1 November 2010

Please pick up the print edition of the November/December issue of Poets & Writers magazine. It includes my piece “Beyond the Compass: A Profile of John Casey.”

This profile was true labor of love. In the process of writing it, I traveled to Virginia to spend time with Casey. Here’s what Poets & Writers has to say about my piece: “Even before his beloved novel Spartina won the National Book Award in 1989, John Casey had written its sequel. So why was Compass Rose just published—and was it worth the wait?”

The Poets & Writers Web site features an online exclusive: an annotated image of Casey’s desk and cork board.

1 July 2010

This week I had the great honor of being appointed the Executive Director of the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. The MWPA is a 35-year-old nonprofit whose mission is to enrich the cultural life of Maine by supporting writers and the literary arts.

On August 12, the MWPA will celebrate their birthday in style. Join Ann Beattie, Richard Ford, Lily King, Joyce Maynard, Richard Russo, and many other authors for “Author! Author!” an amazing evening of events that includes dinner at one of ten Portland restaurants, champagne and cake at the Portland Public Library, and swing dancing at Space Gallery.

15 January 2010

As 2009 drew to a close, I found myself devouring “Best Books of the Year” lists. When it came to The New York Times Book Review, I even started comparing the 2009 list to the lists from previous years. A bit obsessive, I know. Anyhow, after taking in a large dose of lists, I decided to write my own list, and in doing so, set my own rules.

28 December 2009

I recently conducted an interview with the novelist and short story writer Maile Meloy for the great online journal Fiction Writers Review. Since Meloy’s second collection, Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It, was published this past summer, I focused my questions around the craft of the short story. Meloy’s answers are both instructive and inspiring.

A few weeks after my interview wrapped, The New York Times Book Review named Meloy’s new collection to their list of “The 10 Best Books of 2009” and called her stories “concise yet fine-grained narratives.”

8 October 2009

My latest piece for the online journal Fiction Writers Review is an essay on attending a reading at Portland, Maine's Longfellow Books by the author Ron Currie, Jr. Ron's story collection God is Dead is outstanding, as is his recently released novel, Everything Matters!

24 September 2009

I will be filing pieces periodically with an exceptional new online journal called Fiction Writers Review. Pop over to the site and have a look. They have an amazing selection of essays, reviews, profiles, interviews, and more.

The first piece I’ve filed for FWR is about Simon Van Booy winning the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award for his stunning second-collection, Love Begins in Winter.

4 July 2009

Visit the Web site of the Portsmouth Herald to read my new piece on the author Simon Van Booy’s recent reading in New Hampshire.

The English-born writer was in town to read from his new book, Love Begins in Winter. Composed of five long stories set around the world, Van Booy’s collection is imbued with a generous spirit and an empathetic touch. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Olen Butler has called his writing about complex longings, “pitch-perfect.”

15 May 2009

Visit the Web site of Poets & Writers Magazine to read my new piece, “Carolyn Chute on Tap Water, Thinking Dogs, and the Inspirational Quality of Coffee: Postcard From Biddeford, Maine."

As spring began slowly in Maine, Carolyn Chute—the author of the best-selling novel The Beans of Egypt, Maine—visited the McArthur Public Library in Biddeford, Maine. Chute read from her new book, The School on Heart's Content Road, chatted with the audience and answered questions. As always, she was one of a kind.

18 April 2009

Pick up the print edition of the May/June 2009 issue of Poets & Writers Magazine. It includes my profile, “The Café Review: Publishing Poetry in Portland, Maine.”

This year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the grass-roots publication that was founded to showcase the work of Portland poets, but has grown to become a highly regarded journal with an international audience.

Poets & Writers Magazine’s Web site features a slide show of covers, photographs, correspondence from contributors, and other ephemera from the archive of Steve Luttrell, the founding editor of the Café Review.

16 March 2009

Visit the Web site of Poets & Writers Magazine to read my new piece, “Tom Perrotta Breaks the Ice: Postcard from Durham, New Hampshire.”

During the first week of March, Tom Perrotta—the author of best-selling novels such as Election, Little Children, and The Abstinence Teacher—visited the University of New Hampshire as part of the school’s impressive Writers Series. After spending time throughout the day with students, Perrotta gave an afternoon reading and answered a round of questions.

20 February 2009

Stop by the Web site of author Lewis Robinson and read my interview with him.

The interview, “I Indulged the Various Layers of the Story,” explores Robinson’s debut novel Water Dogs (Random House, 2009) as well as the short stories in his collection Officer Friendly (HarperCollins, 2003).

The interview touches on the Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate and Whiting Writer’s Award-winner’s views on the craft of writing, the art of the short story, writing about place, what the author has in common with Marlon Brando, time spent in hospitals, and how the company of female middle school basketball players feels.

13 February 2009

The March/April 2009 issue of Poets & Writers Magazine includes my article, “The Art and The Artist.” The piece examines how the “genre” of literary biography is fraught with both positives and pitfalls as readers explore the lives of the writers they adore.

I interviewed the authors of three new biographies to form the core of the article: Cheever: A Life by Blake Bailey, Hiding Man: A Biography of Donald Barthelme by Tracy Daugherty, and Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor by Brad Gooch.

© tammy ackerman