Benjamin Samuel

Benjamin Samuel - Editor

New York, NY, USA

With roots in the indie publishing industry, I'm passionate about helping new and innovative fiction writers share their stories.

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Overview

I've worked in the publishing world for over a decade, and I've had the opportunity to explore all sides of the industry. I began at Electric Literature, a start-up that developed the first literary magazine for the iPhone—this was revolutionary in 2009! While finishing my MFA at Brooklyn College, I co-founded and edited Electric Literature's "Recommended Reading," a weekly fiction magazine that published work from best-selling and acclaimed authors, including Dani Shapiro, Ramona Ausubel, Kristopher Jansma, Etgar Keret, Carson Mell, and Seth Fried (whose first novel was a 2019 Book of the Month Club selection). I've also worked for the National Book Foundation and served on committees for the Brooklyn Book Festival and Scholastic Arts & Letters. More recently, I was the Managing Editor of Restless Books, a publisher of translated literature, where I edited novels from all over the world, including Cuban science-fiction icon Yoss' "Condomnauts," which received a starred review from "Publishers Weekly."

I'm an adaptive and supportive editor for novelists and short story writers, and I'm committed to helping authors realize their literary visions. I'm particularly excited by new voices. But whether you're a first-time or an experienced author, I'll work with you to refine your writing and achieve your goals.

Languages
English (US)
Fiction
Literary Fiction
Short Story

Awards

  • Innovations in Reading Prize

Work experience

Lecturer, Faculty Associate

Columbia University
January, 2019 – Present (11 months)

Consultant

Archipelago Books
October, 2018 – Present (about 1 year)

Managing Editor

Restless Books
August, 2017 – August, 2018 (about 1 year)

Project management, editing, communications, and fundraising for an independent publisher devoted to championing essential voices from around the world. Evaluated and edited novels, including Cuban science fiction, surreal Serbian war literature, French historical fiction, and young adult Icelandic climate fiction.

Editor

Electric Literature
August, 2009 – May, 2014 (over 4 years)

Editing, partnership development, and social media marketing for a publisher committed to keeping literature a part of popular culture.

Co-Founder of Recommended Reading, a weekly digital literary magazine, which was fully funded on Kickstarter within 48 hours.

Managed social media including @ElectricLit, an "Essential Literary Twitter Feed" (Brooklyn Magazine) with over 172,000 followers, and increased Facebook from 8,000 to 80,000 fans.

Ran website and oversaw a team of editors and dozens of freelance writers and columnists.

Established partnerships with major and independent publishers.

Produced publicity and marketing campaigns, as well as paid campaigns for advertisers.

Portfolio (10 selected works)

Supernova (Electric Literature's Recommended Reading Book 73)

Dani Shapiro

What fascinating about Dani Shapiro's story "Supernova" is "its focus on the minor catastrophe that is Shenkman, a relatively prosperous man whose minor shortcomings feel, to him alone, monumental and impossible to overlook," writes Benjamin Samuel, Co-Editor of Electric Literature, in his introduction to this issue of Recommended Reading."Despite rowing everyday, obsessively racing against an... read more

What fascinating about Dani Shapiro's story "Supernova" is "its focus on the minor catastrophe that is Shenkman, a relatively prosperous man whose minor shortcomings feel, to him alone, monumental and impossible to overlook," writes Benjamin Samuel, Co-Editor of Electric Literature, in his introduction to this issue of Recommended Reading."Despite rowing everyday, obsessively racing against an... read more

"Human Events": Fragments from a novel (Electric Literature's Recommended Reading Book 89)

Stephen O'Connor

"Full disclosure, this story could be classified as historical fiction," writes Benjamin Samuel, Co-Editor of Electric Literature, in his introduction to this issue of Recommended Reading. "Yes, Human Events focuses on the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, but a story is always more than its characters. And if you're the type to reflexively turn away from genre simply be... read more

"Full disclosure, this story could be classified as historical fiction," writes Benjamin Samuel, Co-Editor of Electric Literature, in his introduction to this issue of Recommended Reading. "Yes, Human Events focuses on the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, but a story is always more than its characters. And if you're the type to reflexively turn away from genre simply be... read more

The Adventure of the Space Traveler (Electric Literature's Recommended Reading Book 2)

Seth Fried

"While repairing a communications dish outside the space station Triumph I, Arnold Barington inadvertently fired his rivet gun into a tank of pressurized gas. In the resulting explosion, Barington was thrown out like a dart into the vacuum of space at roughly five thousand feet per second. His heavy spacesuit withstood the force of the blast, and so he found himself, in a strictly immediate se... read more

"While repairing a communications dish outside the space station Triumph I, Arnold Barington inadvertently fired his rivet gun into a tank of pressurized gas. In the resulting explosion, Barington was thrown out like a dart into the vacuum of space at roughly five thousand feet per second. His heavy spacesuit withstood the force of the blast, and so he found himself, in a strictly immediate se... read more

