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As many aspiring fiction writers are aware, National Novel Writing Month is full throttle. A small, nonprofit organization, the Office of Letters and Light, runs the effort known as NaNoWriMo, which has been a tradition since 1999. The goal is to have as many writers as possible commit to write a 50,000-word novel, starting November 1 and finishing by midnight November 30. Anyone who completes the 50,000 words is designated a “winner.” Writers must upload the completed novels for verification of completion and word count. In 2011, more than a quarter of a million writers participated, and 36, 843 of them completed novels. Throughout the month, participants encourage each other and offer tips. Many NaNoWriMo projects were later published by mainstream publishers. Participants must register through the website. See for more details.

For inspiration to competing novelists or spectators, searched its inventory for novels and books about writing and writers. offers a number of books that can serve as resources for classes on writing or literature.

Of particular interest is the series of books published by the University Press of Mississippi, “Conversations With…” that are compilations of interviews with well-known literary figures. The interviews come from a variety of sources and various periods in the writers’ lives. Among the many writers in this series available on are Toni Morrison ($45, regularly $50), Caryl Phillips ($45, regularly $50), John Edgar Wideman, ($19.80, regularly $22) and many others.

See these web links:

Here are some other books on writing and writers available on


Black Writers, White Publishers: Marketplace Politics in Twentieth Century African American Literature, by John K. Young. $40.50, (List price: $45), University of Mississippi, ISBN: 9781578068463 pp. 240.

This book lifts the veil on the complex negotiations and compromises that leading black authors must engage in when their literary works are entrusted to and at the mercy of white, mainstream publishers. Sometimes writers must delete scenes or words to make a novel more marketable, often the authors have to accept a title change to make the book more palatable and sometimes publicists slant marketing campaigns in ways that make the authors themselves cringe. Do these tradeoffs hinder black literature?                                           Young goes behind the scene to examine the publishing sagas of Nella Larsen’s Passing, Ishmael Reed’s Mumbo Jumbo, Gwendolyn Brooks’s Children Coming Home, Toni Morrison’s “Oprah’s Book Club” selections, and Ralph Ellison’s Juneteenth.


Faulkner on the Color Line: The Later Novels, by Theresa M. Towner, $45 (List price: $50), University of Mississippi Press, ISBN: 9781578062492, pp. 168.

After William Faulkner won the Nobel Prize for Literature for 1949, “his later novels” as critics termed them, were generally written off as more political than artistic, the author argues. This study reinterprets them as Faulkner’s way of addressing America’s racial problems and examining his own beliefs about them.  A native of Oxford, Mississippi, Faulkner was known for such earlier works as The Sound and the Fury and is considered one of the greatest Southern writers. Later works analyzed in this book include Intruder in the Dust, Requiem for a Nun, the Snopes trilogy, A Fable, and The Reivers.


Multicultural American Literature: Comparative Black, Native, Latino/a, and Asian American Fictions, by A. Robert Lee, $45, (List Price:  $50) University of Mississippi Press, ISBN 9781578066445, pp. 320.

A British scholar analyzes the fiction and autobiographical writings of contemporary American writers of varied ethnic and cultural backgrounds and discusses the influences on their work and the forms their expressions have taken. Among those studied are Ishmael Reed, Leslie Marmon Silko, Ralph Ellison, N. Scott Momaday, Toni Morrison, Rudolfo Anaya, Sandra Cisneros, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Jessica Hagedorn.


Finding a Way Home: A Critical Assessment of Walter Mosley’s Fiction, edited by Owen E. Brady and Derek C. Maus, $45 (List Price: $50), University of Mississippi Press, ISBN: 9781604730883, pp. 224.

In this book of essays, scholars look at the work of one of America’s favorite mystery writers, Walter Mosley, to extract his ideas about characters making a “home” where there may be none – a frequent theme in his work.                                                                                                                                     

Through its partnerships with leading publishers – representing university and independent presses, large and small – brings you scholarly and academic titles that you will not find elsewhere about diversity, education, history and many other topics. Visit  to purchase books at significant discounts.



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