The Nighttime Novelist...accomplishes more in about 240 pages than a dozen other "how to write" or "craft your novel" books have ever done.

--Helen Gallagher/Blogcritics
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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Novella Month

It seems like only yesterday--or like last Monday--that we were celebrating Short Story Month. But now it's June, which can only mean one thing: it's time for Novella Month.

I happily admit that I have a soft spot in my heart for novellas, not only because I recently served as judge for the 2008 Miami University Press Novella Prize--and got to serve as editor for the winning entry, Lee Upton's wonderful The Guide to the Flying Island, which you can, nay should, purchase here--but because the form itself is sorta the lovable orphan of the publishing world. At somewhere between 15,000 and 50,000 words, a novella is considered, at least by the people who do the considering, too long to run in a journal as a short story, too short to be published a standalone book, and thus are too often put back in the drawer. (Had the current attitude always been the case, would we still have Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Muriel Spark's The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Nathanael West's under-read Miss Lonelyhearts, Kafka's The Metamorphosis...?)

Novella Month, then, is a very good idea...yet another from the fine folks over at Emerging Writers Network. (The event even garnered attention from the LA Times yesterday in a piece you can read here.) Browse over to the EWN blog for reviews/discussion of recent and classic novellas all month, as well as notices of publishers like Melville House, which currently has novella series dedicated to both contemporary and classic work.

I also happened to see recently--on Facebook--that Charlotte's Main Street Rag is currently soliciting novella manuscripts (submissions must be postmarked by August 1st). See complete guidelines here.

Finally, the 2010 Miami University Press Novella Contest is open for submissions and will be until October 1st, 2010. As far as I know, it's the only novella contest that publishes a standalone book of the winning entry...and very nice-looking editions, at that. For complete guidelines, click here.

PS--By sheer coincidence, I'm awaiting Mario Bellatin's novella Beauty Salon in the mail, which I can't wait to read.


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