Tag Archives: Christopher Allen Varlack

Community News & Updates April 2016

Note from Jenny O’Connell, Community Outreach Coordinator for Stonecoast MFA

In 2017, Stonecoast MFA turns fifteen!  We would like to invite you to come celebrate with us at an alumni reunion weekend during one of the 2017 residencies. I’ll be working closely with Robin to make sure the alumni weekend is framed around YOU. Please take a moment to fill out the (very brief!) survey, which was posted to the the Alumni Listserv, by May 1, 2016.

Also, if you haven’t had a chance to “like” the newly re-vamped Stonecoast Facebook Page or follow us on Twitter, please take a moment to join our online community and stay connected.  Both are updated frequently with news on Stonecoast writers and the literary world.  If you have any news about your own writing that you’d like to see posted, send it along to jennifer.a.oconnell@maine.edu.

We are excited to hear from you!  Happy writing.

Note from Joanne Turnbull (Fiction, S’11):

Artists Wielding Words and Images is a collaborative project of Maine Media Workshops + College, USM’s Stonecoast MFA, and Your Write Mind that addresses the role of art as an agent of social change. This kickoff event begins with a panel of artists who will share the challenges they face when seeking to communicate social issues in a way that opens hearts and minds. Breakout sessions follow the panel to provide participants with an experience of exploring how their own creativity can influence social change.

Photograph: © Martha Rial / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Photograph: © Martha Rial / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

ALUMS

Patricia Barletta (Popular Fiction, W ’12) finally has her new website up and humming; you can access it here. She’d love to have you visit, look around and leave a comment. And other news, Moon Dark, Book #1 of The Auriano Curse, her paranormal historical romance, is now available in paperback format.

Sheila Boneham (Creative Nonfiction/Cross Genre, S’13) is delighted to report that her novel Catwalk (Midnight Ink, 2014) has won the 2015 Maxwell Award for fiction from the Dog Writers Association of America. Catwalk is the third book in Sheila’s Animals in Focus Mystery series. Book #1, Drop Dead on Recall, won the Maxwell in 2013, and The Money Bird was a finalist in 2014.

Corpse RoadsKaren Bovenmyer (Popular Fiction, S’13) has a new poem “Effects of Moonlight” and a reprint prose poem “So Normal and Unwritten” coming out in Folk Horror Revival’s forthcoming Corpse Roads horror poetry anthology. She sold a new flash fiction story “On Rising One Snowy Evening” to Parsec Ink‘s Triangulation: Beneath the Surface anthology. She’s also excited to announce her story “The Scarlet Cloak” is being produced in audio for the Gallery of Curiosities podcast, which she will narrate herself. Date update: Her poem about the Sad Puppies Kerfuffle “Keep Hugo Stormed” will appear on April 15, 2016, in Eye to the Telescope #20. She’s so grateful for all of you and your continued inspiration and encouragements!

Jennifer Marie Brissett (Popular Fiction, S’11) will be on a panel discussion called “Alien(ation): Diversity Under Attack, Racism, Homophobia, & Sexism at Hugo Awards & Beyond,“along with scholar André Carrington and science fiction author Craig Laurance Gidney, on Friday, April 8th, at 6:00-8:00 pm, at the CUNY Graduate Center, room 9204, 365 Broadway at 34th Street, Manhattan, NYC. The event is free and open to the public.

Libby Cudmore‘s (Creative Nonfiction/Popular Fiction, S’10) debut novel, The Big Rewind (William Morrow), received 3/4 stars from Charles Finch in USA Today. She was also a USA Today “Weekend Pick” on Saturday, March 12.

Terri Glass’s (Poetry/Creative Nonfiction, S’13) lesson plan called “Making a Poem Hum” from the anthology Poetry Crossing will be published in Teachers & Writers magazine‘s April issue.

Paul Kirsch (Popular Fiction, W’11) has been writing for the newly announced fantasy role-playing game from Obsidian Entertainment, Tyranny: “In Tyranny, the grand war between good and evil is over—and the forces of evil, led by Kyros the Overlord, have won. The Overlord’s merciless armies dominate the face of the world, and its denizens must find their new roles within the war-torn realm.” For more information about the game, including screenshots and a trailer, visit the website.

Tyranny

Jessica de Koninck (Poetry, W’11) has two poems in the spring 2016 issue of diode. Her first full-length poetry collection, Cutting Room, will soon be released by Terrapin Books.

