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Posts Tagged ‘Wells Tower’

Three Events with Our Editors

December 5, 2011 | by

See our editors in action! This Wednesday night, join editor Lorin Stein at the New York Public Library as he discusses the James Family—that’s Henry, William, and Alice—with Jean Strouse, author of the recently reissued biography of Alice James. The fun begins at 7 P.M.

Then, next Thursday, Southern editor John Jeremiah Sullivan will be chatting with Wells Tower about the art of the essay, also at the New York Public Library. Seats are free; don’t miss it!

But first thing’s first: tomorrow, at 7 P.M. at Word Bookstore in Greenpoint, Poetry Editor Robyn Creswell will be on a panel tackling the biting wit and anarchist bent of the novels of Albert Cossery. Come learn more about the books that Creswell calls “hymns to laziness.”

We hope to see you there!


Wells Tower, DBC Pierre, and Tobias Wolff

August 9, 2011 | by

Jean-Fracois Millet, Peasant Spreading Manure, 1855, oil on canvas.

Most dust jackets list only literary accomplishments, but I’ve always been a fan of offbeat author bios. So I asked some of my favorite writers to describe their early jobs.

Wells Tower: When I was nineteen, I worked briefly as a garbage man. My boss’s name was Puddn’. He was a vast, sunbaked person with such a pronounced Southern accent that I couldn’t understand much of what he said. The job’s oppressions were what you’d expect: maggots, smells made worse by the summer heat. By the end of each day, I hated everyone who owned a garbage can. I did not hate Puddn’, though, who made many gifts to me of the wonders he found in the trash: penknives, silver cutlery, old watches, some of which I keep with me still.

DBC Pierre: I once worked in an advertising agency in Trinidad. My biggest triumph was masterminding a soft-drink campaign with a live Amazon parrot, which said the drink’s name. We scoured the island for a parrot that could sit still and look great and speak. It took a while, but I was determined. Eventually, we found a gentle young man from the coastal provinces whose only friend in the world was an Amazon parrot. The parrot spoke and sat on his shoulder and looked great. The parrot and the man were like a couple in love. The soft-drink client was impressed, and the campaign went ahead: money was invested, the bird photographed. But in between the photo shoot and the film shoot, we stopped the car to buy drinks at a service station and the bird fell out. A clattering old truck actually swerved to run it over. Such was the world of advertising.

Tobias Wolff: I made a living—a very good living—the summer of 1962 guessing ages and weights in the carnival section of the Seattle World’s Fair. One thing I learned: lowball the women’s stats. Sometimes it’s better to lose than to win.

Chris Flynn is the books editor at The Big Issue and the fiction editor at Australian Book Review.


Wells Tower Wins Young Lions Fiction Award

June 11, 2010 | by

Everything Ravaged, Everything BurnedCongratulations to Wells Tower, whose short-story collection Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned won the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award last night. Tower’s first two published stories were picked from the slush pile by The Paris Review way back in 2001, and both showcased what Edmund White called the “tensile strength” of his style. “His range is wide,” wrote White, “and his language impeccable, never strained or fussy.” You can hear Tower read the first of the two stories we published, “Down through the Valley,” by clicking here.