Bonnie Jo Campbell and Making A Writer’s Path
21 October 2009
You gotta love a Cinderella story. Bonnie Jo Campbell‘s American Salvage is the only National Book Award finalist this year from a small press; Wayne State Press did an initial print run of 1,500. To me, that speaks of how weird and confusing is the publishing world right now.
And Campbell’s story is much more complicated, really, than Cinderella’s. Her first story collection, Women and Other Animals (what a title!), was published by University of Massachusetts Press, then the paperback was released by Simon & Schuster. Her second book, the novel Q Road, was published by Scribner (an imprint of S&S), and was named a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers book. Her editor for Q Road was Sarah McGrath, a well-known editor, now at Penguin/Riverhead, who has worked with such authors as Khaled Hosseini, Chang-rae Lee, Kate Walbert, Meg Wolitzer, and Maile Maloy.
One wonders how American Salvage landed at Wayne State Press with a 1,500 print run. I’m sure there’s an interview out there that I haven’t yet discovered that gets into this. It’s unclear if she has an agent. I’m looking forward to learning more about Campbell and reading her work; check our her Web site, which definitely gives a sense of her “I Gotta Be Me” personality.