. Doyle utilizes facts and turns these truths into an expansive narrative that surprises at the end. 

WRITERS' REEL: Anne Lamott's Writing Tips

Anne Lamott, the author of the classic writing guide "Bird by Bird" shares some of her favorite writing exercises.

1. Put two characters who can't stand each other in a broken elevator.
2. Give your character a talisman or an object that sets the hero's journey into action.
3. Start with one short assignment.

BOOKMARK THIS: 17 Personal Essays That Will Change Your Life

Bookmark this BuzzFeed list including seventeen essays that will change your life. Topping and closing the list is the recipient of the 2013 PEN Center USA Lifetime Achievement award, Joan Didion, with her pieces "Goodbye To All That" and "The White Album".


Today's Writers' Reel is brought to you by the Big Think YouTube Channel. Jonathan Franzen, author of The Corrections and a National Book Award winner, is posed with a simple question with innumerable answers, "How do you write?"

Call To Action: TURKEY

PEN International is concerned that writer Mustafa Balbay was sentenced to an extremely lengthy prison term on 5 August 2013, after conviction in the “Ergenekon trial” that PEN International considers to have been deeply flawed and to have fallen far short of international fair trial standards. The organization is also concerned that government critics such as Balbay who were among the defendants may have been penalised as a warning to government opponents. After serving four years in pre-trial detention, Balbay has been given a 34 year and eight month prison sentence.