A Letter from Yiyun Li

Yiyun Li October 1, 2013

This letter originally appeared in 2009.

Dear Reader,
One of the questions I have been asked most often by aspiring writers is how I began to publish. Variations of the question hint at certain myths about the publishing business—how being at the right place at the right time, or having the right connection to the right people, would be the most important factor in one’s career.


A Letter from Wells Tower

Wells Tower October 1, 2013

This letter originally appeared in 2009.

Dear Fellow Reader,
My first stories made it into print not through the efforts of an agent or a publishing house, but because the slush pile readers at an independent literary magazine took the time to open the manila envelope I’d sent, unbidden, and to read the work according to its merit rather than the cachet of the writer’s name.


A Letter from Nam Le

Nam Le October 1, 2013

This letter originally appeared in 2008.

Dear Fellow Reader,
In 2006 I received an unexpected e-mail from Brigid Hughes at A Public Space. She’d read a story of mine, she said, and she wondered whether it was available for her (as yet unlaunched) magazine. Her e-mail caught me at a low point in my life: I’d been away from home for almost two years, having burned my bridges with my legal career, and—more dispiritingly for me—having announced to my family and friends that I was going abroad to be “a writer.” Eighteen months later, I’d written hundreds of thousands of words and yet I felt the furthest I’d ever been from any viable conception of a writing life.


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