An interview with editor Gary Fisketjon ’76.

Slushpile: Knopf, like most of the major publishers, no longer accepts unsolicited, un-agented submissions. Do you ever fear that you might be missing some great new writer with this policy?

Fisketjon: Not true. We get scores, possibly hundreds, of them every week and log countless hours considering them – not, perhaps, to the satisfaction of those submitting them, but surely to my satisfaction, and surely more than any baseball-minded fool would get if he were to walk up to Yankee Stadium or Fenway Park and demand a try-out. Aspiring writers always tell me that agents are less accommodating in this respect, but about that you’d have to ask an agent.

Who needs an agent when you can blog? More on Fisketjon here:

“Who says there are no great editors anymore,” asks Peter Carey in the acknowledgments to his new novel, a reference to Gary Fisketjon. Novelists Kent Haruf and Joy Williams, also guests at this year’s conference call Gary ‘editor,’ as have Raymond Carver, Jay McInerny, Bill Morrissey, and Tobias Wolff from previous UND conferences.

And here:

And now we come to the club master, Gary Fisketjon, who knew and encouraged them all, this band of renegade writers who, one after another, found fellowships, publishers, and universities that welcomed them.

I know little about him accept he chain-smokes unfiltered Camels and is a vital and welcoming editor to the talented. He is about fifty and has been described as a cross between Maxwell Perkins and Steve McQueen.

Why not Fisketjon as Commencement speaker this coming fall, in connection with his 30th anniversary? He seems as accomplished as an editor as past Commencement speakers have been in their more visible fields.

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