Prof. Denning Interviews Bestselling Biographer Deirdre Bair

Pace Professor and WNBA-NYC President, Jane Denning, Interviews Bestselling Biographer and MS In Publishing Advisory Board member, Deirdre Bair

Read the full interview here.

Deirdre Bair is the critically acclaimed author of five award winning biographies. She received the National Book Award for Samuel Beckett: A Biography and her biography of Simone de Beauvoir was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was chosen by The New York Times as one of the “Best Books of the Year.” Her biography of Anais Nin was also chosen by The New York Times as one of the “Best Books of the Year.” Ms. Bair’s biography of C.J. Jung won the Gradiva Award from the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis and was also a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.  


Bair’s biography of Saul Steinberg, published by Nan A. Talese at Doubleday, on November 20th, has met with outstanding reviews. Publisher’s Weekly states, “The pre-eminent New Yorker cartoonist leads a life worthy of his own ironic art in this scintillating biography… Bair’s long and amply researched biography unfolds in a graceful prose that’s stocked with absurdist scenes and colorful characters… Her breezy writing works subtly and slyly to unearth psychological depths beneath that amusing surface of the Steinbergian picaresque.”


In this interview, Ms.Bair, a member of the NYC chapter of the WNBA shares some of her stories and insights on writing about Saul Steinberg and her other subjects, and tells us a little bit about what she is working on next.

Literary Agency Internship with Mendel Media Group


 The Mendel Media Group is a literary agency in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. Its proprietor, Scott Mendel, is a former academic and magazine editor who became a literary agent in the 1990s.  The agency’s clientele includes both fiction and nonfiction writers, among them professional journalists, diplomats and senior academics writing for the broadest possible trade readership, and author-experts writing prescriptive books.  We also represent some companies and institutions—the National Football League and Reason magazine are among our clients, for example.

The agency seeks smart, detail-oriented and creative people interested in learning about the work of a literary agency and about the book publishing industry generally. The semester-long internship is flexible enough to accommodate a student’s classroom or part-time work schedule. Ideally, interns are in the office two days each week for fourteen weeks.


Duties include:

(1) reading and evaluating unsolicited inquiries from writers seeking representation, (2) reading and editing drafts of book proposals and manuscripts under development by clients

(3) some filing and mailing duties

(4) occasional errands related to the work of the office (to the post office, etc), and (5) other light clerical work.


Interns will:

(1) learn to evaluate pitches and queries

(2) improve their editorial skills

(3) practice thinking about literary material like people who work on the business end of the publishing industry—by, for example, learning to judge the long-term commercial value of a particular project’s subsidiary rights.

Additional information about the agency is available at:  The internship is unpaid, but most interns with Scott Mendel have arranged for academic credit through their colleges, and some have gone on to paid positions at various trade and academic publishing jobs.

Please email your cover letter and resume or c.v., all in the body of an email (not as an attachment), to Prof. Jane Kinney-Denning at

Quote of the Week


They [Newsweek] have become experts in igniting the media conversation, and any time you get that going, people will pick up the magazines for the right or wrong reasons.”

-Samir Husni, The Magazine Innovation Center at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi.  Mr. Husni is also known as “Mr. Magazine.”