MFA vs NYC The Two Cultures of American Fiction

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2014-02-25
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Writers write—but what do they do for money?

In a widely read essay entitled "MFA vs NYC," bestselling novelist Chad Harbach (The Art of Fielding) argued that the American literary scene has split into two cultures: New York publishing versus university MFA programs. This book brings together established writers, MFA professors and students, and New York editors, publicists, and agents to talk about these overlapping worlds, and the ways writers make (or fail to make) a living within them. Should you seek an advanced degree, or will workshops smother your style? Do you need to move to New York, or will the high cost of living undo you? What's worse—having a day job or not having health insurance? How do agents decide what to represent? Will Big Publishing survive? How has the rise of MFA programs affected American fiction? The expert contributors, including George Saunders, Elif Batuman, and Fredric Jameson, consider all these questions and more, with humor and rigor. MFA vs NYC is a must-read for aspiring writers, and for anyone interested in the present and future of American letters.

Author Biography

Chad Harbach grew up in Wisconsin and was educated at Harvard and the University of Virginia. He is the author of the bestselling novel The Art of Fielding (2011), as well as a founder and editor of n+1 magazine.

Table of Contents


MFA vs NYC Chad Harbach


A Mini-Manifesto George Saunders

Basket Weaving 101 Maria Adelmann

The Pyramid Scheme Eric Bennett

The Fictional Future David Foster Wallace

My Parade Alexander Chee


How To Be Popular Melissa Flashman

Into the Woods Emily Gould

The Disappointment Business Jim Rutman

People Wear Khakis Lorin Stein with Astri von Arbin Ahlander

Nine Lives Jynne Martin

Money (2006) Keith Gessen

The Teaching Game

Money (2014) Keith Gessen

Seduce the Whole World Carla Blumenkranz

Application Diana Wagman

Two Views On The Program Era

The Invisible Vocation Elif Batuman

Dirty Little Secret Fredric Jameson

The Great Beyond

Reality Publishing Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

A Partial List of the Books I’ve Written Eli S. Evans

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