An exclusive first look at Myriam J. A. Chancy’s What Storm, What Thunder, which is forthcoming from Tin House on October 5, 2021.
Amy Hempel’s short story “In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried” begins with a conversation between two best friends in which the narrator keeps her ill friend company in the hospital by telling her random facts. “Make it useless stuff or skip it,” requests the friend. The story then hooks the reader with a series of tall tales and jokes that entertain both the sick friend and the reader alike, serving as context for their close relationship and a unique introduction for the heart-wrenching story. Write a short story that begins with, or uses throughout, trivia or jokes as a way of developing the relationship between two key characters.
At the Millions, Emily Layden writes about how campus novels offer “a portrait of a community, not just in cast but in geography, and tell us the story of the relationship between a place and its people—how they shape one another, imprint on each other, leave the other forever changed.” Layden compiles a list of the “best campus novels,” which includes The Incendiaries by R. O. Kwon, Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld, and My Education by Susan Choi, and discusses how each novel captures the intimacy of youth through the evocative and tense setting of the academic campus. Write a story set on an educational campus. Use the hierarchies inherent to the school setting—principals, teachers, counselors, seniors, freshmen—to set up the story’s conflict.
“Do the hard stuff first.” —Kaitlyn Greenidge, author of Libertie
The 2018 Southern Festival of Books: A Celebration of the Written Word was held from October 12 to October 14 at the War Memorial Plaza and the Nashville Public Library in downtown Nashville, Tennessee. Sponsored by Humanities Tennessee, the festival featured readings, panel discussions, a bookfair, author signings, and music performances for poets, fiction writers, and nonfiction writers. Festival events were free and open to the public. Visit the website for more information.
Southern Festival of Books, Humanities Tennessee, 306 Gay Street, Suite 306, Nashville, TN 37201. (615) 770-0006. Serenity Gerbman, Director of Literature & Language Programs.
The 2018 Iota Short Prose Conference was held from August 15 to August 19 at the Roosevelt Campobello International Park on Campobello Island, in New Brunswick, Canada, located just off the coast of Lubec, Maine. The conference, which focused on short forms in prose poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, featured workshops, craft discussions, one-on-one meetings with faculty, readings, open mics, and field trips to nearby locations. Previous faculty included poet Mark Doty and nonfiction writer Dinty W. Moore.
Iota Short Prose Conference, Inkslinger Conferences, 114 Moore Road, Trescott, ME 04652. (207) 904-7652.
The Rutgers-New Brunswick Writers’ Conference was held from June 2 to June 3 at the Rutgers University Continuing Education Center in Somerset, New Jersey. The conference featured workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as craft classes, presentations, readings, and opportunities to meet with agents and editors. The faculty included poets Pablo Medina, Patricia Spears Jones, and B. J.
Rutgers-Camden Summer Writers’ Conference, Rutgers University, Armitage Hall, 311 North 5th Street, Camden, NY 08102.