Some of My Recent and Upcoming Bylines

Next month marks five years that I’ve been a freelance reviewer, and I turn 35 later in the year. With these milestones in mind, I’ve been pushing myself a bit more to make contact with new publications and try to get my work out there more widely.

Most recently, I was pleased to have my first article in Literary Hub, an essay about rereading Little Women in its 150th anniversary year in conjunction with the new BBC/PBS miniseries production. (I shared this article intensively on social media, so do forgive me if you’ve already seen it somewhere else!) This is the first time, apart from here on the blog, that I’ve blended book commentary with personal material. I think it’s probably the best “exposure” I’ve had for my writing thus far: last time I looked, Literary Hub’s Facebook post about the article had gotten 123 likes and 33 shares, with 71 likes and 22 retweets on Twitter.

[Note: I now know that the spelling is Katharine Hepburn and have asked twice over e-mail for the editor to correct it, but it’s clearly very low on their list of priorities!]

 

I continue to review for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on a regular basis. My latest review was quite a negative one, alas, for Richard Flanagan’s First Person (). Upcoming: Slave Old Man by Patrick Chamoiseau () and A Weekend in New York by Benjamin Markovits.

 

I still contribute the occasional review to Shiny New Books. My latest two are of From Here to Eternity by Caitlin Doughty () and All the Beautiful Girls by Elizabeth J. Church ().

 

I reviewed Florida by Lauren Groff (), my fiction book of the year so far, for Stylist magazine. This is the fourth time I’ve volunteered for their “Book Wars” column, but the first time I’ve ‘won’ – I attribute it to the high class of book!

 

Bylines coming later in the summer:

  • A dual review of two nature-themed memoirs in the Times Literary Supplement (June 15th issue). This is my third piece for the TLS, but as it’s a longer one it feels a little more ‘real’.
  • An essay on two books about “wasting time” (including Alan Lightman’s) in the Los Angeles Review of Books (June 20th).
  • A dual review of a memoir and a poetry volume by African writers in Wasafiri literary magazine (Issue 95).

Upcoming work, with no publication date yet:

  • A dual review of two death-themed poetry collections for PN Review.
  • Two book lists for OZY, one on the refugee crisis and another on compassion in medicine.
  • A review essay on Gross Anatomy by Mara Altman for Glamour Online.
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22 thoughts on “Some of My Recent and Upcoming Bylines

  1. Great review of Florida, which I’m very keen to read. I loved The Monsters of Templeton and Fates and Furies. I was initially excited about The Female Persuasion, but unfortunately it sounds like it’s not going to be as radical as I wanted it to be – and I felt let down by The Interestings for similar reasons.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I loved Fates and Furies too; I was less keen on Arcadia. The Monsters of Templeton is one of my bibliotherapy ‘prescriptions’ for uncertainty about having children 😉

      I haven’t read any other Wolitzer books yet. The Female Persuasion is enjoyable in the same way as The Art of Fielding or The Marriage Plot — a sprawling campus-type novel with quirky and believable characters. But as for its feminist credentials? Yeah, not very groundbreaking.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s the impression I’ve been getting. I love campus novels so I’ll probably read it anyway, but I’m still looking for a novel that seriously tackles feminist movements – bonus points if it’s a historical novel about second wave feminism!

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    1. Not much 😉 It’s an irony of the freelancing life that coming up with ideas, pitching them to publications, waiting around and hearing nothing, trying again, etc. takes up a lot of time, energy and courage. For each of the minor victories above there are several rejections, and the pay rate for the amount of work put in ends up being absurdly low. Even five years on, I make little more money in a year than I made as an entry-level library assistant mostly twiddling my thumbs all day. I think I’m happier, at least in the sense of being more fulfilled in my work and not having to commute to London, but I’ve not chosen an easy life here.

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    1. It’s a hustle, alright! It feels so much safer and easier to be in salaried work, and have all the taxation and whatnot taken care of for you. I’d say, if you’re interested and you can, start doing freelance work on the side, and wait until you’ve built up a portfolio and a nice set of venues before you commit to it full-time.

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  2. Go for it Rebecca! I get the TLS, so will be waiting to read your review – glad you’ve got a longer piece. Thank you so much for mentioning Shiny and still reviewing for us occasionally just for the love of books. I hope that more publications take note and pay you for doing it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congrats on the various pub’s: nicely done! It is so hard to keep putting oneself out there and I totally hear you on the matter of waiting-and-sitting. I’m not sure which is worse: silence or rejection! I’ll look forward to reading more pieces in the future!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Compared to some freelancers (this is always the problem — comparing oneself), I hardly ever break into new publications; even all these years on I am still reluctant to put myself out there. But I’m trying to be better about it.

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  4. Loved your piece on Little Women – a perfect balance of your life, your reaction to the book and a look at others’ writing on the subject. And you are so brave! I even felt weird when I was requesting a book or two from a catalogue a publisher had sent me with explicit instructions to let me know what I’d like them to send me!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!

      Re: requesting books, if you don’t want to deal with publishers directly you can always look up the books on NetGalley or Edelweiss (I downloaded Clock Dance from the latter earlier in the year, but knew that without a print copy in front of me I wouldn’t actually read it). I ask myself ‘why not?’ and ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’ — the worst is they never reply and you don’t get a free book.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I do request via NetGalley although try to control myself there as once I’ve searched and I see other ones on that wicked front page of theirs …

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