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Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

Advice from Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins

Maxwell Perkins discovered, edited, and nurtured some of America’s greatest 20th century novelists: Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Tom Wolfe, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Erskine Caldwell, and Ring Lardner, to name but a few. He gave editorial advice, he stroked their egos, he lent them money, and he knew how to get their best writing on the page.


july 3, 2009

“Writing a novel is a very hard thing to do because it covers so long a space of time, and if you get discouraged it is not a bad sign, but a good one. If you think you are not doing it well, you are thinking the way real novelists do. I never knew one who did not feel greatly discouraged at times, and some get desperate, and I have always found that to be a good symptom.”

– Letter from Maxwell Perkins to Nancy Hale, circa 1932

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