The story begins “In the fall of 2010, Paul Martone, a Portland-based fiction writer, contacted his friend Erin Hoover, who was pursuing her poetry in Brooklyn…” No word follows as to whether Ms. Hoover cornered her elusive prey (though she did, and you can hear her), but a wonderful idea took root that fall–and now it has a sturdy trunk and foliage. Shortly after the conversation, Martone and Hoover launched Late Night Library, which has bloomed into three distinct podcasts covering the book world with an emphasis on supporting “talented writers early in their careers.” (There really can’t be too much support for this, as the disappearance of the midlist writer attests.) The creative team has even coined a felicitous-sounding award (with some excellent rhyming pedigree): the Debut-litzer! Open only to first-timers, of course.
This week features Ilan Stavans, a distinguished professor at Amherst and publisher of the highly regarded Restless Books, a “digital publisher for readers and writers in search of new destinations, experiences, and perspectives,” books that “reflect the restlessness of our multiform lives.” It’s a good fit for Late Night Library, whose podcasts reflect similar energy and exploration. The showrunners at Late Night Library ask astute questions about that fickle thing that is publishing. And they ask lots of smart people, too. The answers are, as ever, blowing in the wind–but here, at least, it’s a refreshing breeze.