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Apr 24, 2013, 9:52 PM

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Poets & Writers E-Newsletter
 
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READINGS/WORKSHOPS PRESENTS  

SPRING 2013
 
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New Fiscal Year, New Funding Available
Our new fiscal year begins July 1, and we welcome applications for events taking place on or after that date from organizations based in New York, California, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, New Orleans, Seattle, Tucson, or Washington, D.C.

Questions? Contact Cathy Linh Che in New York at cche@pw.org or Jamie FitzGerald in California at jfitzgerald@pw.org.
Celebrate California's Winning Writers
Every three years since 2003, Poets & Writers has sponsored the California Writers Exchange (WEX) contest. The program introduces emerging poets and fiction writers from California to the New York literary community and provides them with a network for professional advancement.

Now that this year's California WEX winners have returned from their NYC trip, we're celebrating a little closer to home. 2013 winners Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo and Laura Joyce Davis will join previous winners Elaine Beale, Sean Bernard, Larry Colker, and Allison Benis White in reading from their work. Join us for this public reading and party on May 25, 2013, 4 p.m. at The Last Bookstore, 453 S. Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013.
Alaska Writers Exchange Winners Announced
This year's Maureen Egen Writers Exchange contest was open to Alaskan poets and fiction writers. We are proud to announce that Bryan Fiero from Anchorage and Jill Osier from Fairbanks are this year's winners. Judges were Ann Napolitano for fiction and Afaa Michael Weaver for poetry. The winners will take an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City in October to meet with literary professionals and give a reading. Congratulations to this year's winning writers from those of us in the lower forty-eight!
Technical Assistance: Writing a Strong Bio
Writer bios can prompt envy, amusement...or boredom when readers encounter them on event programs. Below are a few tips to make yours stand out:
  • Make the bio fit the event. If you're reading with ten other writers, this is not the time to submit a five-hundred-word bio. If the event sponsor asks for something specific, make sure to deliver. For example, if the sponsor requests a bio listing publications and featured performances, a passionate paragraph about your childhood love affair with poetry doesn't fit the bill.
  • Be specific. List what you've written, where it's been published, and where you've been featured.
  • But be concise. Don't list everything you've written and every publication your work has appeared in, unless that list is very short. Readers' eyes will glaze over if they see a large block of text comprised entirely of the names of literary journals, no matter how prestigious they are. Choose a few to highlight.
  • Be descriptive. "Kelly Jensen received a grant from the ABC Foundation" is not as interesting as "Kelly Jensen received a grant from the ABC Foundation to complete an interdisciplinary project about Olympic knitters."
  • Mix it up. Although bios are inherently a bit braggy, the most interesting include one or two facts about the writer's non-literary life-where you grew up, previous jobs, experiences that informed your work. This is especially true for emerging writers. Take the opportunity to let your readers get to know you better, whether you live on an alpaca farm or are a champion fly fisher.
  • But be careful of quirk. Some writers can pull off the "anti-bio," which pokes fun at the convention ("Myriam Gurba came out of her mom's uterus..." begins one writer's bio), but too much quirk can come off as cutesy or even disrespectful, depending on the context. Be true to your own voice. There's nothing wrong with simple and straightforward.
  • Give shout-outs. If your bio will be online, link to the websites of the publications, presses, or residencies you mention. Those institutions will appreciate the publicity, and readers will be able to learn more.
From the Readings & Workshops Blog: All I Can Say is Thank You
California Writers Exchange Award Winners"It has all felt unreal, and every once in awhile I have a little giggle to myself and think, I can't believe this is happening." So wrote Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, one of the winners of this year's California Writers Exchange Award. She and fellow-winner Laura Joyce Davis each blogged about the excitement of their trip and the insights they gained. Read all about it in the Readings & Workshops Blog.
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The Readings/Workshops program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, and the New York City Department of Cult
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r support for Readings/Workshops in California is provided by The James Irvine Foundation.
          
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Additional support is provided by the Louis & Anne Abrons Foundation, the Axe-Houghton Foundation, the A.K. Starr Charitable Trust, and

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