“Young walruses, we must all adapt!” begins Matthew Olzmann’s “Commencement Speech, Delivered to a Herd of Walrus Calves,” published in Four Way Review. In the poem, as the title reveals, a speaker offers advice to a herd of walruses on courage, evolution, and survival: “You need to train yourself to do what they won’t expect.” Write a poem in the form of a speech addressed to a group of animals or objects that offers advice and encouragement for challenges only the subject could encounter. Try to use the title, as Olzmann does, to set the scene and the tone for the poem.
The 2020 Literary Writers Conference was held online from December 2 to December 4. The conference, which was hosted by the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses, featured agent pitch sessions, pitch clinics, a query letter clinic, and panel discussions. The faculty included fiction writer Emily Temple, agents Claudia Ballard (William Morris Endeavor) and Regina Brooks (Serendipity Literary Agency), and editors Danielle A. Jackson (Oxford American), Jonathan Lee (Catapult), and Jyothi Natarajan (Margins).
Literary Writers Conference, Community of Literary Magazines and Presses, 154 Christopher Street, Suite 3C, New York, NY 10004. David Gibbs, Contact.
Red Mountain Press offered two- and four-week residencies from November 14 to December 12 to poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers in a private home on Sanibel Island, Florida. Residents were provided with private lodging, dinners, and access to a shared kitchen. There was no cost to attend the residency. Using only the online submission system, writers submitted up to 10 pages of poetry or up to 15 pages of prose, a project proposal, a curriculum vitae, and a $35 application fee by July 31. Visit the website for more information.
Red Mountain Press Writers’ Retreat, P.O. Box 32205, Santa Fe, NM 87594.
The 2020 North Carolina Writers’ Network Writingest State Conference was held online from November 10 to November 14. The conference featured classes in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as conversations and panel discussions on the craft and business of writing. The faculty included poet Allison Adelle Hedge Coke; fiction writers Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle, Therese Anne Fowler, Matt Gallagher, Leah Hampton, and Art Taylor; and creative nonfiction writer Tracy Crow.
North Carolina Writers’ Network Writingest State Conference, P.O. Box 21591, Winston-Salem, NC 27120. (336) 293-8844. Ed Southern, Executive Director.
The 2020 Kentucky Book Festival, presented by Kentucky Humanities, was held online from November 9 to November 14, with additional online programming on Thursday evenings from September 17 to November 5. The festival featured live and prerecorded panel discussions. Participating authors included poets Reginald Dwayne Betts and Nikky Finney, fiction writers Terry Brooks and J. R. Ward, and nonfiction writers David Blight and Martha S. Jones. Most events were free and open to the public. Visit the website for more information.
Kentucky Book Festival, Kentucky Humanities, 206 East Maxwell Street, Lexington, KY 40508. (859) 257-4317. Sara Volpi, Director.
The 2020 Portland Book Festival, hosted by Literary Arts, was held online from November 5 to November 21. The festival featured events including author discussions and writing workshops. Participating authors included poets Natalie Diaz, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Claudia Rankine; fiction writers Ayad Akhtar, Margaret Atwood, and Jess Walter; and nonfiction writers Isabel Wilkerson and Lidia Yuknavitch. All events were free and open to the public. Visit the website for more information.
Portland Book Festival, Literary Arts, Inc., 925 SW Washington Street, Portland, OR 97205. (503) 227-2583. Amanda Bullock, Director of Public Programs.
The 2020 Texas Book Festival was held online from October 31 to November 15, with adult programming from November 6 to November 15. The festival featured panels and discussions with more than 125 writers. Participating authors included poets Marcelo Hernandez Castillo and Jake Skeets; fiction writers Julia Alvarez, Aimee Bender, Yaa Gyasi, Nick Hornby, and Ottessa Moshfegh; and poet and nonfiction writer Natasha Trethewey. Many events were free; tickets for select events cost $30 to $40. Visit the website for more information.
Texas Book Festival, 1023 Springdale Road, Building 14, Unit B, Austin, TX 78721. (512) 477-4055.