My understanding of what it means to be a publisher has been skewed ever since I first heard the word. My mom was reading A Wrinkle in Time to me—I must have been around 8—when she explained that my great-grandfather had published the book. She told me how Madeleine L'Engle had taken the story of Meg Murry, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O’Keefe to publisher after publisher, only to repeatedly be rejected. After being turned down by 26 or so houses, the book came to my mom’s grandfather, who read it and loved it, but "was afraid of it," L'Engle later said. He did say he would buy the book, [...]
In Benjamin Anastas’s 2012 memoir, Too Good to Be True, he writes of how he viewed Farrar, Straus and Giroux when he was an unpublished writer "prone to bouts of romantic longing": "It was not just a publisher in my eyes. It was more like the Promised Land." A poet who had caught a glimpse of the office had once told him on a fire escape in Queens, "National Book Awards? They paper the fucking place. It’s like a shrine in there. You whisper."
A certain mystique, whether you buy it or not, surrounds FSG, publisher of 25 Nobel laureates since its first slate of titles appeared in 1946. [...]
Last night publishing giant Farrar, Straus and Giroux hosted people at Lolita, on the Lower East Side, to celebrate the launch of its new monthly online newsletter, Work In Progress. Lolita is small and black, and it intimates nighttime even when the day is still going strong outside. A hung-up canvas has the words "Life is Art" painted over a metropolitan landscape; the guests drank an inordinate amount of rosé. Ryan Chapman-an online marketing manager at FSG and the guy spearheading the new venture-was in the back, toying around on an iPad. His tie was marked by a nifty clip, and he had on thick-rimmed glasses.