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The Literary Risk-Takers: On New Migrant and Refugee Fiction

Article from LitHub

John Domini Considers the Work of Viet Than Nguyen, Teju Cole, Dubravka Ugresic, and More

I can’t attend, for the road between my poem and Damascus is cut off for postmodern reasons.
–“I Can’t Attend,” by Ghayath Almadhoun

No ISBN sequence can keep track the world’s recent homeless, but the books won’t stop coming. As the refugee crisis grows unremittingly, with people out of Syria, El Salvador, Rwanda, Afghanistan, Bosnia… as the numbers mount, so do the novels and short stories. Fiction that grapples with the dislocation, the desperation, has surged over the past decade or so, and the output includes some celebrated recent titles. This year, our purgatorial 2020, has seen a fresh flurry, and several prove highly distinctive, both fine and strange.

Myself, attracted to such imaginations (and perhaps prodded by the ghost of my father, an economic refugee out of Southern Italy), I’ve been struck especially by that last element: the strangeness of these creations. Dream passages, nutty exaggeration, linguistic somersaults, disorienting shifts of frame and focus—these devices and others distinguish a surprising number of the imaginative works that struggle with these broken lives. That goes as well for authors working in their second or third language, a situation that you’d think would make them rely on the simple and standard. Instead, they embrace the subversive, and this refusal to conform gives me my essay. I’d argue that a norm-busting impulse distinguishes the most authentic fiction about migrants and refugees.


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Book Review of "Almost Damned", by Chris Leibig


Chris Leibig’s 2016 PenCraft award-winning novel Almost Mortal ended with defense attorney Samson Young, having just learned that his client Camille Paradisi had risen from the dead after being brutally shot to death in front of the Bennett County Courthouse, agrees to represent her and the other descendants of the Fallen Angels in their plea for redemption.   In this sequel, Almost Damned, Sam seeks to keep his commitment. But how? Samson Young is a criminal defense attorney with an office in contemporary Washington, DC.  He is struggling to handle several legal cases that seem to be mysteriously interconnected.  The intense opening court scene sets the stage for drama and suspense that keeps the reader guessing until the last page.


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Book Review of "The Gotten", by Rob Tucker


Astrid Sims is a new girl in town. The Gotten, by Rob Tucker, is a young adult novel that introduces a precocious thirteen-year-old British girl into the world of pre-teen boys. Set in the 1950s in a small Mid-west town, Astrid’s intimidating personality, intellect and boldness set her apart from the other girls. She self-assuredly inserts herself into a clique of four boys, Ray Kern, Eddie Devito, Steven Tilman, and Clement Petersen. Although they resent her for including herself in their social circle, she ingratiates herself by contributing a doorbell to the boys’ tree fort. She says the bell is magical and introduces a game she called, “ring if you dare.” 

 Astrid impresses the boys with her world of imagination by installing the doorbell on their tree fort.  She starts a rumor that if a person rings the bell with a question in mind, the bell will provide an answer.  Does it really have that power?

Suddenly the boys and Astrid disappear, causing chaos in the small community. The police, news media, and parents become involved in searching for the boys and Astrid. Rumors fly.  They question if she is a witch who has control of the future?

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Book Review of "Beyond Revelation", by John Hazen


Beyond Revelation by John Hazen is the third novel in his Francine Vega Investigative Thriller series. Told in the first person by Francine Vega, a TV journalist in New York City. She is as much a detective as she is a reporter.

Hazen makes this novel easy to enjoy as a stand-alone by having his protagonist give an intriguing glimpse into the series' first two installments. The back story also tempts readers to peruse the previous novels. Beyond Revelation opens with Francine expressing her emotional involvement with her family, her job, and previous experiences as an investigative journalist. The behind-the-scenes of news media, news programming, and the workings of a news network lead into the main plot.

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Why Does Goodreads Have a Problem with Fiction by Women, About Women?

Introducing the Madievsky Rule

If you’ve used the internet to read book or film reviews in the last decade, you’ve probably heard of the Bechdel test. Cartoonist Alison Bechdel introduced the test in her comic strip Dykes To Watch Out For in 1985 as a means of assessing the ways women are portrayed in fiction. The test consists of a simple yes-or-no question: Does it depict two women in conversation about something other than a man? The Bechdel test doesn’t assess the quality of representation, nor does it determine whether the work is told through a feminist lens. It’s less a summative evaluation than a quick-and-dirty assessment of whether the work meets even a basic representational standard.

