Latest News: Posts Tagged ‘the deep end’

“How a COVID-era Federal Writers Project went from wild idea to a proposed bill” — THE DEEP END featured in the Los Angeles Times

Friday, May 7th, 2021

“Jason Boog can tell you firsthand about the struggles of writers in the 21st century. During the 2008 recession, he lost his job when the publication he worked for, Judicial Reports, shut down. For freelance writing gigs, he used the New York University library as his office, and when he wasn’t writing, he was reading.

Intrigued by the challenges of his forebears in unemploymentBoog began pitching pieces about writers during the Great Depression. Twelve years later (by which point he was the West Coast correspondent for Publishers Weekly), he collected them into his own book, published last year: “The Deep End: The Literary Scene in the Great Depression and Today.

Reading about the Depression during the Great Recession had given Boog hope amid profound stress and uncertainty. He’d even entertained the idea of federal intervention to help thousands of writers who, like him, had been laid off from steady jobs.

Help didn’t come in 2008, but then came the pandemic — truly a once-in-a-lifetime cataclysm. It felt to him like a possible sea change. But the long wait and the lessons of history have also made him realistic. “The sad and hard lesson that I learned from the Great Depression is that it takes a long time to recover from this,” Boog said, “and it takes a long time to make meaningful changes…

Writers will struggle for years to come, Boog said, “but if we follow the example of the 1930s and stay in the streets and we keep mobilizing, raising our voices, asking for support, and making sure people recognize that writers and creative people are suffering during this time too and need help — once that happens, then maybe we can see some change.”

Read the full article here.

UPCOMING EVENT: “Do We Need a Cultural New Deal?” — THE DEEP END author Jason Boog in conversation with Tess Taylor, David Kipen, Chiyuma Elliott, and Matthew-Lee Erlbach for Politics and Prose on 03/18/21

Friday, March 12th, 2021

“Panelists will discuss the legacy of the New Deal and their hopes for a New New Deal, with questions like: Can the literary and arts community muster a similar sense of solidarity in the 21st Century? What new forms might a cultural new deal take now? How could we create a more just and inclusive project for artists in the 21st century?”

Register here.

“What Would a 21st-Century Federal Writers Project Look Like?” — THE DEEP END excerpt published on Full Stop

Thursday, February 4th, 2021

This piece was originally published in Full Stop Reviews Supplement #6.

Read the excerpt here.

“The enduring lessons of a New Deal writers project” — THE DEEP END author Jason Boog interviewed for the Columbia Journalism Review

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020

Boog notes that the original project came about as a result of writers forming unions and marching alongside other working-class interests; in 1935, writers’ groups picketed repeatedly in New York, carrying placards with slogans like “Children Need Books. Writers Need A Break. We Demand Projects.”

Read the full article here.

“Jason Boog on the Great Depression, journalism, and different perspectives in history” — THE DEEP END author writes for Why is this interesting?

Monday, September 21st, 2020
Depression-era America, not unlike COVID-era America, was a terrifying time for writers, artists, and other creatives with already-precarious finances. One magazine captured their sentiment and situation precisely. That magazine was New Masses.

Read the article here.

“[An] excellent survey of past and present literary lives” — THE DEEP END reviewed by CounterPunch

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020
In The Deep End: The Literary Scene in the Great Depression and Today (OR Books, 2020), the journalist Jason Boog writes about the plight of writers in the United States since the stock market crash of 2008 and compares their challenges to those of poets, novelists, and journalists in the 1930s.

Read the full review here.

“A must-read for contemporary writers interested in radical change” — THE DEEP END reviewed by Morning Star

Thursday, August 20th, 2020
[Jason] Boog makes excellent use of historical analogy to demonstrate that contemporary writers are heading into an “economic vacuum” of the same order as the Great Depression… A refreshingly honest, and incisively well-informed literary history.

Read the full review here.

“What Would a 21st-Century Federal Writers Project Look Like?” — THE DEEP END excerpt published in Full Stop

Wednesday, August 5th, 2020
Jason Boog asks, What can we learn from labor organizing of writers during the Great Depression?

Read the excerpt (with subscription) here.

“Once Upon a Time, When America Paid Its Writers” — THE DEEP END author Jason Boog interviewed for Lit Hub

Wednesday, July 29th, 2020
Jason Boog on the struggle to find security and creativity in the same life.

Read the interview here.

“Why We Need Muriel Rukeyser Now” — THE DEEP END author Jason Boog writes for the Jewish Book Council’s PB Daily

Tuesday, July 7th, 2020
Rukeyser’s gen­er­a­tion endured a dizzy­ing series of cat­a­stro­phes; as soon as one had end­ed, anoth­er would appear with sting­ing sud­den­ness. Now, her work can help us to under­stand our own tur­bu­lent times, and the reshap­ing of our future from these colos­sal events.

Read the full article here.

