Spring 2019

Past Events

April 16, 2019


Lenfest Center of the Arts
KOB Screening Room
615 W. 129 Street


April 16th, 2019 6:00 pm - & 8:00 pm -


In this roundtable discussion, writers, editors, and agents of diverse backgrounds discussed best practices for navigating the publishing industry. They’ll talk about the aesthetic, qualitative, and ethical considerations involved in writing and publishing work by and about traditionally marginalized identities, challenging tokenization, the current publishing landscape, best practices when negotiating compensation, handling feedback that “washes” the work to make it more salable to a “broader” audience, publication paths, missteps, accepting setback and rejection, building an audience, and more. This roundtable seeked to inform students of diverse backgrounds about the literary industry awaiting them.


Victory Matsui is an editor at One World, an imprint of Random House, where they work with novelists and creative nonfiction writers, including Thi Bui, K Ming Chang, Anelise Chen, Cathy Park Hong, Mira Jacob, Riva Lehrer, Kevin Nguyen, Torrey Peters, Jordy Rosenberg, Maurice Carlos Ruffin, and Shubhangi Swarup. Before joining One World, they worked at Poets & Writers Magazine; BookCourt bookstore; Little, Brown & Company; and as a freelance editor. Victory is a Zen student at the Brooklyn Zen Center and a native New Yorker.


Monica Odom is an agent at Liza Dawson Associates, where she represents a variety of nonfiction, literary and upmarket fiction, and illustrators. Monica earned her Masters in Publishing: Digital & Print Media from New York University in 2014, and has a B.A. in English from Montclair State University. She was also schooled in bookselling and event coordinating at her local indie, Watchung Booksellers. She loves to see a personal project turn into something original and surprising, and is committed to the expansion of diversity and inclusivity in the publishing industry.


Nicole Counts is an associate editor at One World, an imprint of Random House, where she works with Fatimah Asghar, Morgan Parker, Kali Fajardo-Anstine, Donovan X. Ramsey, Victor LaValle, among others. She started her career in marketing and publicity at PublicAffairs and Nation Books where she worked with Haroon Ullah, Mychal Denzel Smith, Ryan Berg, Lisa Shannon, and more. She is a freelance writer and documentary filmmaker, as well as a facilitator and mentor with Girls Write Now, a mentor with Representation Matters Mentorship Program, and a member of POC in publishing. A Jersey native and Philly lover, she lives in Brooklyn. 


Deborah Paredez is a poet and interdisciplinary performance scholar whose lectures and publications examine Black and Latina/o popular culture, poetry of war and witness, feminist elegy, cultural memory, and the role of divas in American culture. She is the author of the poetry collection, This Side of Skin(Wings Press 2002) and the award-winning critical study, Selenidad: Selena, Latinos, and the Performance of Memory (Duke 2009). She also serves as co-editor of the CantoMundo Poetry Series, a national organization dedicated to Latina/o poets and poetry, published by the University of Arkansas Press. 


Erroll McDonald Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Center for Fiction, a trustee of PEN America and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations—is a Vice President and Executive Editor in the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group of Penguin Random House. He has edited and published, among other writers: James Baldwin, Romare Bearden, Harold Bloom, Italo Calvino, Sandra Cisneros, Stanley Crouch, Friedrich Durenmatt, Marjorie Garber, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Michael R. Gordon, Alan Hollinghurst, Kazuo Ishiguro, Margo Jefferson, Randall Kennedy, Klaus Kinski, Laila Lalami, Fran Lebowitz, Arthur Levitt, Wangari Matthai , Toni Morrison, Albert Murray, Bao Nihn, Ngugi wa Thiongo, and more. McDonald graduated from Yale College summa cum laude with an A.B. in English with Honors, studied comparative literature at the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School. He has been a lecturer at Yale and an adjunct professor at Columbia. Born in Costa Rica of Jamaican heritage and raised in Brooklyn, he lives in New York City and Goshen, Connecticut.


Doors open at 5:30PM for Columbia University students and at 5:45PM for the general public. Tickets are not required to attend.


This is co-hosted by Our Word, Columbia Journal, and Quarto. This event is sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Arts Council.