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Book Review of "Torment in the Wind", by Judy Bruce


Judy Bruce's Torment in the Wind is the seventh installment of the Wind Series. Megan Docket, who is a small-town attorney, is the surprisingly endearing protagonist of the series. Her preferred legal practice is estate planning, wills, and tort cases, but unfortunately, she repeatedly finds herself serving in criminal cases.   She also is a gifted yet troubled female detective. 

A threatening letter mailed from the state of Nevada sets off a series of revelations that unearths deep secrets, and Bruce's layered approach gives the book more than enough plot points to keep the novel exciting.   

Bruce's choice to reveal the possible villain's identities and peel back the layers of their family lives creates an atmosphere full of ominous suspense. Which one of them is the real villain in this story? Which one of them is out to kill Megan? 


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Writing a Book? Here’s How Authors Make Money.

Writing a Book? Here’s How Authors Make Money.

Posted by  | Dec 16, 2016 |  | 13  |     

Writing a Book? Here’s How Authors Make Money.

Have you been thinking about writing a book, but wondering if it’s worth the time and effort? Have you been wondering how exactly do authors make money? How much do authors make per book? Whether you write books on how to make money or romance novels, this advice is actionable.

Maybe you’ve already written a book to build you brand. Now you’re wondering how to get the most out of your efforts.

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What’s Your Definition Of Success As A Writer? How Do You Measure It?

“Writing isn't about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end it's about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life as well.”

Stephen King

A lot of the creative dissatisfaction comes from not being clear about your definition of success.

For many writers, publishing a book is a nebulous goal that has dollar signs and media mentions attached to it, but often hasn't been specified clearly enough. So whatever stage you're at on the writer's journey, identifying your definition of success will help a great deal. Watch the video below or here on YouTube.

Why are you writing?

Why do you want your book published and out in the world for others to read?


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Indie Success: “The Best of All Possible Worlds”

By Matia Madrona Query | 

Nov 20, 2020

Hugh Howey

For many in the self-publishing community, bestselling author Hugh Howey needs no introduction. He has written numerous sci-fi novels across multiple series, including the Bern Saga, the Sand series, and the postapocalyptic Silo Saga, which began with Wool, published in 2011 through Amazon’s Kindle Direct program. The series is set in a future when humanity has escaped an uninhabitable surface world by moving into underground silos.

This year, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt published all three Silo books—Wool, Shift, and Dust—individually and as a box set. The books have new covers, and the set features original tie-in essays and a chapbook of short stories.



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Verso Books just announced a union—and they have advice for other publishing workers.

Found on LitHub

Corinne Segal

November 30, 2020, 3:48pm

There’s a new union on the block: Verso Books announced today that its staff has organized to join the Washington-Baltimore News Guild (WBNG), a unit of the NewsGuild and the Communications Workers of America. Management voluntarily recognized the union last week, according to a statement from the publisher.

The move was meant to formalize the policies that staff have organized around in recent years, including salary banding, a democratic decision-making process, and others, according to the statement. Senior publicist Julia Judge and editor Ben Mabie, the current shop steward, answered some further questions about the process of unionizing and some details that others hoping to do the same should consider.

Why NewsGuild? I know some prior attempts at unionizing within publishing have been with UAW, so I’m wondering what you can share about that selection process. UAW is one of the best in the business and we have great respect for the work they’ve done across arts and culture organizations—Film at Lincoln Center (who just voted last week in favor of a union), McNally Jackson, the New Museum, and Asian American Writers’ Workshop, to name a few. We had an early and strong connection with the organizers at the NewsGuild and appreciate the work they’ve done with new media outlets in particular. Additionally, the NewsGuild has been growing by leaps and bounds in recent years and has an expressed interest in organizing publishing, a historically unorganized industry with no shortage of labor issues. They are currently building a program to help New York-based publishing workers to get organized. We look forward to seeing the fruits of these efforts pay off with other shops in the coming months and years and are proud to be one of the first publishers to come on board.

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