30 Essential Literary Twitter Feeds

He would have been great at this.

  • He would have been great at this.
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If there’s one medium in this world that tugs at the heartstrings, educates, and quietly expands our inner lives in much the same way as thoughtfully crafted longform writing, it would be Twitter. At least, that seems like a fair assumption given the amount of time Brooklyn’s literary community (and the book world at large) seems to spend there.

And really, besides being a legitimately useful place for authors, publishers, booksellers, and their audiences to connect, it’s also just a pretty solid way to kill time (and an easier one to get away with than, say, dropping everything you’re doing to quietly blow 45 minutes reading a book at your desk while your boss looks on, angry and bewildered). As such, we took it upon ourselves to put together a selected crash course, presented in no particular order, of essential Twitter feeds to help you keep tabs of the local (or locally relevant) lit community, whether your interests lean towards readings, jokes about industry controversies, long reads, or creepy vintage book covers. If you can think of a more productive way to spend a work day, we’d very much like to hear it.

Melville House
If you’re trying to really immerse yourself in the world of literary Twitter (that seems like it might be a real, specific goal for some people?), it’s probably worth following just about every major publishing house out there, unless their feed consists solely of year-old links to their authors’ Goodreads pages. But if you had to pick just one, DUMBO-based Melville House’s feed is particularly great, and reads like it’s maintained by real, thinking humans.

Emma Straub
Ask anyone anything about how authors should, in an ideal world, be utilizing social media, and Emma Straub will likely be the first name to pass their lips. It would probably even be fair to call her the Tom Hanks of the book world, insofar as they are both notoriously nice people and unexpectedly delightful Twitter presences? Either way, whether she’s tweeting about baked goods, her new baby (congratulations, Emma!), writing habits, or work she loves from other local authors, Straub’s avatar is always one you’ll be happy to see popping up in your feed.

Housing Works Bookstore
Not technically a Brooklyn institution, sure, but the team at Housing Works consistently works overtime to champion a lot of our borough’s authors, and out of all the local lit events happening in a given week, theirs are usually guaranteed to be the most fun (the in-store bar doesn’t hurt here). Stay tuned for links to their podcast, the latest schedule for can’t-miss readings and events, and, of course, the best times to buy heavily discounted books.

Maris Kreizman
As the creator of Slaughterhouse 90210, a longtime denizen of the publishing industry, and a prolific host of local readings (including our own Literary Upstart competition), it’s not a huge surprise that Kreizman has a solid Twitter game. Expect equally useful updates about TV and local lit events you should know about.

Gigantic Magazine
Sure, following Gigantic means an easy way to keep tabs on the magazine, its contributors, its events, and links to other good work. But it’s also a means of staying up to date on their wonderfully macabre Tumblr, where perturbing art, author quotes, and book covers abound.

Alex Shephard
As one of the co-founders of Full Stop and part of the Melville House social media team, it is literally his job to spend the entire day finding weird, interesting lit-related things lurking on the internet. Expect to see lots of them.

Julia Fierro
As the founder of the much-loved Sackett Street Writers Workshop, Julia Fierro has already done more than her fair share of good for local writers. But she does one better on Twitter, with a refreshingly positive series of recommendations, both for events and anything good she happens to be reading. If you’re looking to do your part in supporting Brooklyn-based authors, hers is a good example to follow.

Benjamin Samuel
Electric Literature’s co-editor can be counted on for tweeting highlights from his own magazine, sure, but he’s also a pretty keen observer of industry news you may have missed, and just generally a source of refreshing honesty.

Emily Gould
One of the more brutally honest feeds out there (in a good way), and also a place for reliably sane perspective on whatever minor controversy people happen to be tweeting about on a given day.

Literary Rejections
A truly great resource for up and coming writers (they put out a constant stream of submission tips and opportunities), and also, with their cheery reminders that rejection is a pretty universal phenomenon, a major comfort to all of us.

Colson Whitehead
Yes, we make a lot of jokes about him abandoning Brooklyn for Manhattan, but, you know, it comes from a genuine place of love. Everyone’s still sad he left. And even without location-specific bias, Whitehead is one of the smartest, most consistently funny and self aware authors on Twitter. No small feat.

Kate Zambreno
The Heroines and Green Girl author can be counted on for interesting, vehement perspective on the lit world, the patriarchy, and the unfortunately significant overlap between the two.

Scott Waxman
By professional necessity, a lot of publishers and agents solely make appearances on Twitter when they have authors to promote. Which, of course, we won’t begrudge them, it’s part of their job. But that doesn’t mean people like Waxman Leavell co-founder Scott Waxman aren’t a welcome change of pace, and an excellent source of intelligently curated publishing news.

Mellow Pages Library
Again, if you’re going for a comprehensive overview, it really is worth following every local indepdent bookstore for updates on in-store events or opportune times to stalk (“friend court”) your preferred authors-slash-booksellers. For friendly updates and dark quotations from the books they have on hand, though, these guys are consistently the best.

