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January 31st, 2014

Thanks for stopping by.

I wear many hats. Here are some of them:

I am the founding Editor-In-Chief of Belt magazine and publisher of Rust Belt Chic Press.

I am writing The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting  (Bloomsbury USA, Fall 2014)

I have published articles in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Wired and many other publications. I have appeared on NPR’s Weekend Edition, The Diane Rehm Show, Talk of the Nation and elsewhere. My book  A Skeptic’s Guide To Writers’ Houses, has been hailed as “a remarkable book: part travelogue, part rant, part memoir, part literary analysis and urban history.” The Wall Street Journal called it “relentlessly witty.”

I am Writer-In-Residence at Oberlin College, an elected member  of the board of the National Book Critics Circle and founder of The Thinking Writer,

I live in Cleveland, Ohio and am the charmed mother of a very funny teenager.

You can reach me at


How To Pitch And Submit: New Course for December9 comments

October 9th, 2013

How To Pitch And Submit –December 2-13
(as of 11/4 there are 3 spots remaining)

find out about other upcoming classes here

This online course focuses on developing, pitching and submitting articles, op-eds and essays.  The course was designed by Anne Trubek, and is being guest-taught this fall by Virginia C McGuire. While the course is open to anyone, the impetus behind it is to help improve the gender disparity in bylines (see VIDA) and to help academics and grad students reach wider audiences. The course has also helped many established freelancers challenge themselves as writers and break into new markets, including The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, The, The Wall Street Journal,, Guernica, Mental Floss, Tablet, The Awl and elsewhere. We include 4 q & as with editors about pitching, submitting, and the freelance/editor relationship as well.

There are no set meeting times. Material will be posted on a private blog, and you can read, comment and post when it is convenient for you.

What We Will Do:

–post daily. Topics include sample pitches that sold, editorial back-and-forths on queries and op-eds, researching markets, how to find ideas, advice on how to make and manage money and more.

–offer you individual feedback on pitches and ideas that you post to the blog.

–share with you a database of publications, including editor contact information, pay rates and comments from those who have worked with the publication.

–conduct a Q&A with Choire Sicha of The Awl: you will be able to ask him questions. We will also hare with you Q&As we have done in previous courses with editors from, The Chronicle of Higher Education and The New Republic on how best to pitch them.

–create a community between all the participants to encourage discussion, provide feedback on each other’s work and foster horizontal loyalty.

–invite you to a private FB group for “alums” of this course where we exchange editor information, ask for help with drafts, complain and brag.

–invite you to a private Google group where alums of this course will continue getting those pitches out the door in a regular pitching challenge, held the first week of every month.

What You Will Do:

–To get the most out of the course, you will share your work with the group. Show us your pitches-in-progress, tell us about your ideas for op-eds and ask us questions. We also recommend that you set yourself a goal for the course, such as sending out two new pitches or finishing some of the half-baked pitches in your drafts folder. However, none of the above is required. You are welcome to lurk.

–Comment on what others post. (or lurk)

Who You Should Be:

–Someone who has some experience writing, be it academic or journalistic or blogging.  However, there are no barriers to entry, no prerequisites. All are welcome.

–Someone who is able to participate in a wordpress-hosted private blog. (Requires a wordpress account, which is easily set up, and free, before the course begins)

Go here to read even more comments.

Who Are We:

A professor of writing at Oberlin College, Anne Trubek started freelancing in 2005. Since then, she have successfully sold pitches to The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Wired, The Washington Post, The, O, The Oprah Magazine and numerous other publications. She is the author of A Skeptic’s Guide To Writers’ Houses, the publisher and co-editor of Rust Belt Chic and is currently writing a book on handwriting for Bloomsbury.

Virginia C McGuire began writing for pay in 2005, and has been freelancing in earnest since 2007. She is a regular contributor to the New York Times,, and, and she has also had bylines in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Smart Planet, The Awl, Robb Report Singapore, and a wide variety of trade magazines. She’s currently shopping a book about urban gardening to publishers.

What It Costs:

$150 is the full price, but we’re offering a special group discount this month. Get at least two of your friends to do the course with you, and all of you will get a 15% discount.

Please send payment via PayPal to If you prefer to send a check, please email for address.



Belt!No comments yet

September 12th, 2013

Very excited to announce the launch of Belt magazine, a new magazine for Cleveland and the Rust Belt. We started with Rust Belt Chic: The Cleveland Anthology, launched a Kickstarter campaign in May, and launched on September 9.

Take a look. Tell your friends. And consider helping us become sustainable by becoming a member. 



What To Do When Your Work Is Cribbed & Misattributed?2 comments

July 10th, 2013

update: this morning my inbox contained very satisfactory responses from both Time and Mobiledia on this issue, and updates to both sites as well.  

Earlier this afternoon Google Alerts alerted me to this article.

The piece cribs from an article of mine (compare “ handwriting has been around for just 6,000 of humanity’s some 200,000 years” with “Handwriting has only been around for about 6,000 of humanity’s some 200,000 years.”).

It also liberally quotes from my article, but never cites it. The author uses “says,” which indicates to readers she interviewed me. She writes:

“Most of us know, but often forget, that handwriting is not natural,” said Anne Trubek, a writing professor at Oberlin College. “It’s not like seeing or talking, which are innate.”

That line is a quote from the Miller-McCune (now Pacific Standard) piece, as are all the other quotes. That piece is never cited.

The first thing I did  in response was post a comment on Time’s website, at about 4:00 pm. The comment showed up on my screen, with my avatar, and when I checked back it said “30 minutes ago” and had “like” and “share” links by it. But about 10 minutes ago I realized the comment hadn’t been published.  Apparently it is still awaiting moderation? I saw no indication of that. I posted it again at 6:00. (people are telling me it’s a cookie thing–why it looks posted to me but is not) 

In the meantime, back around 4 pm,  I looked around the TIme website and googled to find the editor’s email address. I couldn’t find one,  but I did find his twitter feed, as well as that of the author of the piece. I tweeted to both of them. Haven’t heard back.

I also posted a comment on the site this piece originally appeared at, here. That comment hasn’t shown up yet either. I sent an email to the generic “have a comment?” link on Mobiledia as well. And I let someone at Pacific Standard know.

So: what more should I to do to alert people that my work has been wrongly attributed and downright cribbed? I am sure I could do more. But I resent, really really resent, the time this has taken up already. So I’m taking to my blog.


A New Job, A Kickstarter, Some Critiquing and Peonies1 comment

May 21st, 2013

As I intimated in this article, I recently resigned one position at Oberlin and accepted another: starting in September I will be Writer-In-Residence.

In the meantime, I am running a Kickstarter campaign to launch a Cleveland-based online magazine.  Check it out; support it if you can.

And when spring was newer I wrote some reviews of the latest books by Alesander Hemon, Gail Godwin and Clare Messud.

Over in the book writing file, my chapter on graphology is getting longer. I can now tell whether or not you are a liar by how you form your “o” loops.

Out front, the peonies are just about to burst open. In back, the roses are about a week away, and the baby bok choy is growing up.