Augury Books is happy to announce that our spring/summer 2015 reading period opens for submissions on May 1st! This year we’ll be accepting poetry manuscripts, as well as short fiction collections and creative nonfiction collections. For more on guidelines and submissions head over to our Submittable page. Stay tuned for more updates, and get excited!
The Story Prize, founded in 2004 by Julie Lindsey and Larry Dark, annually highlights collections of short stories published in the U.S. Halina Duraj, as part of a contributor series, recently had the opportunity to talk appropriation in regards to The Family Cannon (Augury Books, 2014) on TSP’s blog. She speaks briefly about how the writing process becomes unconsciously driven, taking things directly from casual experience.
Maybe somebody had asked me what I was working on, and I said something about neighbors, and my friend told the anecdote about two neighbors sharing a property line on some land in Colorado. One neighbor was so angry about something the other neighbor had done that he situated a cannon, a real, working cannon, in his yard and aimed it at the offending neighbor’s house. I remembered laughing, and thinking about the anecdote’s resonance with my own story. But by the time I’d sat down to work on the story a few days later, I’d completely forgotten my friend’s anecdote—I’d forgotten that my friend had told it, and I’d forgotten that it ever existed outside of my own brain.”
Friend of Augury Alison Espach (The Adults, Scribner, 2011) is currently working on a new book, and she recently took the time to sit down with Augury assistant editor Nicolas Amara to talk about it, among other things.
Nick: If you’d like to say, what is your upcoming book about? What subjects does it deal with?
Alison: I would love to say, but every time I have talked about my upcoming book, I have ended up drastically changing what it’s actually about. Talking about the book too early had sort of demystified the subject matter for me and when I returned to the manuscript, I found myself wanting to write a different book. I’m really enjoying working on the book now, so just to be on the safe side, I’m going to shut up about it.
N: Do you see any parallels between The Adults and this new work? The Adults and your Kindle single, “Someone’s Uncle?”
A: I don’t think there is too much that’s similar about the new book, except the fact that I’m the author, which means there will, without a doubt, be some parallels I’m not aware of at the moment. I’m not referring to plot developments, but the kind of details and conversations I tend to focus on in my writing. Most of my writing falls within the space where the sacred meets the meaningless, and that results in a kind of absurdity, for better or for worse. An absurdity that was definitely present in The Adults and surely in the next book as well.
N: What was the experience of writing the single like? Did you already have this piece done or was it written specifically for Kindle?
A: I didn’t write the Kindle single to be a Kindle single. I just wrote it as a short story, so it was very much like the process of writing all of my short stories: I wrote a very bad skeleton version of the story, didn’t know what to do with it, forgot about it for almost two years, and then returned to it when I was frustrated with writing the novel. With two years of distance, I could see so clearly what was wrong with it. It was a rambling story that took place over the entire continent of Germany, and it had no frame or structure. That week, I had just been talking with my students about setting, and we had been looking at stories that were entirely contained in one physical space. I realized that was the kind of structural tension my story needed. I was most interested in the cathedral stairwell, the second tallest one in Europe, so the challenge of writing it became keeping the characters within that one space and to, ultimately, make it read like an infinite stairwell. It was a lot of fun to see who the characters became (and what was revealed) by the time they reached the bell tower.
N: You’re now teaching writing–what is your approach to teaching? How does one teach writing? How much of it can be taught?
A: I certainly think you can teach writing. I don’t think the point of teaching writing is to create writers out of non-writers; that’s a kind of pressure I don’t put on myself as a teacher. But I do believe that everybody can learn a lot from taking writing classes.
Sometimes people devalue creative writing classes by saying that creative writing cannot be taught, but I think that this assumes the creative writing class is all about “teaching” someone how to write. It’s not like I stand behind a podium and lecture, while they sit and absorb. A creative writing class doesn’t work like that. We all read, we all edit, we all talk, we all write, and we all listen. Yes, it’s the professor that guides the class and serves as a very important kind of anchor, but it’s really more of an interactive experience.
And creative writing classes aren’t just a place to teach and be taught; for many people, the classes are places where students can find necessary support from fellow writers and inspiration. They are places where students can benefit from the structure of a weekly meeting or a writing prompt in class. For some students, the twenty-minute writing prompt is where their real stories begin. The spontaneity of a writing exercise can eliminate some of the pressure students feel to write “serious literary fiction,” and it’s during those prompts when I find students often write their best work.
Some people say that “you can’t teach passion” either, and while that’s true to some extent, I do think that as a teacher you can aid passion. When I’m not reading, I’m always at risk of falling out of love with literature. When I’m not reading carefully, I’m missing the magnificence of something. I learned how to read critically and actively from some of my best professors and fellow graduate students. When I can fully see and appreciate a story (something that usually happens most when I teach a story), I’m passionate about it. So in that way, I think maybe you can teach passion.
Though Espach continues to work on her new book, her Kindle single “Someone’s Uncle” is available online for only 99 cents. Both “Someone’s Uncle” and The Adults can be purchased from Simon & Schuster.
