Dan Sinykin in conversation with Nick Sturm - Big Fiction

Dan Sinykin in conversation with Nick Sturm - Big Fiction

Saturday, Oct 21, 2023 3:00 PM

A Cappella Books
208 Haralson Avenue, NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30307

"This is the book we've all been waiting for. Now more than ever, it's important to grasp how the books that come to shape our imaginations and our understanding of the world are made. Sinykin's elegant prose and careful analysis pull the curtain back, allowing us new perspectives on bookmaking, selling, and promoting. It turns out that everything we thought we knew is a big fiction."—Dana A. Williams, Howard University

A Cappella Books is delighted to welcome Emory professor and author Dan Sinykin to discuss his new book, "Big Fiction: How Conglomeration Changed the Publishing Industry and American Literature." The author will appear in conversation with Nick Sturm, Lecturer in English at Georgia State University and Visiting Faculty in Creative Writing at Emory University.

This event is free and open to the public, and copies of "Big Fiction" will be available for purchase.

About the Book

In the late 1950s, Random House editor Jason Epstein would talk jazz with Ralph Ellison or chat with Andy Warhol while pouring drinks in his office. By the 1970s, editors were poring over profit-and-loss statements. The electronics company RCA bought Random House in 1965, and then other large corporations purchased other formerly independent publishers. As multinational conglomerates consolidated the industry, the business of literature—and literature itself—transformed.

Dan Sinykin explores how changes in the publishing industry have affected fiction, literary form, and what it means to be an author. Giving an inside look at the industry's daily routines, personal dramas, and institutional crises, he reveals how conglomeration has shaped what kinds of books and writers are published. Sinykin examines four different sectors of the publishing industry: mass-market books by brand-name authors like Danielle Steel; trade publishers that encouraged genre elements in literary fiction; nonprofits such as Graywolf that aspired to protect literature from market pressures; and the distinctive niche of employee-owned W. W. Norton. He emphasizes how women and people of color navigated shifts in publishing, arguing that writers such as Toni Morrison allegorized their experiences in their fiction.

"Big Fiction" features dazzling readings of a vast range of novelists—including E. L. Doctorow, Judith Krantz, Renata Adler, Stephen King, Joan Didion, Cormac McCarthy, Chuck Palahniuk, Patrick O'Brian, and Walter Mosley—as well as vivid portraits of industry figures. Written in gripping and lively prose, this deeply original book recasts the past six decades of American fiction.

About the Author

Dan Sinykin is an assistant professor of English at Emory University with a courtesy appointment in quantitative theory and methods. He is the author of "American Literature and the Long Downturn: Neoliberal Apocalypse" (2020). His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Rumpus, Dissent, and other publications.

About the Conversation Partner

Nick Sturm is a Lecturer in English at Georgia State University and Visiting Faculty in Creative Writing at Emory University. He is editor of "Early Works by Alice Notley" (Fonograf Editions, 2023) and co-editor of "Get the Money!: Collected Prose, 1961-1983 by Ted Berrigan" (City Lights, 2022). More information about his work can be found at nicksturm.com.