Andrea Lani (Fiction, W’14) was happy to have her short story “Boy Trouble” appear in Brain, Child this month. Thanks to the Stonecoast Ireland Crew (S’13) and Nancy Holder for the revision advice, especially moving the gun to the end of the story. She also had a humor piece called “Advice to Writers from 80s Hair Bands” published on Beyond Your Blog, a short essay called “The Chickens” on Mutha Magazine, and another short essay called “One Cake or Three?” on the Brain, Mother Blog.

Sandra McDonald (Popular Fiction, W ’05)  and Nancy Holder (faculty) both saw stories published in the March 2016 issue of Nightmare magazine. Sandra’s story features Susie Lovecraft, mother of famed H.P. Lovecraft, in a creepy tale about female sexuality and the forces that bind it. She also has more fiction forthcoming this year in Nightmare, Asimov’s Science Fiction, and more. Visit her at www.sandramcdonald.com.

John Christopher Nelson‘s (Fiction, S’15) flash piece, “Signs of Alcoholism,” will be featured in the inaugural issue of Indicia.

Renee Olander (Poetry, W’05) presented a paper, “Language and Power in the Age of Trigger Warnings and Title IX Redux,” at the 27th Annual Spring Conference on the Teaching of Writing at Old Dominion University (March 21, 2016); she will participate in the panel “Literary Foremothers and Filling the Gaps” at the AWP Annual Conference in Los Angeles on April 1, 2016.  She has both a flash fiction (“Dear Torso, Stone-carved”) and a poem (“The Apparatus of the Dark”) forthcoming in the 2017 anthology Memoirs of the Feminine Divine, edited by Andrea Fekete and Lara Lillibridge.

The Book of the MandolinAnne Britting Oleson‘s (Poetry, W’05) novel, The Book of the Mandolin Player, will be published by B Ink Books on April 1st. You can watch the book trailer here.

Alexandra Oliver (Poetry ’12; also ex-faculty) is in the midst of a Canada-wide tour for Let the Empire Down, her second collection with Biblioasis. An interview with Alexandra recently appeared in The Windsor Star. Alexandra begins her PhD (English and Critical Studies) this fall at McMaster University.

Tamie (Harkins) Parker Song (Creative Nonfiction, ’12) has started a podcast about love on an island (because she lives on an island in Alaska!), along with three radio-minded friends. Listen to the first episode here.

Sean Robinson’s (Popular Fiction, W’14) story “He Who Makes the Slippers,” a fairy tale written his first day at Stonecoast, was published in Mirror Dance. Sean also presented a paper at ICFA (International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts), “Ossomancing the Siren,” which started as his third semester project and has grown since then. He is also in the middle of his second semester as a Teaching Lecturer at Plymouth State University where he’s teaching writing and fairy tales and having a blast.

Lisa Romeo (Creative Nonfiction, S’08) was one of three finalists in the Rose Metal Press Chapbook Contest for her CNF manuscript, Tuck the Story Away (judged by Ira Sukrungruang​). A narrative essay, ​”Jersey Nights on Broadway,” is running on the NYC story site, Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood.

9780997040005-BeyondRainMan2_Front_RGB_72dpi_5.5x8.5_webBeyond Rain Man: What One Psychologist Learned Raising a Son on the Autism Spectrum will be released on April 5! Anne K. Ross is the pen name of a 2007 Creative Nonfiction graduate. For more information, visit the website.

Kathleen Saville‘s (Creative Nonfiction, W’13) memoir Rowing for My Life: Two Oceans, Two Lives, One Journey will be published by Arcade Publishing, an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing, in January 2017. She’s very excited, as you can imagine. While at Stonecoast, she worked with Cait Johnson, Barbara Hurd, and Debra Marquart on parts of her book; their guidance inspired her as did the wonderful Stonecoast environment.

Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam (Popular Fiction, S’13) just released her collaborative audio fiction-music album Strange Monsters, funded through Kickstarter. The album features six of her previously published short stories read by actors and threaded with original musical compositions. The album is currently available through CDBaby here.

Julie VanDeKreke‘s (Creative Nonfiction, S’10) work will be featured in the Spring Equinox 2016 edition of Mused: The Bella Online Literary Review, with one nonfiction piece, one poem, and two photos.

