Course Catalog

Publishing Intensive

This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time.

Intermediate / Advanced | This daylong intensive seminar will provide a comprehensive overview of the publishing business and opportunities for writers of adult fiction, memoir, and young adult fiction. Students will have the opportunity to practice their elevator pitches in small groups. All students are required to write a 1-2 paragraph long pitch for their book before the intensive in order to participate in this small-group exercise. This class includes a lunch break as well as short breaks throughout the day.  This class–taught via Zoom–will include guest talks from Literary Agents Ayesha Pande and Annie Hwang, VP and Senior Editor Matt Weiland, and author Vanessa Hua. Please find their bios below.

Special Guests

Ayesha Pande: Ayesha has worked in the publishing industry for over twenty years. Before launching her boutique agency, Ayesha was a senior editor at Farrar Straus & Giroux. She has also held editorial positions at HarperCollins and Crown Publishers. She is a member of AAR (Association of Author’s Representatives), PEN, the Asian American Writer’s Workshop and the Women’s Media Group. She has attended numerous writing conferences and has taught college level courses in editing. She holds a master’s degree from Columbia University. Among her many wonderful clients are National Book Award Winner Ibram X. Kendi, PEN/Bingham Prize winner Danielle Evans, PEN/Bellwether Prize winner Lisa Ko, New York Times Bestseller Shilpi Somaya Gowda and PEN/Hemingway finalist Patricia Engel. Her interests are wide-ranging and include literary as well as popular fiction, young adult, women’s, African-American and international fiction. She is also seeking authors of nonfiction, including biography, history, popular culture, cultural commentary, and memoir. She is particularly drawn to distinctive, original voices. @agent_ayesha

Annie Hwang: Before joining Ayesha Pande Literary, Annie began her career at Folio Literary Management where she had the pleasure of working with debut and seasoned authors alike. As a former journalist, Annie possesses a keen editorial eye which she brings to her approach to agenting, taking an active role in the careers of her clients. Annie represents voice-driven literary fiction and select nonfiction. In particular, she gravitates toward subversive and irreverent literary fiction and impactful mission-driven narrative nonfiction that grapples with the complexities of our world. A fierce champion of underrepresented voices, Annie is always on the hunt for gifted storytelling that stretches its genre to new heights. @AnnieAHwang

Matt Weiland: A vice president and senior editor at W.W. Norton & Company, Weiland’s acquisitions  include the New York Times bestsellers Between You & Me by New Yorker copyeditor Mary Norris, Boy on Ice by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter John Branch, and Capital by the novelist John Lanchester, as well as critically acclaimed books by Blake Bailey, Stephin Merritt & Roz Chast, Tim Parks, and the cartoon journalist Joe Sacco. Weiland has previously worked as an editor at Ecco, Granta Books, The New Press, and Columbia University Press, as well as at Granta, The Paris Review, and The Baffler. He has served as project director for American RadioWorks, the documentary radio unit of NPR and Minnesota Public Radio, and he and Eugenia Bell founded Bell & Weiland Books to publish Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Mike Wallace’s A New Deal for New York in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Weiland’s essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Times Book Review, the Washington Post, New York Magazine, Bookforum, Slate, The New Republic, and The Nation.  Weiland is a member of the National Book Critics Circle and the Visiting Committee for Literary and Historical Manuscripts of the Morgan Library & Museum. He is the captain of the U.S. Writers World Cup soccer team (which has yet to play a game).

Vanessa Hua: a columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle, is author of Deceit and Other Possibilities,  and A River of Stars. A National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellow, she has also received an Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, a Steinbeck Fellowship in Creative Writing, and the San Francisco Foundation’s James D. Phelan Award for fiction. She has received fellowships and support from Bread Loaf, Aspen Summer Words, Voices of Our Nation, Community of Writers at Squaw, and Napa Valley writing conferences. Her work has appeared in New York Times, FRONTLINE/World, PRI’s The World, The Atlantic, ZYZZYVA, Guernica, and elsewhere. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and twins. She teaches at the Writers Grotto, Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers, and elsewhere.

Due to COVID-19, all classes will take place online-either through Zoom or through Wet Ink, our asynchronous learning platform-through Winter quarter 2021.

All times are listed in Pacific Time.

Instructor: Peter Mountford, Karen Finneyfrock, Theo Nestor & Tara Conklin

Class Type: 1 Session

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Start Date: 05/09/2020

Days of the Week: Saturday

Time: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Maximum Class Size: 40

$180.00 Member Price:
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$200.00 General Price:

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Peter Mountford, Karen Finneyfrock, Theo Nestor & Tara Conklin

Karen Finneyfrock is the author of two young adult novels: The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door and Starbird Murphy and the World Outside, both published by Viking Children’s Books. She is a former Writer-in-Residence at Richard Hugo House.

Peter Mountford is the author of the award-winning novels A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism, and The Dismal Science. His work has appeared dozens of major magazines and newspapers. He teaches at Sierra Nevada College’s MFA program.

Theo Pauline Nestor is the author of Writing Is My Drink (Simon & Schuster, 2013) and How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed: A Memoir of Starting Over (Crown, 2008). Nestor has taught the memoir certificate course for the University of Washington’s Professional & Continuing Ed program since 2006.

Tara Conklin is the author of The House Girl and The Last Romantics (William Morrow, 2013 & 2019), both New York Times bestsellers. The Last Romantics was a Barnes & Noble Book Club Pick, IndieNext Pick, and was selected by Jenna Bush Hager as the inaugural read for The Today Show Book Club.

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