March/April 2020

Our annual Writers Retreats Issue features a survey of writing residencies at national parks; poet Natalie Diaz in conversation with author Jacqueline Woodson; profiles of novelist Emily St. John Mandel and debut poet Monica Sok; Bethanne Patrick on the life of a literary critic; a look at the changing role of book publicists; life lessons learned at author readings; writing prompts; contest deadlines; and more.


Energy: A Q&A With Natalie Diaz

by Jacqueline Woodson
Print Only

“We are alive because of story. It is one of our ancestors’ most powerful technologies. And we are all storytellers.” Poet Natalie Diaz talks with Jacqueline Woodson about storytelling, truth, and her second book, Postcolonial Love Poem.

Force of Will: A Profile of Emily St. John Mandel

by Michael Bourne
Print Only

The story of how Emily St. John Mandel followed up her best-selling book Station Eleven with her new novel, The Glass Hotel, holds valuable lessons for writers about hard work and persistence.

Special Section

You Get Your Own Island: Exploring Wilderness Residencies at National Parks Across the Country

by Rachel Riederer
Print Only

A look at residency opportunities with the National Parks Arts Foundation and the National Park Service, through which writers can work in secluded spots such as a private island in the Florida Keys or Alaska’s Denali National Park. 

Seeds of Change: What a Summer Writers Conference Can (and Cannot) Do for You

by Katrina Vandenberg
Print Only

The author, a seasoned conference attendee, considers the writing conference experience—famous writers, networking, workshops, and more—and how it can enrich your writing practice.

News and Trends

The Practical Writer

First: Monica Sok’s A Nail the Evening Hangs On

by Rigoberto González
Print Only

The author meets poet Monica Sok in Oakland to discuss her debut collection, which takes an unflinching look at the Cambodian genocide in the 1970s. 

The Literary Life

The Time Is Now: Writing Prompts and Exercises

by Staff
Print Only

Write a poem that captures a moment in the rain, a story that involves scent and memory, and an essay that traces minor feelings to larger sociocultural or historic forces.