Christopher Varlack (Creative Nonfiction/Poetry, S’10) successfully passed his dissertation defense at Morgan State University this March with his PhD in English to be conferred this May.

Marco Wilkinson (Creative Nonfiction, S’13) published his critical essay “Self-Speaking World” on experiments in autobiography in the Spring issue of Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies. This started as a third semester project with Debra Marquart and then became part of his final residency presentation.

Tamra Wilson (Fiction, S’11) has a story, “Deanie’s House,” in Waypoints, Issue 2.

FACULTY

51RmY3JvlzL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Susan Conley’s (Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Writing for Social Change) photo/story book collaboration Stop Here This Is The Place: A Year In Motherland will be published April 14th. The book traces the year in the life of each of the collaborators’ children on their street in Maine and celebrates motherhood and simply being a kid. Real Simple Magazine will do a feature on Stop Here in April as well as Donwneast Magazine, The Portland Press Herald, and other media outlets. The book launch party will take place on Thursday, May 5th, from 5:30-8:00 p.m. at the Portland Museum of Art, and all in the Stonecoast greater community are welcome. An additional reading will take place on May 19th at Longfellow Books in Portland.

Tantor Audio has acquired the audio rights to David Anthony Durham‘s (Fiction, Popular Fiction) next novel, The Risen: A Novel of Spartacus. Steven Crossley is doing the narration and the audiobook will pub at the same time as the book, May 3rd.

In February, PBS NewsHour featured Martín Espada (Poetry, Writing for Social Change) and his new book of poems, Vivas to Those Who Have Failed. Check out both the television story and the online reading.

April’s a busy month for Aaron Hamburger (Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Popular Fiction). He’ll be on several panels at the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival in New Orleans as well as reading from new work there. He’s also judging the Bethesda Magazine Teen Fiction Contest as well as the Green Briar Review fiction contest. Finally, if you’re in the DC area, you can catch his class “Breaking Through Writer’s Block” at legendary Politics & Prose bookstore.

Mike Kimball’s (Popular Fiction, Scriptwriting) 10-minute play Houston will be part of the Students’ Short Play Festival at the Community College of Rhode Island, Liston Campus (One Hilton St.- Room 1120; 401.455.6116), April 20-23 at 7:30 p.m. and April 23-24 at 2:00 p.m.

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51ggQvO+PtL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Debra Marquart‘s (Creative Nonfiction, Poetry) essay “The Perils of Travel” was published in Paris, Etc., a new anthology that explores what Paris means to writers who have visited and lived in this fascinating city.

Elizabeth Searle (Fiction, Popular Fiction, Scriptwriting) is happy to be on the writing faculty at the Hobart Book Village Festival of Women Writers 2016, co-founded by Breena Clarke; please visit the new blog and website for information and consider signing up for September in the beautiful “book reading capital of America.”

Reunite with some Stonecoast alums, and learn lots in the process at Bay Path University’s 13th Writers’ Day on the Longmeadow, MA, campus on April 16th. Stonecoast alumna Bunny Goodjohn (Poetry, W’07) will be speaking on “Image Gold Rush: Mining Photographs for Narratives,” and alumna Lisa C. Taylor’s (Poetry, ’04) talk will focus on “Liars, Criminals, and Lovers: The World of the Story/Fiction 101.” Stonecoast faculty member Suzanne Strempek Shea (Creative Nonfiction, Fiction), Bay Path’s writer-in-residence and director of writing programs, will be there to greet you.

A full production of “Mags: A Conversation with an Audience,” based on Suzanne Strempek Shea’s book This Is Paradise: An Irish Mother’s Grief, an African Village’s Plight and the Medical Clinic That Brought Fresh Hope to Both, will be staged at the Majestic Theater in West Springfield, MA, June 9-12. Tickets go on sale in May. The Majestic was the site of the first reading of the play back in November. A reading of the play also will be held July 27 at the Bee Hive Theater in Dingle, Co. Kerry, Ireland, the adopted home town of Mags Riordan, subject of This Is Paradise and founder of the Billy Riordan Memorial Clinic in Cape Maclear, Malawi. Connemara actor Tegolin Knowland will portray Mags. Both events will benefit the Billy Riordan Memorial Clinic, which saves lives daily in a remote area that once had a single doctor for 800,000 residents.

