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Community News & Updates November 2020

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Stonecoast Alumni Scriptwriting Workshop: The Next Step – Rehearsing your Script! – Winter 2021!!

Instructors: Tom Coash (Scriptwriting/Playwright) and Jeni Mahoney (Scriptwriting/Artistic Director of the Seven Devils New Play Foundry)

A huge part of scriptwriting is learning to collaborate and glean valuable information about your script during the rehearsal process. Being in a room with really smart, talented people, all working together, readying your script for the public is an incredibly inspiring, unique experience. Scriptwriters, in this special, four-session, alumni workshop, will submit a ten-minute play/screenplay and during the course of the workshop will read, discuss, rewrite, and REHEARSE these pieces for an online, post-residency Stonecoast public reading. Taking advantage of the online residency possibilities, we will bring in professional, guest artist actors and directors from all over the country to rehearse each play individually in online breakout rooms. Writers will have one-on-one sessions with their directors, rehearsals with actors/directors, discussion of scripts with workshop members, and opportunities to observe other rehearsals. Come join us and see your script brought to life by some of the best talent in the country. All levels of scriptwriting experience welcome.

This workshop is also open to writers who have not attended Stonecoast. So, please tell your friends. Space is limited, sign up asap! Contact Tom Coash (thomascoash@sbcglobal.net) or the Stonecoast office for more information: stonecoastmfa@maine.edu or 207-780-4423.

CURRENT STUDENTS

Natalie Harris-Spencer‘s (Fiction) short story “Phrenology,” which she shared in David Anthony Durham’s “Grim Tidings” workshop last residency, will be published in the next issue of The Dark City Crime & Mystery Magazine.

FACULTY

Faith Adiele (Creative Nonfiction) wrote two episodes in the new HBO Max mini-documentary series A World of Calm, which premiered on October 1st and is designed for relaxation. Her episodes are #8 “Horses,” narrated by Kate Winslet, and #10 “Water,” narrated by Mahershala Ali. The trailer is available here. Faith also has an essay in the anthology Alone Together: Love, Grief & Comfort in the Time of COVID; sales go to benefit indie bookstores.

Aaron Hamburger (Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Writing for Social Change) was awarded an individual fellowship from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. 

Elizabeth Hand’s (Popular Fiction, Fiction) new novel, The Book of Lamps and Banners, continues to receive rave reviews, including from The New York Times Book Review, which wrote, “Cass Neary is a remarkable heroine. As with Sherlock Holmes, her power lies in the act of seeing what ordinary people cannot, only where Holmes brings clues to light, Neary is content to linger in the dark. Her eye catches the liminal spaces between clarity and shadow so well I found myself rereading passages for the beauty of her way of seeing.” Oprah Magazine named Liz’s 2015 novel Wylding Hall one of the 29 greatest gothic novels of all time. In October, she taught at the NYC Writer’s Hotel virtual writer’s conference, and led an online workshop on supernatural fiction at Clarion West.  

Scriptwriting Instructor Jeni Mahoney, the Producing Artistic Director of Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, was featured in a recent American Theatre Magazine article celebrating the 20th anniversary of the program, which she founded in 2001. Since 2001, Seven Devils has supported the development of more than 220 plays, including Veils by Scriptwriting Faculty member Tom Coash, who now serves on the Seven Devils Board of Directors.

ALUMS

Lindsey Barlow‘s (Popular Fiction, W’19) short story “Dr. Catalyst,” which she workshopped while at Stonecoast with Liz Hand and fellow students, was turned into a 55-minute production by No Sleep Podcast. Her short story is featured in Season 15, Episode 5, and begins around the one hour, thirty-eight minute mark.

Carina Bissett (Popular Fiction, S’16) has a piece of humorous horror titled “The Stages of Monster Grief: A Guide for Middle-Aged Vampires” in the anthology Coffin Blossoms, which was published by Jolly Horror Press in October 2020. She also appeared on the panels Building SF&F Mythologies and Modern Age of Poetry at MileHiCon 52. 

J Brooke (Poetry, S’19) won Honorable Mention in Streetlight Magazine’s 2020 Essay/Memoir contest. A review of the essay “Finding Barbie’s Shoes” said, “J Brooke’s ‘Finding Barbie’s Shoes,’ an elliptical narration of how something as small as the foot of a Barbie doll can lead to consideration of topics larger and more painful. There is humor in this account, but also that edge of reality we all have to contend with. Its two poles inform each other.” The essay can be read here.

