Saturday, January 31, 2009

Richard Jackson

After a glowing introduction by Lin Oliver (talking about his 46 years of publishing experience), Richard Jackson started his keynote address with:

Are we all crazy?

He talks about the days of pulling writers from the slush pile. He's happy, he said, to be retired from publishing, but not being retired from literature. (He's still shepherding books.)

His mentor Susan Hirschman, he says, hoped to publish books that would last. And there are quite a number of them. He quotes Ken Kesey in the New York Times: The worst thing a writer can do is write what you know, because what you know is boring.

Richard said to prepare for the afternoon, he read through two years worth of emails for a book he's worked on, Moonshot, by Brian Floca, talking about all he learned in the process of putting working on this nonfiction project. (After 46 years, he's still learning from his authors.)

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