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Friday, September 30, 2011

Should a Writer Live in New York?

The conventional wisdom is that in the age of the Internet you can live anywhere. No longer do writers have to live in literary centers to be part of the world of publishing and agents and deals and other writers. It helps of course, but it really isn't necessary. Authors live all over the place and even the ones who live in New York have houses in other places. The successful ones that is.

Of course there is a nagging little caveat to all of this. Take Chad Harbachs novel The Art of Fielding. I read the Vanity Fair piece written by his buddy who started the literary magazine N1. He basically describes the process in which Harbachs novel was discovered by Michael Pietch. There is the usual rejected by many component and Harbach slaved away for ten years and people were beginning to worry. But then his friend from the lit magazine who had a book published, put the manuscript in front of the right agent and then the right publisher. Harbach was discovered.

And if you go down the literary heavyweight list of Jonathan Franzen type big novels it does seem a lot of these authors live in New York. Lets face it networking is part of life and being where publishing is centered (at least for now) is probably a good thing. People do business with people they know and if you are bouncing around New York you might bump into agents and publishers and authors who could help you. To say nothing of the wealth of material living in a large city like New York generates. a lot of writers, thought about moving to the Big Apple. Living in Chicago did seem at times like a second city, but I doubted my ability to find time to write in NY. Chicago just seemed friendlier. And sometimes I think I should have gone. You never know what can happen just by moving to a bigger pond. Probably this question has no answer except that you go where you can survive and write.

Still, living in New York as a of dreams, right?

Books by William Hazelgrove