Michael Taeckens has twenty-seven years’ experience in the publishing industry. His clients have been awarded and shortlisted for leading national and international literary prizes, and have been featured regularly in national media, including eight of his projects on the cover of the New York Times Book Review (Abraham Verghese‘s The Covenant of Water, Sarah M. Broom‘s The Yellow House, Namwali Serpell‘s The Old Drift, Luis Alberto Urrea‘s The House of Broken Angels, Tom Perrotta‘s Mrs. Fletcher, Lidia Yuknavitch‘s The Book of Joan, Jordy Rosenberg‘s Confessions of the Fox, and Belle Boggs‘s The Art of Waiting). New York Times bestsellers he’s worked on include Abraham Verghese‘s The Covenant of Water (over 1 million copies sold), Luis Alberto Urrea‘s Good Night, Irene, Clint Smith‘s #1 bestseller How the Word Is Passed (included in Obama’s favorite books of 2021 list; project in conjunction with his Broadside PR partner Whitney Peeling), Anthony Veasna So‘s Afterparties, Natasha Trethewey‘s Memorial Drive (included in Obama’s favorite books of 2020 list), Sarah M. Broom‘s The Yellow House (included in Obama’s favorite books of 2019 list), Gabriela Garcia‘s Of Women and Salt, Janice P. Nimura‘s The Doctors Blackwell (in conjunction with Whitney Peeling), Leslie Jamison’s The Recovering and The Empathy Exams, Tom Perrotta‘s Mrs. Fletcher, Mary-Louise Parker‘s Dear Mr. You, Adam Grant‘s #1 bestseller Originals (in conjunction with Whitney Peeling), Tim Johnston‘s Descent, and Vikram Chandra‘s Geek Sublime (see below for more New York Times bestsellers).
In addition to Pulitzer Prize winner and Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey and Sarah M. Broom—whose The Yellow House won the National Book Award for Nonfiction and the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Award—his current and recent clients include: Abraham Verghese, author of the instant New York Times and National Indie bestseller The Covenant of Water, an Oprah Book Club selection; Poet Laureate, MacArthur Fellow, and National Book Critics Circle Award winner Ada Limón; Jonathan Escoffery, finalist for the 2023 Booker Prize, PEN/Faulkner Award, and NBCC John Leonard Award; Claire Messud, recipient of the Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters and a two-time finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award; Namwali Serpell, winner of the Windham-Campbell Prize, Caine Prize for African Writing, Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and Arthur C. Clarke Award, whose The Furrows was on Obama’s favorite books of 2022 list; Pulitzer Prize winner Ayad Akhtar, whose Homeland Elegies won a 2021 American Book Award and landed on Obama’s favorite books of 2020 list; NBCC finalist and The Atlantic and TIME contributing writer Nicole Chung; Pulitzer Prize finalist, National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, and American Academy of Arts & Letters Award winner Luis Alberto Urrea; Lambda Literary Award winner and Aspen Words Literary Prize finalist Nicole Dennis-Benn; New York Times and National Indie bestseller and PEN Award finalist Leslie Jamison; MacArthur Fellow and National Book Critics Circle Award winner Maggie Nelson; New Yorker poetry editor and National Museum of African American History and Culture director Kevin Young; Janice P. Nimura, a 2022 Pulitzer Prize finalist in Biography and New York Times bestseller; Tom Perrotta, author of multiple New York Times bestsellers and writer/show runner for the TV adaptations of his novels Mrs. Fletcher and The Leftovers; The Story Prize winner and twice-nominated National Book Award author Elizabeth McCracken; National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award winner Mark Doty; and The Whiting Foundation, which distributes the $50,000 Whiting Awards to ten emerging literary writers and the $40,000 Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grants to six-to-eight nonfiction writers annually.
Michael was the longtime Publicity Director at Algonquin Books, where he executed the publicity campaigns for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie‘s debut novel, Purple Hibiscus; Pulitzer Prize finalist Laila Lalami‘s first two novels, Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits and Secret Son; and numerous New York Times bestsellers, including Sara Gruen’s international bestseller Water for Elephants (over 6 million copies sold). He created the “Algonquin Book Club” series, pairing well-known writers (Stephen King, Edwidge Danticat, and Judy Blume among them) with Algonquin authors for live events/live webcasts; “Booksellers Rock,” monthly interviews with prominent independent booksellers; and the “Algonquin Talks” series, wherein he interviewed editors/producers for NPR’s Fresh Air, Today, the New York Times Book Review, USA Today, O: The Oprah Magazine, the Washington Post, and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Michael also worked as the Marketing Director at Graywolf Press, where he oversaw Graywolf’s dynamic publicity team; launched Graywolf’s new website; revamped Graywolf’s logo, catalogs, and galley design; and worked closely with independent booksellers, landing multiple Graywolf Press books on the ABA’s Indie Next list.
Michael writes the “Reviewers & Critics” column for Poets & Writers magazine; book reviewers he’s interviewed for the series include the New York Times’ Dwight Garner; Bad Feminist and Hunger author Roxane Gay; the Washington Post‘s Ron Charles; the Chicago Tribune‘s Jennifer Day; BuzzFeed‘s Isaac Fitzgerald; freelance critic Michael Schaub; prestigious poetry critic Steph Burt; Slate‘s Laura Miller; New York Times’ Parul Sehgal; GQ‘s Kevin Nguyen; O, The Oprah Magazine‘s Leigh Haber; Laila Lalami of The Nation and the Los Angeles Times; Wall Street Journal critic Sam Sacks; Laurie Hertzel of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune; Fresh Air critic Maureen Corrigan; New York Review of Books editor-at-large, Daniel Mendelsohn; Pulitzer Prize-winning book critic at the Washington Post, Carlos Lozada; freelance literary critic Bethanne Patrick; Maris Kreizman, host of The Maris Review; The Believer reviews editor Ismail Muhammad; New York Times daily critic Jennifer Szalai; freelance critic Walton Muyumba; and Boston Globe books editor Kate Tuttle.
In addition to being interviewed for the Esquire article “What’s the Future of Books?” and the Poets & Writers article “The Art of Publicity: How Indie Publicists Work with Writers,” he has spoken about marketing and publicity widely, including at Book Expo America, Poets & Writers Live, Creative Capital, Story Summit, Grub Street, the Decatur Book Festival, and multiple colleges.
Before launching his publishing career, Michael received his MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. In May 2015 he co-founded Broadside PR with his esteemed colleagues, Kimberly Burns and Whitney Peeling. Please visit Broadside PR for more information.