EVENT Sep 01
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Literary Rejection Letters

Organization: American Book Review
Categories: Miscellaneous
Event Date: 2022-09-01 Abstract Due: 2022-07-01

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Rejection is the universe’s way of affirming one’s existence. It is an unavoidable – and tonic – part of life. The only way never to be turned down is never to turn up. The literary life, in particular, often seems a recurrent ritual of submission and rejection. Agents cannot possibly take on all the would-be writers clamoring for representation, and, to keep from drowning in slush, editing is an exercise in waste disposal. Yet editorial decisions are not always sagacious; Joseph Heller received 22 rejection letters before he found a publisher for Catch-22. When William Golding tried to get Lord of the Flies into print, he was rebuffed 21 times.

For a special issue of the American Book Review devoted to the theme of rejections, literary essays of 1,500-1,750 words each are sought. Essays can reflect on the struggles of their authors to gain acceptance for their efforts, including anecdotal accounts of how long manuscripts were held and how rejection letters were phrased. Or they can recount the experience of agents and editors faced with the delicate responsibility of informing writers that their work is just not wanted.

The deadline is September 1, 2022. For submission and/or further information, please contact Steven G. Kellman at steven.kellman@utsa.edu.


Steven G. Kellman