Checkpoint

David Albahari

From the award-winning Serbian author David Albahari comes a devastating and Kafkaesque war fable about an army unit sent to guard a military checkpoint with no idea where they are or who the enemy might be.Atop a hill, deep in the forest, an army unit is assigned to a checkpoint. The commander doesn’t know where they are, what border they’re protecting, or why. Their map is useless and the ra... read more

From the award-winning Serbian author David Albahari comes a devastating and Kafkaesque war fable about an army unit sent to guard a military checkpoint with no idea where they are or who the enemy might be.Atop a hill, deep in the forest, an army unit is assigned to a checkpoint. The commander doesn’t know where they are, what border they’re protecting, or why. Their map is useless and the ra... read more

Condomnauts

Yoss

“Yoss (Super Extra Grande) is an eminent Cuban SF writer who also fronts a heavy metal band; his iconoclastic spirit and rock-and-roll aesthetic are on full ingenious display in this daring, rollicking, and joyous novel…. This extended dirty joke is also an impressive science fiction novel with much to say about sex, culture, and what it means to be alien.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred ReviewIn... read more

“Yoss (Super Extra Grande) is an eminent Cuban SF writer who also fronts a heavy metal band; his iconoclastic spirit and rock-and-roll aesthetic are on full ingenious display in this daring, rollicking, and joyous novel…. This extended dirty joke is also an impressive science fiction novel with much to say about sex, culture, and what it means to be alien.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred ReviewIn... read more

The Boy

Marcus Malte

Winner of the prestigious Prix Femina, The Boy is an expansive and entrancing historical novel that follows a nearly feral child from the French countryside as he joins society and plunges into the torrid events of the first half of the 20th century.The boy does not speak. The boy has no name. The boy, raised half-wild in the forests of southern France, sets out alone into the wilderness and t... read more

Winner of the prestigious Prix Femina, The Boy is an expansive and entrancing historical novel that follows a nearly feral child from the French countryside as he joins society and plunges into the torrid events of the first half of the 20th century.The boy does not speak. The boy has no name. The boy, raised half-wild in the forests of southern France, sets out alone into the wilderness and t... read more

The Casket of Time

Andri Snær Magnason

“A rose can rest in the casket for a thousand years without fading. An egg can remain there for centuries without going bad. A person could lie there for a hundred years, a thousand years, ten thousand years, completely protected from time."What happens when the world starts to fall apart, and no one will take responsibility for mending it? Sigrun’s family, along with everyone else, finds refu... read more

“A rose can rest in the casket for a thousand years without fading. An egg can remain there for centuries without going bad. A person could lie there for a hundred years, a thousand years, ten thousand years, completely protected from time."What happens when the world starts to fall apart, and no one will take responsibility for mending it? Sigrun’s family, along with everyone else, finds refu... read more

Saguaro

Carson Mell

Saguaro chronicles the life of rock legend Bobby Bird as he finds himself rolled up in barbiturates, at sea with satanic cults, finding true love, selling out, and coming back. Bobby Bird’s unique voice—and fistfights with Bob Dylan—place him irrevocably in America’s cultural and musical history.VICE Magazine says, “[Bobby Bird] has lived enough lives and wild times for a couple Willie Nelsons... read more

Saguaro chronicles the life of rock legend Bobby Bird as he finds himself rolled up in barbiturates, at sea with satanic cults, finding true love, selling out, and coming back. Bobby Bird’s unique voice—and fistfights with Bob Dylan—place him irrevocably in America’s cultural and musical history.VICE Magazine says, “[Bobby Bird] has lived enough lives and wild times for a couple Willie Nelsons... read more

Todd (Electric Literature's Recommended Reading Book 12)

Etgar Keret

Do not let Etgar Keret deceive you. The Israeli writer who's worked in film, illustration, animation, and radio, is a storyteller in all senses of the word. Like a conman, he'll promise you a simple story and then the next thing you know your emotional reserves have been completely emptied. It's a literary bait and switch, and he'll get you every time.Here, in “Todd,” a story that also challen... read more

Do not let Etgar Keret deceive you. The Israeli writer who's worked in film, illustration, animation, and radio, is a storyteller in all senses of the word. Like a conman, he'll promise you a simple story and then the next thing you know your emotional reserves have been completely emptied. It's a literary bait and switch, and he'll get you every time.Here, in “Todd,” a story that also challen... read more

Rontel

Sam Pink

Sam Pink’s Rontel, the first novel from innovative publisher Electric Literature, is a love letter to Chicago that's full of unrequited affection, brimming with contempt and admiration, gratitude and spite. Subversive and shamelessly honest, Rontel is Knut Hamsun's Hunger for the millennial generation, and deserves a place among the great works of loner fiction next to Céline, Fante, Camus, an... read more

Sam Pink’s Rontel, the first novel from innovative publisher Electric Literature, is a love letter to Chicago that's full of unrequited affection, brimming with contempt and admiration, gratitude and spite. Subversive and shamelessly honest, Rontel is Knut Hamsun's Hunger for the millennial generation, and deserves a place among the great works of loner fiction next to Céline, Fante, Camus, an... read more

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