Austin, Texas: Inspiration

The seventh Poets & Writers Live event was held on January 9, 2016, at the Blanton Museum of Art on the University of Texas campus in Austin. A wealth of prolific authors from the area and beyond—including Elizabeth McCracken, Ben Fountain, David Searcy, Naomi Shihab Nye, Benjamin Percy, Alex Lemon, Susan Schorn, Karan Mahajan, Ebony Stewart, and many more—joined agents, editors, and critics Saeed Jones, Scott Hoffman, Michael Schaub, and Jill Meyers, and the editors of Poets & Writers Magazine, for an inspiring day of readings, craft talks, and performances.

Poet and essayist Alex Lemon delivers a poetry craft talk on "Breaking or Entering: Titles & First Lines."

Texas author Ben Fountain, author of the award-winning novel Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and the story collection Brief Encounters With Che Guevara, talks about his inspirations and process on the Why We Write panel.

Award-winning novelist, short story writer, and comic book writer Benjamin Percy delivers a heart-stopping, pulse-pounding lecture on Writing with Urgency.

Poet Carrie Fountain leads the audience in a poetic experiment—creating a collective exquisite corpse.

David Searcy reads from his new essay collection, Shame and Wonder, published by Random House in January, as part of the Nonfiction Spotlight.

Three-time slam champion Ebony Stewart talks to participants after closing out the day with a poetry performance—and a standing ovation.

Author and illustrator Edward Carey answers questions from the audience about creative process and publishing.

Austin-based fiction writer Elizabeth McCracken, author most recently of the collection Thunderstruck and Other Stories, delivers the keynote address on creativity and inspiration.

Jill Meyers, the codirector of the Austin-based small press A Strange Object, offers her feedback on a participant's elevator pitch as part of the Perfect Pitch Panel.

Karan Mahajan, whose second novel, The Association of Small Bombs, is forthcoming from Viking in March, gives a craft talk on the tragicomic impulse in fiction.

Poets & Writers editor in chief Kevin Larimer gets into character as participants deliver their elevator pitches.

Kirk Lynn, a novelist and the artistic director of Rude Mechs theater collective, leads the audience in a prayer of inspiration.

Austin fiction writer Lara Prescott talks with other writers at the literary mixer.

Texas writer and teacher Darius Frasure stops for a smile between mingling at the Literary Mixer.

Matthew Gavin Frank reads from his newest book, The Mad Feast: An Ecstatic Tour Through America's Food, which was published by Liveright in November, as part of the Nonfiction Spotlight.

As part of the Perfect Pitch Panel, book critic Michael Schaub offers his input on one partcipant's elevator pitch.

Naomi Shihab Nye, the author of thirty-five books of poetry, prose, and works for young readers, leads a conversation with fellow poets and authors about Why We Write.

Participant Jan Rider Newman receives feedback on her novel pitch during the Perfect Pitch Panel.

Editor Jill Meyers and agent Scott Hoffman offer feedback on Dallas writer Leah Tieger's elevator pitch.

Editor Jill Meyers and agent Scott Hoffman offer feedback to writer Amy Rutten on her elevator pitch.

Nevada City writer Amy Rutten delivers an elevator pitch for her first novel as part of the Perfect Pitch Panel.

An audience member poses a question for one of the day's panelists.

An audience member asks a question about publishing during the Advice Bites panel.

A writer surveys the scene at the Literary Mixer.

Two writers share thoughts from the day and a glass of wine at the Literary Mixer.

Poets & Writers Magazine editorial assistant Caroline Davidson and one of the day's helpers, Alex Layman, serve wine for partipants at the Literary Mixer.

Poet and BuzzFeed executive culture editor Saeed Jones talks inspiration and process during the Why We Write panel.

Agent Scott Hoffman, a founding partner of Folio Literary Management, offers his publishing advice for writers during the Advice Bites panel.

Poets & Writers Magazine editorial assistant Caroline Davidson and assistant editor Dana Isokawa at the Literary Mixer.

Creative nonfiction writer Susan Schorn delivers a craft talk on "Finding Magnetic North: Revising and Shaping Your Creative Nonfiction."