KT Bryski (Popular Fiction, W’16) has stories in The Quilliad and Nightmare this month. She is also pleased to announce the one-year anniversary of the ephemera reading series. Join readers Kate Heartfield, Fonda Lee, and Vivian Li, and performer Kari Maaren, on November 18 at 7:00 p.m. EST.

teri elam (Poetry, S’19) had two poems published in Limp Wrist magazine: “On Writing A Fan Letter To Lynda Carter Circa 1975” and “On Being Called The N-Word In Atlanta, 2016: A Southern Ghazal.” Her ghazal has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. teri will also have two essays, “Memory as Dance: The Darktown Strutters’ Ball” and “In Praise of Greenwood,” included in the exhibition catalog for the upcoming Greenwood Art Project. This project will commemorate the centennial anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Massacre and the historic Black Wall Street.

Colleen Hennessy‘s (Creative Nonfiction, W’20) essay “Motherhood in Irish Nonfiction: Abortion and Agency” appeared in the fall issue of Assay: Journal of Nonfiction Studies. The research and analysis arose from her third semester paper and graduation seminar at Stonecoast. 

Veda Boyd Jones (Fiction, S’17) annually writes a Christmas novella; On One Condition is available on the kindle app.

Andrea Lani (Fiction, W’14) is thrilled to announce that her short story “The Quilt” was published last month in Willows Wept Review. The story is about climate change, fracking, and the enduring nature of love, with a bit of magic realism and ancient mythology thrown in. Bonus points if you can determine what mythological figures and events it’s inspired by.

Nina B. Lichtenstein (Creative Nonfiction, S’20) recently had an essay in Past Ten, a literary project exploring the transformative power of time and the human condition to turn the unpredictable into art, by asking contributors, “Where were you ten years ago on this date?” She also had an essay out in The Forward, the country’s oldest Jewish newspaper (founded in 1897) about her recent reckoning with her misguided use of the Yiddish word schwartze, when she was a 23-year old convert to Judaism.

Nylah Lyman‘s (Poetry, S’10) poem “Noah’s Wife” has been accepted by Stonecoast Review for publication January 2021.

Catharine H. Murray (Creative Nonfiction, S’17) will be opening her live online memoir classes to a new cohort this month. Memoir 101: Writing the Stories of Your Life is open for enrollment. This five-week live online course begins Thursday, November 12, from 12:00-1:30 p.m. EDT. Memoir: Craft and Application also will be open to new students starting this month with Thursday or Saturday classes, 10:00-11:30 a.m. EDT. To apply or for more information, visit www.catharinehmurray.com or email her at writingwithcatharine@gmail.com

First Light,” Jenny O’Connell‘s(Creative Nonfiction, S’17) essay about finding home in the wild waters of Maine, appears in the November issue of Decor Maine. Her opera libretto on advocacy and domestic violence during quarantine, “The Sky Where You Are,” was produced by An Opera Theatre of Minneapolis and premiered worldwide last month as part of the Decameron Opera Coalition’s “Tales from a Safe Distance.” Tickets are available through the end of the year. 

Suri Parmar (Popular Fiction, W’17) has a new story titled “Lady of the Slake” in Upon a Once Time, a color print anthology of reimagined fairy-tale mash-ups published by Air and Nothingness Press. Suri’s story is an interpretation of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Wild Swans” combined with the Arthurian literary cycle. 

Bruce Pratt (Fiction, S’04) has poems in two anthologies released in October: “Dead Bodies and Declaratory Judgments” appears in Show Us Your Papers from Main Street Rag Publishing, and “Le Rire ” appears in its original French alongside his English translation in The Very Edge Poems from Flying Ketchup Press.

J. Stephen (Steve) Rhodes (Poetry, W’11) was made Canon Poet of Grace Episcopal Cathedral, Charleston, South Carolina, on October 11th, 2020.

Kevin St. Jarre‘s (Popular Fiction, S’10) short story “Chuligani,” published in Solstice Literary Magazine, has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Kevin’s novel Aliens, Drywall, and a Unicycle will launch virtually at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 10. Hosted by Longfellow Books of Portland, Maine, and Encircle Publications, Kevin will be joined in conversation by author Bill Roorbach. To register in advance for this meeting please use this link. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the event.

Kathleen Sullivan (Poetry, ’06) is currently writing a series of weekly essays: “2020: Life in the Time of Pandemic.” Her blog site is Kathleensullivan.substack.com. The essays are the process notes of a poet, a psychotherapist, a grandmother, three quarters of a century old as she makes sense of this extraordinary moment in history.