In the wake of her essay on Portland in the 1970s that ran in the March issue of Down East, Suzanne has been sought for more quotes on the city’s scene way back when. The Bangor Daily News includes Suzanne in this piece.

Suzanne is also spending a lot of time these days cheering on her husband Tommy, whom some Stonecoasters might have met at residencies along the way. A former award-winning journalist who once covered the Red Sox (quite a job for a Yankees fan), Tommy has co-authored Dingers: The 101 Most Memorable Home Runs in Baseball History. To be released April 6 by Sports Publishing, an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing, and co-written by Joshua Shifrin, the book tells the stories of the authors’ choices of the top 100 homers and how each affected the game of baseball. Details are at www.tommysheastadium.com

 

 

 

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Community News & Updates November 2015

ALUMS

Eric M. Bosarge‘s (Popular Fiction, W’12) short story “The Last Laugh” will appear in the November issue of Strangelet Journal.

Strange-HorizonsKaren Bovenmyer (Popular Fiction, S’13) is excited to share her very first professional narration—“The Wives of Azhar” by Roshani Chokshi—which she recorded for Strange Horizons Magazine.  Also, the first issue of Mothership Zeta Magazine, featuring Stonecoast alums Bonnie Stufflebeam (fiction) and Adam Gallardo (nonfiction) and faculty James Patrick Kelly is now available for download! Karen is the Assistant Editor, Nonfiction for this magazine, which is led by Stonecoast alumna Mur Lafferty, Editor in Chief.

apb-anthoJennifer Marie Brissett (Popular Fiction, S’11) has a flash fiction story “Innocent Bysanders” in APB: Artists Against Police Brutality, an anthology published by Rosarium Publishing that confronts the many persistent problems plaguing the American criminal justice system. All proceeds generated from this project will be donated to The Innocence Project.

Julie C. Day‘s (Popular Fiction, S’12) story “The Thirteen Tuesdays of Saint Anthony” is now available online in Farrago’s Wainscot Issue 16. It feels like the perfect match. Julie truly hopes the two will be blissfully happy, though considering the story’s subject matter, perhaps not. In more happy news, her story “The Faces Between Us” was republished in audio form as part of Podcastle 386. Finally, Julie’s story “Faerie Medicine” was reprinted in the print and e-anthology Gaia: Shadow and Breath Vol. 2. 

Terri Glass’s (Poetry/Creative Nonfiction, S’13) essay, “Rochambeau and the Mystery of Racetrack Playa” will be coming out in Young Ravens Literary Review November 23. Her poem “Just Another Day” will be published in an anthology, Earth Blessings, Spring 2016. And her poem “The Pond People” is forthcoming in The San Diego Poetry Annual, Spring 2016. Terri’s new website is up and running with everything finally under one roof. Peruse the poetry, prose and send her a note.

Terri-Glass-Banner-Sample

IMG_0296Kristin LaTour‘s (Poetry, S’07) first full-length collection, What Will Keep Us Alive, is available for pre-order from Sundress Publications. Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The Hummingbird’s Daughter, says, “Kristin LaTour’s American song flies from the heartland full of sun, shadow, full winds and explosions of lightning all along its highways. Wonderful and alive.” And Lesléa Newman, author of I Carry My Mother and October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard, wrote, “The poems in What Will Keep Us Alive are told in a strong, authoritative voice that made me sit up and listen. ‘Break me like a stained cup.’ ‘Let the sparkle fall from your fingers.’ ‘Light a match and wander west.’ I will do as these poems command willingly and eagerly, for Kristin LaTour is a poet who has something to say and isn’t afraid to say it. Fierce, funny, fearless, and finely crafted, these are fabulous poems I will read, ponder, and share with friends, colleagues, and students again and again and again.” Free shipping with pre-orders.

51gFPhEYytL._SX336_BO1,204,203,200_Jeanette Lynes (Poetry/Fiction, ’05) released her seventh book of poetry—Bedlam Cowslip: The John Clare Poems (Wolsak & Wynn’s Buckrider Books imprint)—this month. The book was launched with readings in Toronto, Manchester, and London.

