David Patterson of Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency

Please be a positive force, outside of your immediate work, in the wider literary culture.

This means, of course, shopping at an independent bookstore if you are buying books. (You can use Bookshop or IndieBound to find stores.) It also means using a local library, perhaps joining, or starting, a “friends of the library” group, and advocating for library funding with elected officials. Libraries also often have English classes for speakers of other languages or literacy tutoring programs that need volunteers.

You might also donate books, or help create a book drive for groups like Brooklyn Book Bodega, which aims to increase the number of books children have access to at home, or NYC Books Through Bars, which helps books reach people who are incarcerated. (There are groups like these across the country.) I am sure we would also benefit from more writers serving on school boards, especially due to the ongoing efforts to ban books and whole categories of study, efforts that are attacks on the very acts of writing, reading, and learning. You may already have ideas of your own, be aware of initiatives, or be engaged in such activities that aren’t mentioned here!

It’s been said before about other efforts to preserve or create democracy: You do not have to do everything, but you do have to do something.

These things will sometimes interrupt your writing time, which has to be respected and managed, but they will also inevitably introduce you to books, people, and experiences that are likely to have some real, good, and inspiring, if not always explicit, influence on your work.

David Patterson of Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency

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Author: squong

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  • November 9, 2021