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From Manuscript to Marketplace: Temple Folk

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As a case study of the path to publication, From Manuscript to Marketplace offers candid talks between an author and members of their publishing team. In this event co-produced with the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, author Aaliyah Bilal discusses her forthcoming book of short stories, Temple Folk, with her agent Eric Simonoff (partner at WME) and acquiring editor Yahdon Israel (senior editor at Simon & Schuster).

The book deal began through social media and the manuscript quickly turned into a highly anticipated debut work of fiction. The trio will discuss the practicalities of how agents and editors find and acquire manuscripts and what authors should know about navigating the querying process today.

Temple Folk (Simon & Schuster) will release on July 4, 2023. This From Manuscript to Marketplace discussion will focus on acquisition, editorial, and the pre-publication process.


Aaliyah Bilal writes fiction and nonfiction. A graduate of Oberlin College and the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, her work has appeared in The Rumpus and The Michigan Quarterly Review. Temple Folk is her first collection of short stories.

Yahdon Israel is a senior editor at Simon & Schuster and founder of Literaryswag, a cultural movement that intersects literature and fashion to make books accessible. He has written for The New Inquiry, LitHub, Poets & Writers, Vanity Fair, and The Atlantic. He teaches Creative Writing at the MFA Program at City College, and hosts the Literaryswag Book Club, a Brooklyn-based subscription service and book club that meets every last Wednesday of the month.

Eric Simonoff is a literary agent and partner at WME. His clients include Yaa Gyasi, Jhumpa Lahiri, Edward P. Jones, Jonathan Lethem, Phil Klay, ZZ Packer, Megha Majumdar, Sam Lipsyte, Stacy Schiff, Buzz Bissinger, Daniel Alarcon, Jean Kyoung Frazier, Roger Reeves, Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child, Qian Julie Wang, Vikram Chandra, and The New Yorker magazine, among others.  He serves on the board of trustees of Poets & Writers Organization and is the recipient of the Center for Fiction Medal for Editorial Excellence.

Lily Philpott (moderator) is the Director of Programs & Partnerships at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop. She has many years of experience curating literary programs in New York City, including at PEN America, the Guggenheim Museum, and the New York Public Library. She is a member of the Brooklyn Book Festival’s International Literature Committee and The Starlings Collective of BIPOC adoptee writers and artists, as well as a candidate for an MFA in Fiction at the Institute of American Indian Arts.

Special Thanks to Our Supporters and Partner Organizations

Special thanks to Asian American Writers’ Workshop for collaborating with the Authors Guild Foundation on this panel.

With support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Penguin Random House, and our donors, the Authors Guild Foundation is pleased to make Business Bootcamps for Writers free and open to the public.

Several writers organizations have partnered with the Authors Guild Foundation to help shape these programs. Our deepest appreciation to these organizations.