We are a little over halfway through our reading period, which is still OPEN through July 31, 2014. We accept full-length manuscripts in the categories of Poetry and Prose. The new Prose category includes Short Fiction Collections and Creative Nonfiction Manuscripts.
See our Submissions Page for length requirements and other guidelines, or find out everything you need to know (including our discounted book specials for those submitting!) on our third-party submissions manager, Submittable, where you can also submit your manuscript.
We can’t wait to read your work and find out who the authors of our 2015 books will be. Thanks to all of you in advance for sharing your work with us, and thanks to those who have already submitted their work this summer!
If you would like to know more about our aesthetic to see if your work might be a good fit for Augury, visit the Books and Orders page to see what works are already in our catalogue.
Don’t forget to Like us on Facebook and Follow this Blog (link in bottom corner) for continued updates about the rest of the reading period and information about our next publication and finalists!
This retreat will help you discover, nurture and support your own creative potential by providing you with yoga and writing tools that unravel the writer within. The retreat will take place in the world famous yoga retreat center Prana del Mar — located in the southern tip of Baja, Mexico — from Saturday, May 31st to Thursday June 5th, 2014.
Halina Duraj, whose debut short fiction collection, The Family Cannon, was published by Augury Books this past January, will appear in this year’s O. Henry Prize anthology. Widely regarded as one of “the most prestigious awards for short fiction” (The Atlantic Monthly), the O. Henry prizes are awarded each year to twenty short stories selected from the pages of thousands of literary magazines. Duraj will appear alongside such luminaries as National Book Award winner Louise Erdrich and Whitbread Award winner William Trevor. Duraj’s short story “Fatherland” originally appeared in Harvard Review. The 2014 O. Henry Prize anthology was edited by Laura Furman and will be published by Anchor Books in early September.
Publishers’ Weekly has a full list of the O. Henry prize winners.
Order THE FAMILY CANNON new from Augury Books here.
Our reading period is now OPEN through July 31, 2014. We are accepting submissions of full-length manuscripts in the categories of Poetry and Prose. The new Prose category includes Short Fiction Collections and Creative Nonfiction Manuscripts.
See our Submissions Page for length requirements and other guidelines, or find out everything you need to know (including our discounted book specials for those submitting!) on our third-party submissions manager, Submittable, where you can also send us your manuscript.
We can’t wait to read your work and find out who the authors of our 2015 books will be. Thanks to all of you in advance for sharing your work with us.
Want to find out more about our aesthetic before submitting? Visit our Books and Orders page to order books or read synopses, reviews, and press material about the books in our catalogue.
Don’t forget to Like us on Facebook and Follow this Blog (link in bottom corner) for updates about the reading period and announcements about our next publications and finalists.
It’s almost time to start polishing up your full-length manuscripts to submit to Augury Books for publication in 2015.
This year, we will be accepting manuscripts for publication in two categories: Poetry and Prose. Our new, expanded Prose Category includes both Short Fiction Collections and Creative Nonfiction Manuscripts. Augury’s reading period will open via Submittable on midnight of May 1, 2014, and remain open until 11:59 on July 31, 2014.
For you early birds who want to know what’s in store, here’s a peek at our upcoming guidelines:
FOR FULL-LENGTH POETRY MANUSCRIPTS:
- Submissions should be 45-80 pages. This page requirement does not include any front and back matter your manuscript might contain (title page, table of contents, dedication, acknowledgements, notes, about the author, etc.).
FOR FULL-LENGTH PROSE MANUSCRIPTS:
- Submissions should be 150-220 pages, double-spaced, with 1″ margins. This page requirement does not include any front and back matter your manuscript might contain (title page, table of contents, dedication, acknowledgements, notes, about the author, etc.).
- The prose sub-category in which you are submitting — Short Fiction OR Creative Nonfiction — must be clearly stated in your Submittable Cover Letter / Bio field AND on the first page of the uploaded manuscript itself.
FOR EVERYTHING, ACROSS THE BOARD:
- Brief (approx. 300-word) bio is required, pasted separately from your uploaded manuscript on the Submittable form.
- Multiple submissions, either within or across categories, are welcome, but must be submitted separately with separate reading fees.
- Simultaneous submissions are welcome, but please withdraw your MS immediately if it is accepted elsewhere, up until the time we announce our selections in the fall.
- Except under special circumstances, we are unable to accept submissions from international authors. Contact us for more information if this applies to you.
- Acceptable formats for uploaded manuscripts are PDF, DOC, and DOCX.
AND … WE’RE RUNNING A SPECIAL!
- All those submitting will have the option of getting a discounted book from our catalogue along with your submission. Find out more about the discounted titles when our reading period opens. Fee for submission without a book purchase: $10 per submission. Fee for submission with a book purchase: $18 per submission.*
Check back with us on May 1, when we will publish the link to our Submittable Campaign on our SUBMISSIONS PAGE, as well as here on our blog. We can’t wait to see you then and read your work!
Check out our current catalogue to get a feel for our aesthetic.