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Hank Willis Thomas, 'Raise Up,' 2014. Bronze, 112.2 X 9.84". (Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, NY.)

The Price of Black Ambition

I have come to realize how much I have, throughout my life, bought into the narrative of this alluring myth of personal responsibility and excellence. I realize how much I believe that all good things will come if I—if we—just work hard enough. This attitude leaves me always relentless, always working hard enough and then harder still.

A page from Beethoven’s Concerto No. 5 for piano, pulled from the stack that sits atop the Baer family Steinway grand.

Sound + Vision

For some of us concerned about the fate of sheet music, Song Reader also served as a litmus test of sorts: How many music fans (at least among the sample Beck attracts) still read, or know someone who reads, Western music notation, notes and chords placed on a five-line staff with clefs, rests, and time signatures?

Illustration by John Ritter

The Writer’s Dilemma

In October 2012, VQR gathered innovative thinkers in the publishing industry to talk about where, exactly, this business might be headed. We delved into the risks and rewards of digital journalism, the tension between Internet giants and scrappy start-ups, and the opportunities at hand in a volatile industry. 

The Past Is Not Even Past

In this issue, we have called upon innovative thinkers to write about where literature is headed as a field and business. We wanted essays that were well reasoned, however speculative in nature. We wanted them to be aggressive, even edgy, yet fair and defendable not just on their merits but their facts. Toward that end, we open with a thought-provoking lead essay by Richard Nash.

Seventy-Two Hours on the Future of Publishing (Day 2)

October 11, 2013

VQR’s web editor, Jane Friedman, is at Frankfurt Book Fair this week participating in a seventy-two-hour project to write a book on the future of publishing. Read her earlier post on Day 1, as well as Is Self-Publishing the Most Importa [...]

Across the Transom

August 1, 2013

Since my appointment as editor of VQR, I’ve frequently been asked about the direction I plan to take the magazine. The question comes from both writers and readers, with writers wondering if VQR will be a welcoming home for their work and readers hoping they will continue to find compelling stories in our pages.

Illustration by John Ritter

What Is the Business of Literature?

Most other accounts of the contemporary business of literature are autobiographical, hagiographic, or histories of literature, avoiding the business and economics of it all. So why study a business that is sui generis, that isn’t even really a business—that, like America, is exceptional?