On October 22-24, 2015, New Rivers Press will host a release party at three different venues over three days. The events will feature book signing, author readings and interaction, a silent auction, and the selling of their four most recent publications. These include the annual American Fiction: Volume 14 collection, which was edited by Bruce Pratt (Fiction, S’04) and won the 2014 Gold Medal for short fiction from The Midwest Independent Publishers Association; Wrestling with Angels by Daniel Gabriel; Home Studies by Julie Gard; and Flashcards and the Curse of Ambrosia by Tracy Robert. On Thursday, October 22nd, there will be a reading at 8 pm in Minnesota State University’s Comstock Memorial Union, Room 101. On Friday, there will be another reading at the Spirit Room along with hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction. Lastly, on Saturday there will be a 12:00 p.m. reading at the Red River Market.

Cynthia Furlong Reynolds (Fiction, ’12) has been working with the actor Jeff Daniels on the story of his life and the history of the theater he established in Chelsea, MI. The Purple Rose of Chelsea will be released this month.

Lisa Romeo (Creative Nonfiction, S’08), was pleased when her essay which appeared on Brain, Child a few weeks ago, “I Survived Postpartum Depression, But it Never Left Me,” caught the attention of maternal and mental health organizations, sparking conversation about the lingering effects of PPD. Another piece, “The Horsey Set,” appears in a new anthology, Unfinished Chapters. In October, Lisa presented two seminars (one on publishing personal essays, another on working with incomplete memories in memoir) at the NJ Women Who Write conference in Madison, NJ; and she read from her memoir manuscript and appeared on the panel “Death: Italian American Style” at the national Italian American Studies Association conference in Washington D.C. An interview with Lisa appears at Your Blog Connection, about how she uses her blog to help other writers.

Kevin St. Jarre (Popular Fiction, S’10) and Nylah Lyman (Poetry, S’10) have been invited to spend a week at La Muse Artists and Writers Retreat in southern France. The retreat is held in a manor house, some parts of which date back to the 12th century, and is about 25 minutes into the mountains near Carcassonne. The website for La Muse is here.

La Muse from the river in the valley..

La Muse from the river in the valley..

ci_harlemrenChristopher Allen Varlack (Creative Nonfiction, S’10) published an edited collection of critical essays on literature of the Harlem Renaissance with Salem Press in October. The book is available from Salem Press and Amazon for purchase.

Anne Witty (Poetry, W’12) has been named the winner of The New Guard Knightville Poetry Contest for her piece “Contact Sheets,” which will be published in The New Guard Vol. V in 2016.

 

FACULTY

Issue10_499x648Elizabeth Hand (Fiction, Popular Fiction) was on the cover of Locus Magazine‘s October issue, featuring an interview about her recent novel Wylding Hall and forthcoming Hard Light. Her recent reviews include Patti Smith’s M Train and William Sloane’s The Rim of Morning for the Washington Post, and Stacy Schiff’s The Witches: Salem 1692 for the Los Angeles Times.

Eléna Rivera (Poetry, Translation) has two poems in the current issue of The Denver Quarterly 50.1 (2015).

Elizabeth Searle (Fiction, Popular Fiction, Scriptwriting) will be doing several events in November: on November 16, she will read at Newtonville books from the new anthology Me, My Hair & I: Twenty Seven Women Untangle an Obsession. The anthology was a “Book of the Week” in People magazine and was on Entertainment Weekly‘s “Must” list. On November 30th, Elizabeth will lead a Celebrity Book Club discussion at Newtonville Books. Also Elizabeth will read from her works as Visiting Author at Bacon Free Public Library in Natick, MA on November 17 at 7PM:

OPPORTUNITIES

Damien Shuck (Poetry, ’09) currently serves as a Peace Corps Volunteer in China, working at Southwest University, on of the top-tier universities in China.  He has several opportunities for Stonecoast students and Alumni.

  1. He is currently working on assembling a series of extensive reading textbooks to be published through his University Press. He is looking for all genres—Fiction, Popular Fiction, Poetry, Creative Nonfiction, or Essays—and will accept previously published or unpublished work.  Please submit any number of texts to swutextbooksubmission@outlook.com. Submission deadline: December 31st.
  2. An opportunity for any Stonecoast alumni interested in taking a year to teach in China at Southwest University. Teaching here has been a wonderful opportunity. You will have time to work on studying Chinese, to explore another culture and gain experience, and lots of time to work on writing. Southwest University is a great place to work and I am trying to establish close ties with Stonecoast.

If you are interested in either of these opportunities please contact Damien at damienshuck8@msn.com.

 

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