We are excited to introduce our Featured Client, essayist and memoir author Yarrott Benz! Yarrott has a particular talent for transforming his memories of growing up in the 1960s and ’70s American South into gripping and emotional pieces of prose. By looking at relationships between people from his childhood and beyond, he examines the causes of prejudice and other human inclinations. His individual essays and scenes from his memoir, The Bone Bridge: A Brother’s Memoir, strike a deeply personal chord as they pick apart the nature of our connections with other people. Yarrott’s work has been the subject of articles in The New York Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer and has appeared in Gulf Stream, The Montreal Review, and Diverse Voices Quarterly. (Click to watch his short video.)
In Yarrott Benz’s Own Words
All writers find out that it’s one thing to write a book and something else entirely to sell it.
In order to write my book The Bone Bridge: A Brother’s Memoir, I took time off from teaching in New York City and moved to New Mexico, where the relative quiet was conducive to introspection. After eleven months, I had accomplished what I had set out to do: I breathed words into the mouths of my family members, now gone, in order to tell our story. When I finished, I thought the most difficult part of the project, surely, must be over.
That was several years ago.
I am told that my book is a good one and that it is even an important one, but because of its subject matter, it will be very difficult to sell. Searching on one’s own for an agent can feel like an endless undertaking. Now that I am working with Writer’s Relief, I feel new momentum and certainty that I am finally moving in the right direction. Meg, Christine, and others have helped me organize my approach by tightening my presentation and aiming for the most appropriate agents. In addition, at their suggestion, I successfully published three pieces of the book in literary journals as stand-alone stories, so I am more convinced than ever that this book will be published.
The great staff members at Writer’s Relief are sensitive readers, experienced organizers, and enthusiastic voices, offering smart advice and encouragement when one needs to hear it most.
About Yarrott Benz
Yarrott Benz has been a visual artist for several decades, and articles about his work have appeared in The New York Times, New York Magazine, and The Philadelphia Inquirer, among other publications, and he has been interviewed on National Public Radio’s Fresh Air, Radiotelevisione Italiana, and ARD German Public Radio. Most recently, his stories have appeared in Gulf Stream, The Montreal Review, and Diverse Voices Quarterly. He lives in Los Angeles, where he teaches at Sierra Canyon School.