59º ~ beautiful sun that finally feels like an autumn sun, all slantwise and golden rather than a direct and blazing beam, the breezes have returned as well, although we still lack the relief of rain
|Jon Tribble & Allison Joseph|
A few of us were lucky enough to have lunch with Allison & Jon at Starving Artist Cafe in North Little Rock, AR. If you're in the area, I highly recommend this restaurant, which is owned in part by Paula Martin Morell, a local writer and editor who records her public radio program there, Tales from the South. During lunch, several former students received great words of wisdom from J & A about MFA/PhD programs, applications, and the general literary scene in America. All of us learned more about the behind-the-scenes action of running a book series. One of the most important things that stuck out to me was from Jon talking about reading submissions for the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry competitions. He said that often when a book makes the semi-finalist rounds but not the finals it is because there is a lot of promise there but the book isn't quite ready. This is important b/c the publisher has no idea what kind of person the writer is and how he/she will respond to the working relationship between editor/writer. Therefore, the book needs to be FINISHED and ready to go from the start, as there is not the building of relationships as there is when a book is signed outside of a competition setting. Also, if a book makes the finals, then it is READY and if it doesn't win that round, it is 70% likely to find a home (at least that is the general statistic for books that go through the COR competition and make it to the finals). In other words...finalist status is a GREAT step. The eventual selection is just a matter of taste for the judge, so it becomes very subjective there.
Finally, I was so proud of our students who engaged with the reading and asked thoughtful questions during the Q & A, again proving that literary events like this are welcomed and necessary on our campus.
As we say, in our geeky way, around the halls: Go TEAM ENGLISH!