Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Three upcoming Columbia University Press publications

Talk to me in early to mid December, and I might sound smarter than I am now. That's because I'll have read three books by Columbia University Press: Dan Sinykin's Big Fiction: How Conglomeration Changed the Publishing Industry and American Literature (October 24), Courtney Thorsson's The Sisterhood: How a Network of Black Women Writers Changed American Culture (November3 ), and Alexander Manshel's Writing Backwards: Historical Fiction and the Reshaping of the American Canon (November 10), and 

I can't remember a time when I was looking forward to three scholarly books by a single publisher released right together. 

For quite some time, I've been trying to think about the publishing industry and 21st century literary histories. Well, Sinykin's book addresses some of those concerns and goes further. He shows how publishing conglomerations have shaped literary fiction. 

Sinykin touches on some of those issues in a New York Times article on Cormac McCarthy. Sinykin's Big Fiction will assist me in gaining an understanding of some of the major developments taking place with contemporary African American fiction.  

I started hearing about Courtney Thorsson's book months, no, years ago. She mentioned this project she was working on that took a photograph as a jumping off point. You know the photo. She provides extensive discussions of this group of black women writers and various other cultural workers. 

Thorsson has produced an episode, "The Sisterhood, 1977 photograph," for our podcast, Remarkable Receptions. Her episode remains the most downloaded episode of our podcast. 

Manshel's book is going to have so many of us wishing. That is, we'll be wishing that we came up with this really good idea. Manshel focuses on a fascinating development in literary culture that has been hiding in plain sight for something like 50 years.

Manshel's book explains the appearance of exploring historical topics in contemporary fiction by several different prominent authors. Manshel devotes a chapter to Colson Whitehead, which, given my research interests, I'm really excited to read. 

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