HANDLING THE TRUTH: a little publishing news

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

It is just after five in the morning, and I have been sitting here searching for words, wanting to begin this post in just the right place.

But I am perplexed, for there are so many beginnings.  I shall begin at the end, then, and share what is, for me, such day-breaking, joy-making news:
April 17, 2012
Non-fiction:
General/Other        
Memoirist, fiction writer and National Book Award finalist for A SLANT OF SUN, Beth Kephart's HANDLING THE TRUTH, a book devoted to the reading, teaching, and making of memoir; about consequences and libraries, privileges and pleasures, and finally knowing ourselves -- providing a proven framework for teachers, students, and readers, to Lauren Marino at Gotham, by Amy Rennert at the Amy Rennert Agency (world). 
HANDLING THE TRUTH emerges from my years of writing, critiquing, and teaching memoir.  It erupts from a place both scorched and urgent.  It means so much to me because my students mean so much to me, and because memoir—the form, the possibilities—must, I think, be both reconsidered and defended.

But no book emerges on its own.  This one will exist because my agent, Amy Rennert, received the first 70 pages of this book on a Saturday morning, read it on a Sunday morning, and called me that Sunday afternoon.  She already had a plan.  She was certain.  She took the book out into the world, and before I even had a chance to dream, she had found this book its right home.   Shore lady, she wrote to me last week, as I was contemplating dolphins and sea, we have a deal. Lauren Marino is the executive editor of Gotham Books, a Penguin Group imprint (who doesn't love Penguin?). She has worked with Diablo Coady, Isaac Mizrahi, Thomas Moore, Jeffrey Zaslow, Ann Crittenden, Ruth Reichl, Jane Green, Cindy Crawford, Willie Nelson, and others.  I am honored by the chance to write for her.

I am delighted, too, to share this one other small thing at this early hour:  HANDLING THE TRUTH is a book that once sported another title.  And then one morning, while grousing on Facebook about a nonfiction writer who takes (in my opinion) far too many liberties, Melissa Sarno posted a video clip meant to make me laugh and (perhaps, who knows?) to silence my rant.  All day long I kept thinking about that clip and about how much I love Melissa.  I knew by dusk what I had to do.  Sarno, you are loveliness supreme.

I have many people, then, to thank today.  Gregory Djanikian, for inviting me to teach at Penn in the first place. Al Filreis of Penn's Kelly Writers House, for supporting my work in the classroom.  My students, whose work and faces and stories thrill, inspire, uplift me.  Amy Rennert, for believing so much in this book, for making sure it had the right home, for being a friend through all these years.  Lauren Marino, for your (joy-making) faith.  And, of course, Melissa and Jack.

19 comments:

Lindsey said...

Oh I cannot WAIT to read it! xoxo

Serena said...

Wonderful. You rant?! I do not believe it.

Katrina said...

Congratulations! How I wish for instant gratification; I wish I could read this book TODAY. (Want to send me those first seventy pages?) Wonderful you. As always.

Susan Campbell said...

Whoa! Such GREAT news! I am clapping for you!

Kathryn Craft said...

This sounds great, Beth—I actually just saw it on Publisher's Marketplace and went to LinkedIn to congratulate you then saw this post. I'm so happy for you, and eager to see the finished project!

I don't know if this would be of any interest but there's a LinkedIn group called "Women's Memoirs" and someone there is currently taking names of people who write about memoir for Memoir Writing Conference. Her name is Bathsheba Monk and—interesting!—she lives in Allentown.

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/bathsheba-monk/14/98b/483

Lilian Nattel said...

Wow, Beth--I am so impressed and so thrilled for you. I've read your blog posts about teaching and you are so dedicated and wise and kind. This book will bring that to so many more.

The1stdaughter said...

What wonderful news Beth! I'm so thrilled for you and I cannot wait to learn even more from your wonderful words & teaching. This is incredible! Congratulations!

Hi I'm Jennie! said...

All my students better be prepared to start turning down the corners of pages on this one!!! Congratulations!

Florinda Pendley Vasquez said...

ionWhat a great READING opportunity for those of us who'll never get to take one of your classes :-D. Congratulations--so excited for you!

Jeannine Atkins said...

Such fantastic news! And I do love the title. I'm joining the line of those who cannot wait!

Beth Kephart said...

I am SO grateful to all of you. Truly. Thank you for sharing my joy.

kelly said...

HUGE OFFICIAL CONGRATS! Most amazing of all, we have communicated six times today and you didn't say a word. Oh, the humility!

Becca said...

I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am about this book!

Amy said...

Best news of the day! :)

Mandy King said...

I am dancing for you today. :)

Maya Ganesan said...

Oooh, exciting!! Huge congrats!

Melissa Walker said...

The world is brighter for all of us today! Can't wait to learn even more from you!

patti.mallett_pp said...

So many of us (millions and millions) cannot wait for this book. Who can we nag to get this thing OUT SOONER?????

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