Whether it’s a nod that means “yes,” or a pointed finger that says, “over there,” we all likely express some form of nonverbal language in our day-to-day lives. But just how specific can we be with our body language? Think about how you communicate nonverbally to those around you. Are there certain gestures or facial expressions that only certain friends or family members understand? In a personal essay, reflect on when you use these actions and behaviors, where you learned them, and how they differ culturally and within particular social circles.
“There’s a spot over Lake Superior where migrating butterflies veer sharply. No one understood why they made such a quick turn at that specific place until a geologist finally made the connection: a mountain rose out of the water at that exact location thousands of years ago,” writes Aimee Nezhukumatathil about a natural phenomenon that caused a reaction in an excerpt from her forthcoming memoir, World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments (Milkweed Editions, 2020), which appears in a Q&A by Ross Gay in the September/October issue of Poets & Writers Magazine. “Maybe that is the loneliest kind of memory: to be forever altered by an invisible kiss, a reminder of something long gone and crumbled.” What belief, family story, or past event do you feel inexplicably tethered to? Write an essay that draws the connection between your physical reality and the unseen forces behind it.
The deadline is approaching for the inaugural Gotham Manuscript-to-Market Fellowships, presented by the Gotham Writers Workshop. Designed to support “people of color who have completed a book manuscript (or nonfiction book proposal) and are ready to go to market with their book,” the fellowships will be awarded to three writers each year. The winning writers will receive admittance to the Gotham Writers Conference, a seat at a pitching roundtable with two agents, a Gotham course on publishing, a one-on-one agent evaluation session, and a query letter coaching session. Each year at least one fellowship will be awarded to a Black applicant.
Using only the online submission system, submit the first ten pages of a fiction or nonfiction manuscript or a nonfiction book proposal and the project’s query letter by September 8. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for complete guidelines.
The Gotham Writers’ Workshop was founded in 1993 by New York City writers Jeff Fligelman and David Grae as a home for writing courses. In the years since, the workshop has expanded into online courses, published a series of books on the craft of writing, held events across New York City, and, most recently, debuted the Gotham Writers Conference in 2019. This year’s conference will be held online from October 16 to October 18; winning fellows may choose to attend this year or in 2021.
“If this story was a stack of photographs—the old kind, rounded at the corners and kept in albums under the glass and lace doilies of center tables in parlors across the country—it would start with Vivek’s father, Chika. The first print would be of him riding a bus to the village to visit his mother,” writes Akwaeke Emezi at the start of their second novel, The Death of Vivek Oji, out this month from Riverhead Books. Taking inspiration from this novel’s introduction, think of a transformative time from your past or an incident that resulted in a change in perspective, one that involved family or friends. If you were to tell the story of this experience as a stack of photographs, what images spring to mind? Write a personal essay that begins with descriptions of a few memorable photos—or mental snapshots you’ve retained—allowing the details in the images to provide a contextual background.
Residencies of one week to two months are offered to poets, fiction writers, creative nonfiction writers, and translators from late March through early June and from early September through early November at Omi International Arts Center, situated on 300 acres in the Hudson River Valley town of Ghent, New York. Approximately ten writers can be accommodated during each session. The residencies include private lodging, meals, and opportunities to meet with New York City publishing professionals.
Art Omi Writers Residency, 1405 County Route 22, Ghent, NY 12075. (518) 392-4747. (212) 206-6027. D. W. Gibson, Contact.