Cover Photo: Photo by Lucie Otto-Bruc / flickr
Photo by Lucie Otto-Bruc / flickr

Against Fame: On Publishing, Popularity, and Ambition

“The problem with fame is not its rarity; it’s that it is out of our control.”




None of this is real

Babette’s Feast

tried .

rich and famous


not good



How many people here have fantasized about getting a MacArthur “genius grant”?How many have pictured their books with little golden Pulitzer stickers on the cover?Who here has thought about what they might wear to the Oscars when their work gets adapted into a screenplay?

GreatThat’s great. Ambition is awesome. Now, go do your fuckin’ homework. Any questions?


better more

Manjula Martin is coauthor of Fruit Trees for Every Garden (Ten Speed Press, 2019). She is editor of the anthology Scratch: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living (Simon & Schuster, 2017), and she founded the online magazine of the same name. She has been the managing editor of Zoetrope: All-Story, the National Magazine Award–winning literary magazine published by Francis Ford Coppola, and an editorial contributor to Playboy. Her writing has appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, Vulture, The Toast, and The Awl, among others. She currently works as a freelance editor.