Community News & Updates January 2021

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Stonecoast MFA 2021 Winter Residency

Join the Stonecoast MFA 2021 winter residency January 7-17th, 2021 for a week of inspiring readings and discussions! Evening events are free and open to the public and will be hosted online through Zoom. View the schedule and register here.

Stonecoast Tidings

If you’d like to receive Stonecoast’s quarterly newsletter featuring faculty interviews, alumni writing, and opportunities to rejoin residencies and engage with Stonecoast literary events, you can sign up for Stonecoast Tidings by updating your USM alumni profile.

The Stone House Readers’ Series

The Stone House Readers’ Series is a regular series for alumni, faculty, staff, and current students to share their writing live on Facebook. Readers are scheduled in advance and are asked to bring 15 minutes of material to share, whether it’s a work in progress, a published piece, or anything in between. This is a program run by Troy Myers and Amanda Pleau (Creative Nonfiction, S’15) to give members of our community a casual and consistent opportunity to connect. Join us Sundays in January! 

CURRENT STUDENTS

Shannon Bowring‘s (Fiction, Thirdsemester) essay “Fresh Cut” was recently selected as the winner of the Just Write Maine-related Nonfiction Award for the Joy of the Pen writing contest. In addition, her short experimental piece “Avian Elegies ” was published in Issue #4 of Waterwheel Review.

Natalie Harris-Spencer‘s (Fiction, Third semester) short essay “Expat Guilt,” which details the isolation of living an ocean apart from your family during a pandemic, appears in the British publication Dissonance Magazine

FACULTY

Faith Adiele’s (Creative Nonfiction) new Calm sleep story, narrated by acclaimed actor Idris Elba, was released on December 1, which was #GivingTuesday. For every listen of “Kingdom of the Sky,” Calm will donate $1 (and up to $100k) to support RED’s fight against AIDS and COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa. 

Doom Eternal: The Ancient Gods – Part One by id Software saw instructor Tobias S. Buckell (Popular Fiction) in the credits under Writing and also in Story Development, his first foray into writing in-game content for a major platform game. Tobias also edited and had a story in the anthology Reclaim, Restore, Return: Futurist Tales from the Caribbean, published for the 2020 Bocas Lit Fest in Trinidad. Other short stories appeared in editor John Joseph Adams Dystopia Triptych, Escape Pod: The Science Fiction Anthology, and Slate Magazine. He just turned in his latest novel, A Stranger in the Citadel, to Audible Originals, which will be out in May 2021.

John Florio (Creative Nonfiction, Popular Fiction, Writing for Social Change) wrote a feature for The New York TimesHow New York City Vaccinated 6 Million People in Less Than a Month. He’s also at work on a young-adult book about Frank Serpico, the New York City cop who famously exposed systemic corruption in the NYPD.

Aaron Hamburger‘s (Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Writing for Social Change) short story “My Darling Socialist” was chosen as a finalist in the Saints and Sinners Festival fiction contest for 2020-21. It will be published in the Festival’s 2021 anthology, forthcoming from Bold Strokes Books.

Elizabeth Hand’s (Popular Fiction, Fiction) The Book of Lamps and Banners received a rave review from Locus Magazine, and was named one of the year’s top 5 crime novels by Crime Reads/LitHub, one of the year’s top 10 thrillers by Crime Fiction Lover, and made LitReactor’s list of the year’s best novels. It was also noted in Fine Books Magazine in their roundup of best books about books. The audiobook was named one of the year’s best audiobooks by both Slate and AudioFile Magazine. Elizabeth was featured on the podcast 99% Invisible, talking about novelizations. Her recent reviews include Christopher Golden’s novel Red Hands and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Letters from Father Christmas, both for The Washington Post.

Elizabeth Searle (Fiction, Playwriting, Popular Fiction, Scriptwriting, Writing for Social Change) will lead a virtual Playwriting Workshop called ACT ONE for the Charlotte Writer’s Club North, based in Charlotte NC, on February 27, 2021. Her personal essay “Covid Class of 2020” was published in NOW, a new online literary journal from the wonderful Hobart Festival of Women Writers, co-founded by Breena Clarke.

ALUMS

The film short The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, adapted by Elisabeth Tova Bailey (Creative Nonfiction, S’15) from her memoir of the same title, screened in December at the Academy-accredited Leuven International Short Film Festival in Belgium. In March, the film screens at the Academy-accredited Tampere Film Festival in Finland. That month the film will also be part of Discover Film Awards in London.

Carina Bissett (Popular Fiction, S’18) is thrilled to announce the appearance of her story “An Embrace of Poisonous Intent” in the anthology Bitter Distillations: An Anthology of Poisonous Tales, published by Egaeus Press. This hardcover edition is limited to 340 copies. December also came with news that her linked vignettes created for a shared world were published in The Lost Citadel Roleplaying Game, which opens with a story by Elizabeth Hand.

