Robert Sullivan is almost certainly the only man in the country with a holiday greeting card from Anna Wintour on his fridge and a bestseller about rats on his resume. The former exists because of his 20-year gig as a contributing editor at Vogue; the latter comes as a result of the year he spent observing and chronicling the urban creatures as they lived their lives in an alley near Ground Zero.
In the Brooklyn apartment he shares with his preschool teacher wife and two teenage kids—one who recently took off for college with most of his father's drum set in tow—Sullivan explained how a life spent crisscrossing [...]
A brief primer on writer and lesbian-marrier Robert McAlmon. (Who? Yes.) A writer, publisher, and a connoisseur of the Parisian nightlife, Robert McAlmon was a fixture of the Lost Generation’s expatriate community in Paris in the 20s and 30s. McAlmon took Hemingway out to the bullfights in Spain that he would immortalize in The Sun Also Rises. He typed proofs of James Joyce’s monumental novel Ulysses, and due to the convoluted system of notes and addendums in Joyce’s manuscript, the voice of Molly Bloom that the first generation of readers received was actually McAlmon’s interpretation of Joyce’s. Through his publishing company Contact Editions, he was the first to [...]
For many writers struggling for publication, advertising has proven a useful field (it does pay, after all): F. Scott Fitzgerald, Salman Rushdie, Dorothy Sayers, Don DeLillo, Joseph Heller and Helen Gurley Brown all worked as copywriters early in their careers—some with more success than others. Rushdie came up with "Naughty. But nice" cream cakes for Ogilvy & Mather; Sayers introduced "Just think what Toucan do" to Guinness and founded a dotty, fictional (and wildly popular) "Mustard Club"; and, thanks to Fitzgerald, streetcars in Iowa once ran with the promise "We keep you clean in Muscatine" sparkling on their sides.
Yet for all six, advertising was mostly just a means [...]
"I don’t know why writers are mourning the death of an industry that’s done so little for them for so long…. It’s time writers thought of themselves as an army rather than a city under siege." —What has the publishing industry done for you lately anyway?
The New School's MFA writing students are learning! "Provided they’ve been paying attention to the world outside the workshop, they’ve noticed that the conversation about what it means to be a certificated 'writer' has shifted away from the literary, and even the lofty, and is now taking place in the rather harsher language of political economy."
It was noon on a Saturday. It was ninety-five degrees, and there was a line out the door, and the previous customer had been a tiny elderly Armenian woman who had been impossible to understand, and so obviously the person next in line was my former undergraduate thesis advisor.
"I had no idea you worked here!"
"Oh, hi, [redacted]! So nice to see you again!"
"You too! This is such a lovely little place, you must love working here."