Let’s do this! Help requested for Donald Westlake nonfiction collection.

Under an English Heaven

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From Levi Stahl, Our Man at the University of Chicago Press:

…I’ve just signed a contract with the University of Chicago Press (my employer when I’m wearing my publicist’s hat) to edit a volume of Donald Westlake’s nonfiction–a celebratory miscellany, sort of like the wonderful Charles Portis volume that was published last year.

The plans are still at a very early stage, but what we’re envisioning is a volume that would bring together the best of Westlake’s nonfiction, including reviews, essays on favorite writers, magazine pieces, occasional writings, and more. In addition, it would likely include a couple of the most interesting interviews he sat for over the years; a piece or two by prominent fans, friends, and critics about Westlake and his work; and possibly even letters and e-mails. The goal is to give Westlake’s large and ever-growing fanbase insight into how his inquisitive, inventive, alert mind worked over questions of genre, form, talent, and more–helping us to see the man behind the books we’ve all loved for so many years.

I’m already making great use of a small cadre of Parker-fan advisers who have helped me through the years as Chicago has republished that series, but I also could use help from the fan community at large: if you know of any Westlake nonfiction pieces that you even suspect I may not have heard of–anything that’s all obscure, or old, or forgotten–I’d love it if you’d drop me a note or leave a comment below. I’ll be doing some digging in libraries and archives, so I hope I’ll be able to find plenty of good material in addition to what I already have, but I also am well aware that the crime fiction community is incredibly knowledgeable, and I would be grateful for any tips or thoughts folks are willing to share.

I’ve already made a few suggestions. Do you have any? Yes? No? Either way, go here. Read the whole thing. Maybe it will give you some (or more) ideas.

PS: Apologies for the lack of content lately. I’ll be back at some point, I promise! Having a nine-to-five again, in addition to some other fortunate but time-consuming things going on in my life, has severely limited the time I can dedicate to the site. But we’re not going anywhere.


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