On November 12, 2013, The Los Angeles Review of Books will publish an excerpt from Diving for Pearls in its online journal. The day I received this news, I was so excited I read the email at least a dozen times. I have my editor, Louise Bernikow, to thank for encouraging me to find a journal that would publish a part of the book to generate advance interest. But the story of how I wound up in the LARB is interesting, and, obliquely, ties back to my book’s exploration of Arendt’s circle of friends. Hannah Arendt published in some of the leading New York literary journals, including the New York Review of Books, a journal I read for many years. When Elżbieta Ettinger’s book about Arendt’s affair with Martin Heidegger was published, articles about it appeared in the NYRB. So it surprised me that the NYRB never reviewed Deborah Lipstadt’s more recently published, and, in my view, equally controversial book, The Eichmann Trial, which came out in 2011. I was critical of Lipstadt’s perspective on Arendt, and took a leap, writing to Robert Silvers, the long-time publisher of NYRB, who also knew Arendt, asking why Lipstadt’s book hadn’t been reviewed in his magazine.
I was surprised when he wrote back asking if I had anything on Arendt I wanted him to read. I sent him a section of the book, and didn’t hear anything back. I let the matter drop and went back to my writing.
But while I was in the final stages of editing my manuscript I thought I might try some advance publicity and wrote to Silvers again, sending him an excerpt from Diving for Pearls. The excerpt was about Arendt’s female friendships and, in my email to Silvers, I suggested it might interest folks who had seen the new film by Margarethe von Trotta about Arendt, which included the first celluloid representation of Arendt’s friendship with Mary McCarthy. To my surprise again, Silvers replied, saying I have “many fresh things” to say about Arendt in my essay, which he hoped would be published. But they wouldn’t run it because they already had commissioned a piece on the von Trotta film from someone else, and would be doing another one on Arendt “for the while.” But he recommended some other places to send it, none of which worked because of their deadlines.
Then I remembered the Los Angeles Review of Books and thought that maybe my own New York bias hadn’t brought that new journal to mind before. And when I read the piece in The New Republic about editor Tom Lutz’s vision for the LARB compared with the NYRB, I felt a door might be opening.
So I sent a query to LARB and I got an email back in a couple of days saying they’d love to have it! A few weeks later, I received the edited version, along with a slated publication date: November 12. Moral of the story: keep sending your work out!
Besides being excited that my book would receive some advance press, having the publication date for my essay spurred me to finish all the pre-production details and ready the book for release by November 12.
I’ve spent the last two week since returning from a trip to the USA—where the government shutdown cancelled a meeting I was supposed to have with the NEH about my upcoming summer seminar on Arendt—preparing the manuscript. Today I readied it for uploading. The only thing left to do is upload the cover design, which Jeanette Vieira, my designer, is working on, and review the eProof that Ingram Spark will send me.
Then, the book will be available for sale. Once I get the green light from Ingram, it should be available for order from your local bookseller, or from Amazon or B&N. It will be available in print and eBook format and you can check Thinking Women Books, my publishing website, or email me through this website, for updates.
Thanks for your interest!