Literature Program

Thursday, March 2, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.

Talking Leaves…Books, Hallwalls, UB English Dept./Exhibit X Fiction, Canisius College Contemporary Writers Series, riverrun, Just Buffalo Literary Center, & Larkin Square Author Series present

Emily Fridlund, Elisabeth Schmitz, & Nicole Aragi


History of Wolves

(Atlantic Monthly Press, January 2017)

Grove/Atlantic editor Elisabeth Schmitz (Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain, Michael Thomas's Man Gone Down, Lily King's Euphoria, Helen MacDonald's H is for Hawk, are among her many books) will introduce one of her newest authors, Emily Fridlund, whose novel History of Wolves has just been released to great acclaim, including selection as the Indie Next pick for January by the booksellers of independent bookstores across the US. Joining them in conversation will be literary agent Nicole Aragi, winner of the 2014 Maxwell E. Perkins Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Field of Fiction, who represents Ms. Fridlund and many other authors in their relationships with publishers. A partial list of her clients includes Junot Diaz, Jonathan Safran Foer, Colson Whitehead, Claire Vaye Watkins, Anne Carson, and Terence Holt. The three will engage in a discussion of the methods and virtues of the traditional publishing process, with a question and answer session, followed by a brief reading and book signing with Ms. Fridlund.

Talking Leaves…Books, in collaboration with the Canisius College Contemporary Writers Series, UB English Department and Exhibit X Fiction Series, riverrun, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Just Buffalo Literary Center, and the Larkin Square Author Series, is pleased to announce two days of discussion and celebration of the traditional publishing system, featuring editor and critic John Freeman, fiction writers Emily Fridlund and Heather O'Neill, publisher Grove/Atlantic's Editorial Director Elisabeth Schmitz, and literary agent Nicole Aragi, in conversations about writing, editing, and literary publishing under siege in this moment of historic change and upheaval. The two fiction writers will also read from their recent publications.

Though most of us know, more or less, how to do it, writing has always been a challenging art. For those who wish to make their work public, publishing is the final challenge, and historically a difficult one, since producing books was a labor and capital-intensive affair, around which was built a whole eco-system of selection and curation, and a set of standards. Technological changes over the past half-century have made it easier and less expensive to produce a book, and today it is possible for almost anyone to publish his/her work on his/her own.

The upside of these changes is that the barriers to publication have been largely eradicated. The downside is that the shrinking of the barriers has led to the publication of much sub-standard work. Publishers, editors, agents—the so-called gatekeepers of the traditional publishing system—serve a useful and necessary purpose, helping to ensure that the best work makes its way into the world. The events we have scheduled are intended to help illuminate the continuing value of the traditional publishing process in the time of rapid change and disruption.

Elisabeth Schmitz is Vice President and Editorial Director of Grove Atlantic. Since joining the company in 1995, she has edited fiction and memoir for Grove including Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier, Euphoria by Lily King, Peace Like a River by Leif Enger, Man Gone Down by Michael Thomas, An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine, Why Be Happy When You can Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson, Say Her Name by Francisco Goldman, and H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald. Elisabeth has been a fellow at the Jerusalem Book Fair, the Sydney Writer's Festival, and the Toronto Harbourfront Literary Festival and is an annual speaker at the Sewanee Writers Program and Princeton.