Greenlight Bookstore
A beloved local institution, sure, but also a source of eclectic staff recommendations, cryptic literary quotes, and inspiration to get out of the house and go see some local readings.

Sadie Stein
As a Paris Review editor and Jezebel alum, it can be safely be said that Stein knows a thing or two about both quality writing and what makes for good entertainment on the internet. A potent combination.

The Coffin Factory
As one of the newer local literary magazines (they launched in late 2011 and currently have five issues under their belt), Coffin Factory’s sharp, straightforward approach to showcasing good writing has been a welcome new source of intelligent reading material. Same goes for their Twitter feed.

Michelle Legro
Lapham’s Quarterly editor, and also, a reliable source for entertaining Brooklyn and book-related marginalia.

Jacob Silverman
Another person whose job it is to be on the internet all day (his book for Harper about social media is due out in 2014). As such, expect lots of links to things you’ll actually stop what you’re doing to read.

Bookslut
Admittedly, for a list of locally relevant Twitter feeds, Bookslut’s Berlin-based editor Jessica Crispin is pretty far-flung. But physical proximity aside, her musings are relentlessly on-point, and anyway, a little distance is healthy sometimes.

Luna Park Review
Even if it’s an incredibly good problem to have, the ever-growing proliferation of worthy literary journals is sort of an embarrassment of riches, and it can be hard for even the most dedicated readers to keep up. Enter Pennsylvania-based Luna Park Review, a wonderfully comprehensive reminder of essays, interviews, and even submission opportunities we swear we were going to get to on our own, at some point.

Caleb Crain
The Necessary Errors author, academic, and longtime Brooklyn resident tends to put out a good mix of both local news and off-the-beaten-path lit material (like the terrifying book in the above example). More generally, he has the ideal Twitter vibe of “smart person who seems like they would also be nice to be friends with.” A delicate balance.

N+1
One of the better literary journal feeds out there, the N+1 team is reliable for genuinely entertaining in-office updates (a serious industry rarity), worthwhile long reads, and the occasional influx of cat-related material. In other words, exactly what you’d want from them.

Miles Klee
Both a published novelist and prolific internet writer (his regular gig is at Blackbook, where he’s currently looking to start his very own literary feud), Klee’s feed is a solid mix of stream-of-consciousness updates, literary news, and internet ephemera.

Ben Greenman
A staggering Twitter presence for the sheer volume alone (and, it should be said, a lot of genuinely useful links). But also, an inspiration to us all, given that he manages to tweet so much while still fulfilling his duties as a New Yorker editor and regularly publishing excellent books of his own. The logical takeaway here? We actually don’t need to cut down on time spent on Twitter. Perfect.

Teju Cole
Though Cole’s tweets aren’t particularly lit-specific and tend to veer more political, they’re often funny, always insightful, and his is one of the few feeds that seems to be followed by absolutely everyone. Not to be missed.

Lincoln Michel
Yes, it’s a safe bet that a co-editor for Gigantic and a prolific contributor to publications like the Believer and Tin House would be a worthwhile person to follow if you’re at all interested in writing, or Brooklyn, or both. But really, it seems like the above series of tweets should be impetus enough.

Jami Attenberg
It seems fair to say that the Middlesteins author (and Word bookstore staffer) comes from the Emma Straub school of using Twitter to nice and generally useful-to-everybody ends. Great for keeping tabs on worthwhile local readings, links to her excellent Tumblr posts, goings-on in Greenpoint’s most beloved bookstore, and pleasant, informative interactions with other local authors.

Electric Literature
Another particulraly well executed feed from a literary journal, Electric Lit is wonderfully reliable for tweeting great work other than their own, supporting local authors, and providing us all with solid mid-afternoon distraction material.

Jason Diamond
As the literary editor of Flavorwire and the founding editor of Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Diamond is nothing if not good at keeping his finger on the pulse of the local lit community at any given moment. If you’re ever wondering just what it is that everyone around you seems to be talking about, check in here.

Honorable Mention: Jonathan Franzen
Yeah, fine, we know Jonathan Franzen hates Twitter and thinks the rest of us are destructive, illiterate know-nothings for going anywhere near it. But isn’t that kind of trolling known to be the most singularly effective, attention-getting social media technique there is? So much so that you sort of wonder if this whole trumped-up controversy is just an elaborate, virtuosically executed publicity ruse? Whatever the intentions here, it’s pretty hard to deny that Franzen has a way of giving the people who pay attention to these things a lot of material to tweet about. One sort of shudders to think what we’d have to resort to if he ever stopped saying a bunch of crazy nonsense about things everyone else really likes. Best not to dwell on it.

 

Virginia K. Smith tweets semi-literate things @vksmith.

The 2013 Brooklyn Lit Supplement is presented by NYU

2 COMMENTS

  1. I just love seeing all these people whose livelihoods and self-worth spin on Twitter “respond” to Franzen. The world is not the Internet, all.

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