Issue No. 20, Late Summer 2016
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Publishing the Best Literature of the American Jewish Experience (AJE).

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Can you believe that we've reached the end of August? We hope that you enjoy this late-summer edition of our newsletter.

As always, we invite you to keep in touch with us between newsletters by clicking any of the buttons above to "like" us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and/or discover fresh content on our website. (If you have received this newsletter because someone has forwarded it to you, please be sure to subscribe for updates yourself.)

Thanks so much!

—Erika Dreifus, Media Editor

Summer Updates from Our Authors

We thought that it was time to check in with some of our authors to see what they've been up this summer.

Jessamyn Hope reports: "This summer marked a year since the launch of Safekeeping, and I've been busy speaking to readers about that novel while working on the next. In September, I'll be speaking in person with book clubs at the Museum of Jewish Heritage and Congregation Or Zarua of New York City, and via Skype with other groups around the U.S. and Canada (as they become available, details will be shared on When not writing, I've spent these hot summer days trying to maximize limited closet space and schlepping nonessentials to Moishe’s Self Storage, because my husband and I have moved from Brooklyn to Manhattan, a direction some might consider old-fashioned, but so far we're enjoying being back in 'the city.'"

And Ben Nadler (The Sea Beach Line) tells us: "I'm in the process of moving from Brooklyn up to Albany, New York, where I will begin the PhD in English at SUNY Albany this fall. Summer activities have included reading at the Scribblers on the Roof series [at Ansche Chesed in New York], publishing new work in the Atlantic's 'Object Lessons' series and with 'The Other Stories' podcast, and learning to drive."

Finally, we note that this summer brought the first anniversary of the passing of Alan Cheuse, whose Prayers for the Living we published in March 2015. Several beautiful events this summer celebrated Alan's life and work. And we know that many of you you will want to keep up with the new Alan Cheuse International Writers Center at George Mason University. We certainly will.

Go Directly to Goodreads!

We have been hard at work this summer doing all of the things that need to be done in order to bring you our next book: Abigail Pogrebin's My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew. Featuring a foreword by A.J. Jacobs, My Jewish Year will be published on March 14, 2017.

For us, it's always exciting to see books begin to make their pre-publication appearances online. We're delighted to find, for example, that My Jewish Year is now showing up on Goodreads, the mega-popular site for book-lovers.

Yours truly, FTB's bookish Media Editor, has been hanging out on Goodreads for years. From the start, I've loved adding forthcoming titles to my "want-to-read" shelf as Goodreads so often prompts me to do. And there are a couple of reasons I'm so enthusiastic.

First, my "want-to-read" shelf always reminds me about the books on my tbr list. (Somehow, those scraps of paper where I used to jot down titles and authors too often disappeared before I managed to transfer their notes to any centralized list.)

But I've found another benefit to adding a book to my "want-to-read" shelf: If and when the author (or her publisher) offers a Goodreads giveaway of the title, I'm seemingly automatically notified and prompted to enter to win. And I've received some wonderful books, free of charge, via those giveaways.

Rest assured that there will be giveaways for My Jewish Year in the coming months. Why not make it easier to find out about them? Go to the book's page on the site, click that green button and put My Jewish Year on your "want-to-read" shelf today!

Meet Our Assistant Editor

We're a small (but mighty!) team here at FTB. And we think that it's time for you to get to know one of our key players, Assistant Editor Emily Greenberg, who does so much crucial work behind the scenes.

Photo credit: Zack DeZon

A bit of background: Emily received a BA in English and a BFA in Fine Arts from Cornell University. After briefly working in academic publishing, she joined Fig Tree in October 2014 as Editorial and Publishing Assistant. Her short fiction has appeared in literary journals including A Bad Penny Review, Matter, and The Copperfield Review, and her artwork has been exhibited in venues across the country, including Phoenix Gallery and AC Institute (NYC), Smack Mellon and BRIC (Brooklyn), ARC Gallery (Chicago), and Intermedia Arts (Minneapolis). She lives in Brooklyn, where she helps lead drop-in writing workshops for area writers.

We asked Emily a number of questions for an interview that appears in full on our website. Here, to pique your interest, is one of the exchanges:

"You are on the front lines of the manuscript review process; when authors and agents send manuscripts to FTB, you're often the first one to see the work. Any tips or advice for would-be submitters?"

"Read our submissions guidelines! For fiction, for instance, we novels but will frequently receive short story collections, which we can't accept. We also can't accept manuscripts that don't speak to the American Jewish Experience. This obviously includes manuscripts without Jewish or American content, but it also includes manuscripts where Jewish identity plays only a surface role. Would-be-submitters should definitely look at our website and the books we've published to get a sense for whether their work would be a good fit. Keep your cover letter to the point and professional. (We don't need to know the names of your pets!) Beyond that, we're looking for original voices and compelling stories that address the AJE in unique ways."

Again, you'll find the full interview online.

Don't Forget About Our Blog!

Miss us between newsletters? In addition to our frequent posts on social media, we maintain a blog, where we share news, updates, and other information on a weekly basis. Be sure to check out our series featuring past winners of the Edward Lewis Wallant Award, a prize named in memory of the author of The Pawnbroker. The blog is also where we share new online discoveries relating to American Jewish Experience (AJE), broadly defined.

Please come visit——and comment! We'll look forward to seeing you there soon.
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