“To Survive This Era, Writers Must Rejoin The Working Class” — THE DEEP END author Jason Boog interviewed by HuffPost

Thursday, June 18th, 2020
Jason Boog, author of “The Deep End,” sees a template for writers and publishing workers today in the political activism of Great Depression writers.

Read the full interview here.

“A passionate homage to forgotten writers who speak to our own times.” — THE DEEP END reviewed in Kirkus Reviews

Monday, May 25th, 2020

Read the full review here.

THE DEEP END author Jason Boog interviewed on WBAI Arts Express

Wednesday, May 13th, 2020

Listen to the interview here.

“An eerily timely new book” — THE DEEP END featured in the Los Angeles Times

Thursday, May 7th, 2020

85 years ago, FDR saved American writers. Could it ever happen again?
by David Kipen

There is one living writer whose evangelical belief in the lasting lessons of the FWP beggars even my own. Jason Boog, the L.A. correspondent for Publishers Weekly, will soon publish an eerily timely new book, “The Deep End: The Literary Scene in the Great Depression and Today.”

“The American Guides,” he says, “captured all sorts of cultural works that we could have forgotten: dance steps in Harlem, the early efforts of union organizers in Hollywood and the locations of Hooverville tent cities around Manhattan. As we go through our own crisis … I think a FWP in the 21st century could raise up the voices of people most directly affected by this disaster.”

Read the full article here.

“How Did Writers Survive the First Great Depression?” — THE DEEP END excerpt published in Lit Hub

Monday, April 20th, 2020

Jason Boog Looks Back to Figure Out How to Go Forward

When the stock market crashed in 2008, the offices closed at the legal publication where I worked. I lost my benefits, my office space, and my security, all in a single meeting. I holed up in the New York University Bobst Library for a couple of weeks as a freelance writer, scribbling reports and watching my health insurance expire. I was a single speck in a national catastrophe for writers.According to the Department of Labor, the printing and traditional publishing sector shed well over 134,000 jobs during the Great Recession. This was part of a much larger set of losses as digital technology disrupted traditional publishing. Between 1998 and 2013, the book publishing industry lost 21,000 jobs, periodical publishing cut 56,000 jobs, and the newspaper industry shed a staggering 217,000 jobs.

After my old job folded, I camped out on the seventh floor of the library, tucked away among the American Literature shelves. I started looking for clues on how writers survived the Great Depression. In the stacks, I found You Can’t Sleep Here, a novel written in 1932 by a 20-year-old Hungarian immigrant named Edward Newhouse. His book tells the story of a young newspaper reporter fired during the early days of the Great Depression who sleeps in a tent city along the East River and who showers in a bathroom at the New York Public Library.

The reporter paces up and down the side of Central Park at sunrise, hoping to get the first look at the want ads before thousands of other unemployed people. “I had to walk till 55th Street before one of the newsstand men would let me look into the want ads.” A quiet desperation permeated every line of Newhouse’s story. I couldn’t stop reading.

Read the full excerpt here.

“In 1933, at the lowest moment of the Great Depression, unemployment in the United States peaked at 24.9 percent, but […] we could see an unimaginable 32 percent unemployment rate as the singular disaster of 2020 unfolds.” — THE DEEP END author Jason Boog writes for Lit Hub

Monday, April 6th, 2020

Literary Echoes of the Last Great Depression

More than 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment this week. Like everything else we’ve experienced recently, it is impossible to express all the sadness and pain wrapped inside that unprecedented statistic. In 1933, at the lowest moment of the Great Depression, unemployment in the United States peaked at 24.9 percent, but economist Miguel Faria-e-Castro thinks we could see an unimaginable 32 percent unemployment rate as the singular disaster of 2020 unfolds.

Unprecedented. Unimaginable. I reach for those words so often these days that the meaning dissolves. No literary map exists for this territory we now inhabit, but I keep returning to the work of writers who survived the economic upheaval of the 1930s. This week, I reread The House on Jefferson Street, a memoir by Horace Gregory, an American poet and author who struggled to support a family during the Great Depression. “We made our way, and by strenuous efforts, paid the rent. ‘Free-lance’ writing, so it seemed, left little time free for anything else,” he wrote, describing a life we can all recognize in our gig-driven 21st century. I could especially relate to his “touch-and-go, up-and-down” lifestyle as a writer with two kids, both of us writing marketing copy alongside book review assignments.

When the stock market crashed in 1929, Gregory counted his dwindling funds—just like millions of families today. “We were never sure of what would happen tomorrow much less the day after next,” Gregory recalled in his memoir. “My own savings were non-existent. Our small balances in the bank were scarcely enough to sustain a checking account.” Like Gregory, I grew up in a middle-class white family in the Midwest—a privilege that provides some protection from the worst effects of economic collapse. Even though I’m very fortunate to have work right now, I feel the tightening pressure described in his book.

Read the full piece here.