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I came across a funny passage in "Real Romance," Lauren Collins' profile of Nora Roberts for the June 22 issue of The New Yorker: "She never makes an outline, and she does most of her research on Google. Before she wrote 'Montana Sky,' her editor suggested that she go to Montana. 'Why would I want to go to Montana?' Roberts said." Perhaps it's for the best—Montana might not have room for another writer. Last year I noticed a curious lull in the literary output from Montana—usually half the books on my year-end best of the region list are connected to the state in some way. But last year there were more books set in Colorado. Now I realize why there weren't more Montana books—all the writers were preparing them for publication this July. This week I reviewed a new book by Montana man of letters and woods, Rick Bass, The Wild Marsh, which is my favorite of his nonfiction books…so far. Up for next week, a new collection of short stories by Maile Meloy, who grew up in Helena and has made a name for herself as one of the best young writers working today. Granta listed her in its "Best Young American Novelists" issue in 2007. Next, I'm looking forward to reading the new short story collection by Kevin Canty, who teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Montana.

July Brings Abundant Montana Books

I came across a funny passage in “Real Romance,” Lauren Collins’ profile of Nora Roberts for the June 22 issue of The New Yorker:

“She never makes an outline, and she does most of her research on Google. Before she wrote ‘Montana Sky,’ her editor suggested that she go to Montana. ‘Why would I want to go to Montana?’ Roberts said.”

Perhaps it’s for the best—Montana might not have room for another writer. Last year I noticed a curious lull in the literary output from Montana—usually half the books on my year-end best of the region list are connected to the state in some way. But last year there were more books set in Colorado. Now I realize why there weren’t more Montana books—all the writers were preparing them for publication this July.

This week I reviewed a new book by Montana man of letters and woods, Rick Bass, The Wild Marsh, which is my favorite of his nonfiction books…so far.

Up for next week, a new collection of short stories by Maile Meloy, who grew up in Helena and has made a name for herself as one of the best young writers working today. Granta listed her in its “Best Young American Novelists” issue in 2007.

Next, I’m looking forward to reading the new short story collection by Kevin Canty, who teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Montana. Where The Money Went hits stores this week, and were it not for some of Canty’s fellow current and former Montanans publishing new books in the same month, I would have gotten to it more promptly.

Yet one more very intriguing July book dropped on my desk recently: Christopher Cokinos’ The Fallen Sky: An Intimate History of Shooting Stars. After I clear up some of these Montana books to review, I’ll get to that one, so a Utah writer can get some game time.

Cokinos is also the editor of Isotope: A Journal of Literary Nature and Science Writing published by Utah State University. I recently received the Spring/Summer 2009 issue that includes a note about Isotope’s tenuous financial situation. The bulk of the magazine’s funding comes from the university, which is being forced to cut back on its budget. Cokinos writes that they could use donations to help keep Isotope afloat, and would also appreciate kind words about the magazine from readers, directed toward USU Provost Ray Coward and President Stan Albrecht.

Winter seems a long way off now that we are in the heart of summer, so how am I supposed to wait that long to tell you all that Prairie Schooner is going to publish one of my short stories in its Winter 2009 issue? Oops, I guess I just did. Patience has never been my strong suit. I’m sure I’ll bug you all about it again when it comes out.

Please {encode=”jenny@newwest.net” title=”send me an email”} with any regional book news or events.

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2 comments

  1. Jenny: Congrats on your short story accepted by Prairie Schooner. One of the great literary mags. Look forward to reading the story.

  2. Thanks Michael! I am really excited about it.