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My wife turned in her dissertation last week. We have just started to recover from the process of finishing it (I was her editor). It has really freed up some time for us, which is great. But we both feel a little lost, now, and I imagine that this is a feeling common to authors of all stripes when a work is finished. So we salute you, authors of large manuscripts everywhere, published or un. Keep fighting the good fight. This week we feature two new agents and one established agent changing agencies, poetry and essay contests, and some self-examination at the end.
We'd love to hear your feedback. Please let us know what you think in the comments and if there are certain types of information you would like to see in the Roundup. Also feel free to tweet at us (@freelancingrads) with any ideas or questions. Have a great writing week!
Two heavy hitters making moves, and a newbie on the come up
Tina Pohlman has joined Union Literary.
Nonfiction: Also yes.
"Tina loves discovering distinctive new voices in fiction and memoir and is always on the lookout for academics in the fields of animal behavior and neuroscience who can write for a popular audience. She has often been described as a purist, and while she’s not exactly sure what people mean by that, she doesn’t particularly mind the label."
Stacey Kondla has been promoted to Associate Agent at the Rights Factory.
Fiction: YA and Middle Grade
Nonfiction: also YA and Middle Grade
"Living and breathing the book business for the past 15 years has made Stacey Kondla very happy."
Stacey is accepting queries via online form, here.
Chris Clemans, late of the Clegg Agency, has joined Janklow & Nesbit.
Nonfiction: Double yup.
"His taste in fiction tends toward the literary, and on the nonfiction side he’s interested in narrative journalism, cultural criticism, and voice-driven memoir and essays."
Chris is accepting queries via email or post. For the former, click your keyboard toward this: email@example.com, and for the latter, address this thing called an envelope to: Janklow & Nesbit Associates, 285 Madison Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10017. See their submissions guidelines here.
Got a poem? Just win this contest and they'll give you a thousand dollars! Also, Minnesota!
America: The Jesuit Review Foley Poetry Contest—Submissions due by March 31st, 2018 (Annual Contest, Publication, $$$)
What: One poem, thirty lines or fewer. Winner receives $1000 and publication of the poem.
To Submit: More information on the contest as well as a link to the online submission form may be found here.
The New York Mills Arts Retreat and Regional Cultural Center Great American Think-Off—Submissions due by April 1st, 2018 (Annual Contest, $$$ + travel)
What: Essay of fewer than 750 words, answering the question, "Which plays a larger role in shaping one's life: success or failure?" Four winners will receive $500 and travel expenses to debate the question in New York Mills, Minnesota.
To Submit: Contest details and a link to an online submission form may be found here. You may also submit by post to: Think-Off, c/o Cultural Center, P.O. Box 246, New York Mills, MN 56567. Because they're easy like Sunday morning, you can also submit via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fantasy and Fishbone
Rena Rossner, Agent at the Deborah Harris Agency
Rena is looking for some escapism: "Wishing for some stunning epic diverse Fantasy and SciFi to appear in my inbox. Bring me retold fairy tales like we’ve never seen them, and ALL the futurisms. Anyone got any?" Source Tweet
Fiction: Literary and Upmarket Women’s; Historical; Thrillers; Science Fiction; Fantasy; Speculative; Young Adult; Middle Grade; Picture Books
"She is a writer of both fiction and poetry as well as the author of the cookbook EATING THE BIBLE, which has been translated into five languages."
Eric Smith, Agent at P.S. Literary
Eric is feeling punny about the third wave: "I would love to read a YA novel set in the 90's about a teen in a ska band. I would totally pick it up pick it up pick it up- I'm sorry. But really I want to read that." Source Tweet
Fiction: Literary; Sci-fi; Fantasy; Thriller; Mystery; Young Adult (particularly Sci-fi/Fantasy); New Adult
Nonfiction: Cookbooks; Pop Culture; Humor; Essay Collections; Blog to Book Ideas
Not to be total Guardian stans and direct you there for the second week in a row (even though we are, on both accounts), but on Friday they published a nice little interview between the celebrated authors David Mitchell and David Peace. It's worth a read, particularly if you enjoy their work, but one matter they discuss was of particular interest to me. Mitchell begins the conversation with the claim that every author works in a limited number of archetypal themes, and suggests that "mental breakdown" is one of Peace's consistent themes. Peace agrees with the idea and suggests "labyrinth and thread" as Mitchell's own such theme. I have long thought about what ideas run through the oeuvres of my favorite authors (Eco: how following seemingly correct reasoning can lead to exactly the wrong conclusion), but I hadn't considered this as a sort of rule, that an author only has so many. Mitchell suggests that the number can be as few as one. How many do I have? Can I get more? The theme that I return to again and again is (re)interpretation. My academic work was almost entirely concerned with the way the interpretation of authoritative texts in antiquity generated new authoritative texts that then required interpretation themselves. I also am fascinated with the way ideas and art are interpreted and recycled in popular culture; hip hop in particular utilizes previous art in the creation of new art. Is that it for me, though? Where do I go get another archetypal theme? Is Amazon doing that yet? How about y'all? What runs through your works? Check out the interview here.