Ryan Brod (Creative Nonfiction, S’17) has an essay coming out in the next issue of The Maine Review (Issue 7.1)He’s excited to start another semester teaching creative nonfiction at the University of New England.

J Brooke (Poetry, S’19) had “Nowhere to be Found is Atonement,” a poem about Yom Kippur during the pandemic, published by Detour Ahead Literary Magazine. J has enjoyed a number of essay publications in 2020, yet rarely has poems accepted for publication. Not complaining, though—merely commenting.

Terri Glass‘s (Poetry & Creative Nonfiction, S’13) poem “Unexpected Visitor” will be published in San Diego Poetry Annual 2021, and her poem “Amid all this Light” will appear in Issue 13 of Young Raven’s Literary Review. She will be reading on January 30 from her new book of poetry, Being Animal, via Zoom for the Watershed Festival, an environmental poetry festival based out of Berkeley, CA. Check her website, terriglass.com, for the link and time.

Gail Hovey (Creative Nonfiction, S’11) engaged in a wide-ranging conversation with blogger Dr. Deborah Adamy on December 14. They discussed Hovey’s memoir, She Said God Blessed Us: A Life Marked by Childhood Sexual Abuse in the Church, in the larger context of truth telling in this tumultuous year. 

Nina Lichtenstein (Creative Nonfiction, S’20) had an essay published in Kveller that starts like this: “A few years ago, my then 19-year old son called me from Norway via FaceTime to ‘share some news.’ Benya was spending a gap year in my native country. He was anxious about our conversation, an unease that was obvious to me—the mama bear back in the States—as soon as I saw his sweet punim on the screen. // ‘Mama, I’ve been meaning to talk to you about some things…’ he began.”

Nylah Lyman (Poetry, S’10) has signed a contract with Encircle Publications. They will publish her poetry collection in September 2021.

Catharine H Murray (Creative Nonfiction, S’17) will be opening Memoir 101: Writing the Stories of Your Life to a fourth cohort this month. This five-week live online series will meet Tuesdays at 10:00 a.m. EDT starting January 26, 2021. To register or for more information, go to catharinehmurray.com (the direct link).

On January 8th, Jenny O’Connell (Creative Nonfiction, S’17) will be moderating The Journey You Must Take, a conversation between debut authors Maggie Downs and Katherine E. Standefer, hosted by PRINT Bookstore and Portland’s Mechanics Hall. In Braver Than You Think, Maggie backpacks around the world to visit countries her mother—struck with early-onset Alzheimer’s—cannot make it to herself. In Katherine’s book Lightning Flowers, she travels to mines across Africa and the American West trying to understand whether her potentially-lifesaving implanted cardiac defibrillator might have caused loss of life along its supply chain. The dialogue will be enhanced by Jenny’s own 2014 solo trek across Finland (the subject of her current book project and Stonecoast thesis) following the footsteps of a female legend into the heart of the Arctic Circle. Guaranteed to be rich and vulnerable, this conversation will travel from what it takes to move from knowing you need to do something to actually doing it, to the financing of such journeys, to the craft challenges of telling personal stories that unfold in foreign contexts, to the unexpected things that happen along the trail, to the way grief can change along a journey. Register for the (free) event here.

Ellie O’Leary (Poetry, W’17) will be one of the featured poets reading for (Un)Cloistered Poetry on Sunday, January 10, at 6:00 p.m. Email EllieOLeary@gmail.com for the Zoom link.

Anne Britting Oleson (Poetry, W’05) has contracted her latest novel, Aventurine, to Encircle Publications, with an expected publication date of January 2022. This will be Anne’s fifth published novel. She joins Stonecoaster Kevin St. Jarre as an Encircle author.

Meghan Vigeant‘s (Creative Nonfiction, S’20) essay “The Shame Files” is about the contents of a plain, brown file labeled “Sexual Assault 2010.” It appears in the Stonecoast Review, issue 14, winter 2021. 

Adrienne S. Wallner’s (Poetry, W’09) debut poetry collection To the 4a.m. Light is now available for preorder from Finishing Line Press. For every book ordered before January 30, 2021, buyers will receive a one-of-a-kind bookmark, each with a unique line of poetry from To the 4 a.m. Light handwritten by the author. Bookmarks will be mailed after January 30, unless arrangements are made by contacting the author. All books will be shipped on the official release date of March 26, 2021. To order, go here. Read Adrienne’s blog at www.inkinthebranches.com. Find Adrienne on IG & FB @inkinthebranches. Click here to sign up for Adrienne’s newsletter.

An essay by Tamra Wilson (Fiction, S’11) appears in the 2020 anthology Friends: Voices on the Gift of Companionship, published by Jack Walker Press. “Dear Anne” was inspired by a 25-year correspondence that began in childhood.

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