Aside: A Citizen’s Forum on Literary Particulars

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Aside: A Citizen’s Forum on Literary Particulars
April 6, 2013 2:00 pm
Members: Free | Nonmembers: $5 suggested donation
Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance
March 3, 2013
University of Southern Maine Glickman Family Library
314 Forest Avenue, Seventh Floor, Portland, ME, 04101, United States

A New Series from the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance
Sponsored by Coffee By Design
The MWPA’s premier event in its new forum series, Aside will feature Mark Chimsky, Tristram Coburn, and Celia Johnson (see bios) discussing the business of publishing and answering audience questions. MWPA assistant director Stephen E. Abbott will moderate the event.
This panel of publishing veterans will discuss a wide range of literary issues, including the state and future of traditional publishing, getting an agent, the rise of e-books, and the pros and cons of self-publishing, among many other topics. We expect the dialogue to be dynamic, freewheeling, and informative.
Attendees are encouraged to submit short questions in advance. Please make sure your questions are (1) related to writing and publishing, and (2) general enough that they will be relevant and interesting to everyone in the audience. Questions may be submitted via email to with the subject line “Aside.”
*Members: Please RSVP to


Mark Chimsky is editor-in-chief of the book division of Sellers Publishing. For eight years, he ran his own editorial-consulting business. Previously, he was executive editor and editorial director of Harper San Francisco and headed the paperback divisions at Little, Brown and Macmillan. In addition, he was on the faculty of New York University’s Center for Publishing and for three years, he served as the director of the book section of New York University’s Summer Publishing Institute. He has edited a number of bestselling books, including Johnny Cash’s memoir, Cash, and he has worked with such notable authors as Melody Beattie, Arthur Hertzberg, Beryl Bender Birch, and Robert Coles. His editorial achievements have been noted in Vanity Fair, The Nation, and Publishers Weekly. Chimsky is also an award-winning poet whose poetry and essays have appeared in JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association), Three Rivers Poetry Journal, Mississippi Review, and the PBS website, Next Avenue. He is also a regular contributor to the Huffington Post. For Sellers Publishing, Chimsky has developed and compiled the anthologies, Creating a Business You’ll Love, Creating a Meal You’ll Love, Creating a Marriage You’ll Love, and Creating a Life You’ll Love, which won the silver in ForeWord Review’s 2009 Book of the Year Awards in the self-help category. His most recent collection, 65 Things to Do When You Retire, was recently named by the Wall Street Journal as “[one] of the year’s best guides to later life.”
Tristram Coburn started his publishing career at the Nautical & Aviation Publishing Company of America in 1994. He then moved to Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster, where we worked with and edited such notable authors as Clive Cussler, Richard Marcinko, and Gayle Lynds, among many others. He also acquired the New York Times bestselling book The Day After Roswell by Col. Phil Corso and William Birnes. After almost five years in New York City, Tris moved back to the coast of Maine and worked for several years for McGraw-Hill’s International Marine imprint. Living in an ultra-creative community with numerous New York Times bestselling authors inspired him to start his own literary agency, which he did in 2006.
Celia Johnson began her publishing career as a book editor at Random House and Grand Central Publishing. She left editing to focus on writing and running Slice, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit organization that has been featured in Time Out New York, the New Yorker, and the New York Times. She has interviewed several bestselling and award-winning writers for Slice magazine ( Celia is also the editor of two poetry anthologies, 100 Great Poems for Girls and 100 Poems to Lift Your Spirits. Her latest book, Dancing with Mrs. Dalloway, offers stories about the inspiration behind great works of literature. She is currently working on another book about famous writers and their quirky writing techniques. Her next book, Odd Type Writers, will be released from Penguin in June.
About the Sponsor
Coffee By Design is an award-winning micro-roaster of fine coffees that operates four coffeehouses in southern Maine, including a recently added location inside the L.L. Bean Flagship Store in Freeport. Coffee By Design believes in exceptional coffee, environmental sustainability, and making a difference.