Not at Home

12.18.19

In anticipation of Zadie Smith’s first short story collection, Grand Union (Penguin Press, 2019), an interview with the author was published in September in Marie Claire. When asked about whether living in the United States and England affects her writing, Smith responded, “I think of myself as somebody not at home, I suppose. Not at home anywhere, not at home ever. But I think of that as a definition of a writer: somebody not at home, not comfortable in themselves in their supposed lives.” Write the opening line of a short story from the perspective of a character who is experiencing a feeling of not belonging. How do you convey this sentiment in one sentence? If this first sentence inspires more, continue on with the story.

Sonoma County Writers Camp

The 2020 Sonoma County Writers Camps will be held from April 29 to May 3, August 5 to August 9, and September 30 to October 4, at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center in Occidental, California. The conference features generative workshops in fiction and memoir, panels by authors and agents, and master classes, as well as optional meditative dream writing and student readings. The faculty includes fiction writer Ellen Sussman and fiction and nonfiction writer Elizabeth Stark. The cost of the conference, including lodging and meals, ranges from $1,795 to $1,995, depending on lodging.

Type: 
CONFERENCE
Ignore Event Date Field?: 
yes
Event Date: 
January 21, 2020
Rolling Admissions: 
ignore
Application Deadline: 
January 21, 2020
Financial Aid?: 
no
Financial Aid Application Deadline: 
January 21, 2020
Free Admission: 
no
Ellen Sussman
Cofounder and Codirector
Contact City: 
Occidental
Contact State: 
CA
Contact Zip / Postal Code: 
95471
Country: 
US
Add Image: 
Sonoma County Writers Camp buildings

Such a Fun Age

Caption: 

“I hope that people can take away that these racial biases, these class biases, exist harmoniously within really kind gestures and authentic love for someone.” In this video, Kiley Reid talks about the characters in her debut novel, Such a Fun Age (Putnam, 2019), which is featured in Page One in the January/February issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

Genre: 

Dormant Danger

12.11.19

In the December 2019 issue of National Geographic magazine, photographer Corey Arnold writes about an expedition last winter to change the batteries in the radio collar of a black bear in Utah’s Bryce Canyon National Park that he assumed would be hibernating. The bear turned out to be awake, which made the adventure more adventurous than expected. Write a short story in which your main character is operating under the assumption that an upcoming activity will be safe, but at a crucial moment discovers that danger is lurking. How do you ramp up the sense of anxiety and tension? Does your protagonist respond calmly or with panic when confronted with a sudden terror?

Poison Pen Reading Series

The Poison Pen Reading Series holds events in a bar called the Poison Girl Cocktail Lounge. The series has been going for twelve years, just a little longer than Houston VIP Slam (which I featured last week), but functions in a very different way. The series brings three writers together who read on the outside patio of the lounge. Audience members get to relax in a space under the stars and listen to literary works from writers from Houston and beyond.

The readings are usually hosted by Scott Repass, one of the owners of the lounge, and start at 8:00 PM on every third Thursday of the month. The featured readers vary for each event, but most times, audience members will get the opportunity to hear from at least one writer from the University of Houston Creative Writing Program, a writer from the Houston literary community, and a visiting writer from outside of Houston. Writers share work from all genres including poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.

I have been to many Poison Pen readings and have had the pleasure of being a featured reader, the last time was this past July when I was honored to share the stage with poet Natasha Carrizosa and fiction writer Robert Liddell. The readings are always jam-packed, standing room only in most cases, so if you plan to attend, get there early for a drink and to find a good seat for the reading. It’s worth it.

The Poison Pen Reading Series at Poison Girl in Houston.
 
Lupe Mendez is the literary outreach coordinator for Poets & Writers in Houston. Contact him at Houston@pw.org or on Twitter, @houstonpworg.

Richard Powers on The Overstory

Caption: 

“We like to think about people and nature as two separate things,” says Richard Powers speaking about his Pulitzer Prize–winning novel, The Overstory (Norton, 2018), in this PBS NewsHour interview. “This book is precisely a book that challenges that notion of human separatism.” For more Powers, read “A Talk in the Woods: Barbara Kingsolver and Richard Powers” from the November/December 2018 issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

Genre: 

Winter Poetry & Prose Getaway

The 26th annual Winter Poetry & Prose Getaway will be held from January 17 to January 20 at Seaview Hotel, a resort near Atlantic City, New Jersey. The program, sponsored by Murphy Writing of Stockton University, offers workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as one-on-one tutorials, featured readings, and open mics. The faculty includes poets Renée Ashley, Denise Duhamel, Yusef Komunyakaa, Laura McCullough, and Peter E. Murphy; fiction writers Judith Lindbergh and Paul Lisicky; and creative nonfiction writers Tom McAllister and Mimi Schwartz.

Type: 
CONFERENCE
Ignore Event Date Field?: 
no
Event Date: 
January 17, 2020
Rolling Admissions: 
ignore
Application Deadline: 
January 21, 2020
Financial Aid?: 
no
Financial Aid Application Deadline: 
January 21, 2020
Free Admission: 
no
Contact Information: 

Winter Poetry & Prose Getaway, Murphy Writing of Stockton University, 30 Front Street, Hammonton, NJ 08037. (609) 626-3594. Peter Murphy, Founder, and Taylor Coyle, Coordinator.

Peter Murphy and Taylor Cole
Founder and Coordinator
Contact City: 
Atlantic City
Contact State: 
NJ
Contact Zip / Postal Code: 
Country: 
US

Wellspring House Retreat

Wellspring House offers residencies of one week to three months year-round to poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers, on five acres of land in Ashfield, Massachusetts. The retreat accommodates five residents at a time in a converted carriage house and provides private working and living quarters, as well as a large communal space that features a kitchen, living room with fireplace, enclosed sunroom, patio, and gardens. The cost of the residency ranges from $310 to $360 per week, depending on residency room and season.

Type: 
RESIDENCY
Ignore Event Date Field?: 
yes
Event Date: 
January 21, 2020
Rolling Admissions: 
yes
Application Deadline: 
January 21, 2020
Financial Aid?: 
no
Financial Aid Application Deadline: 
January 21, 2020
Free Admission: 
no
Contact Information: 

Wellspring House Retreat, P.O. Box 2006, Ashfield, MA 01330. (413) 628-3276. John T. Howard and Aubrey Crosby, Writers-in-Residence.

John T. Howard and Aubrey Crosby
Writers-in-Residence
Contact City: 
Ashfield
Contact State: 
MA
Contact Zip / Postal Code: 
01330
Country: 
US
Add Image: 

Orion in the Wilderness

The Orion in the Wilderness retreat, cosponsored by the Omega Institute, will be held from March 8 to March 14 at the American Museum of Natural History’s Southwestern Research Station in Cave Creek Canyon in Portal, Arizona, surrounded by the Chiricahua Mountains, known for its abundant bird life and hiking trails. The retreat includes workshops, readings, lectures, manuscript consultations with faculty, presentations on local ecology and lore, and optional birding and hikes for poets, fiction writers, and nonfiction writers.

Type: 
CONFERENCE
Ignore Event Date Field?: 
no
Event Date: 
March 8, 2020
Rolling Admissions: 
no
Application Deadline: 
February 1, 2020
Financial Aid?: 
no
Financial Aid Application Deadline: 
January 21, 2020
Free Admission: 
no
Contact Information: 

Orion in the Wilderness, Orion Magazine, 187 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA 01230.

Contact City: 
Portal
Contact State: 
AZ
Contact Zip / Postal Code: 
Country: 
US

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