Morgan Talty’s (Fiction, W’19) short story “The Name Means Thunder,” which originally appeared in the Fall 2019 issue of The Georgia Review, was selected as a Distinguished Story for The Best American Short Stories 2020

The Learned Pig published Darlene Taylor‘s (Fiction, W’17) “Haunting Stones” essay as a Root Mapping feature. The essay can be read in the online journal here. Also, Darlene won a D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities Fellowship; she plans to complete the work noted in “Haunting Stones” as part of the fellowship. Separately, as part of her continued service to the arts community, Darlene has been named an Advisory Board member of The Clifton House located in Maryland. The Clifton House honors creative work and the legacy of Lucille Clifton in the Baltimore home where she lived with her family and wrote poetry.

Meghan Vigeant‘s (Creative Nonfiction, S’20) flash non-fiction story “Don’t Live Past Ninety, Dear” appeared on Multiplicity‘s blog in October. 

Stonecoast fiction alum (W’19) sidney woods was honored that “Monsoon” was recently published in Brilliant Flash Fiction (under pen name sid sibo).  

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Community News & Updates October 2018

ALUMS

Peter Adrian Behravesh (Popular Fiction, W’18) narrated Y. M. Pang’s story “Subtle Ways Each Time” for the September 20 episode of Escape Pod. You can listen to it here.

Shawna Borman (Popular Fiction, W’15) is pleased to announce that her short story “Lying Eyes” has been chosen to appear in Road Kill: Texas Horror by Texas Writers, Vol. 3, edited by E.R. Bills, alongside a number of talented Texas writers.  Just in time for Halloween, this anthology is sure to deliver a dose of Texas-sized fright to anyone’s season of thrills and chills.

Ryan Brod‘s (Creative Nonfiction/Fiction, S’17) essay, “November Light,” a revision from his thesis, will appear this October in the fall issue of River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative. Order a copy here.

Penny Guisinger (Creative Nonfiction, S’13) has three successes to share. Her piece “The Five C’s” was published at The Rumpus in September and was then selected for Memoir Monday, a weekly round up of online creative nonfiction. Her essayistic review of CNF chapbooks has been accepted for an upcoming issue of River Teeth. Lastly, Iota: Short Prose Conference was staged for the sixth summer this August and was led by Sven Birkerts and Beth Ann Fennelly. Iota now offers online courses as well, many taught by Stonecoast alumni.

Alan King (Poetry, W’13) is the 2018/19 writer-in-residence for HoCoPoLitSo (The Howard County Poetry and Literature Society). Learn more here.

On October 2nd at 7:00 p.m., friends and loved ones of writer Elisabeth Wilkins Lombardo (Fiction, S’04) will gather at Print: A Bookstore in Portland, ME, to celebrate the publication of her first novel, The Afterlife of Kenzaburo Tsuruda (She Writes Press). Lombardo, who won the PEN/New England Discovery Award for an early draft of Kenzaburo Tsuruda, died in 2015. She was unable to find a home for her novel before being diagnosed with cancer in 2014, and the launch party at Print will mark the end of a long effort on the part of Lombardo’s husband and several of her closest friends to bring her work out into the world. Read more in Shelf Awareness here.

Elisabeth Lombardo

Gregory Martin (Popular Fiction, W’17) is pleased to announce his story “Endangered Species of the Animal Kingdom” will be published in the upcoming anthology The Binge-Watching Cure (Horror Edition). Greg would like to thank Nancy Holder for shepherding this story through several drafts while he was at Stonecoast, and providing suggestions that improved the story immensely.

Catharine H. Murray‘s (Creative Nonfiction, S’17) memoir Now You See the Sky has been published by Akashic BooksNow You See the Sky will launch Ann Hood’s new imprint (Gracie Belle) that will cover the topics of grief and loss. The book has been described as “an essential recommendation for those living with loss” (Suzanne Strempek Shea, author of This is Paradise). And Rick Bass wrote, “There are images in here, gestures of love, and its hard conversations, that a reader will remember forever.” The release party will be at Print Bookstore in Portland on November 7th at 7:00 p.m. The audio book is narrated by the author and will be distributed by Tantor Media, a division of Recorded Books.

Jenny O’Connell‘s (Creative Nonfiction, S’17) piece “The Office of the Mayor of Miessi” appears in the Fall/Winter “Flight” issue of SLICE Magazine. It tells the story of time spent living among the wild men and women of the Lemmenjoki gold fields in Northern Finland during Jenny’s solo trek across Finland in the footsteps of Lappish legend Petronella van der Moer—the journey that formed Jenny’s thesis at Stonecoast. Jenny’s craft article, “Sing it Loud: A Creative Nonfiction Writer Looks to Music for Lessons on Embracing Vulnerability on the Page,” based on her third semester study of vulnerability at Stonecoast, comes out in Creative Nonfiction‘s “Risk” edition this fall. This October, Jenny begins a six-month writing residency awarded by the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation in Rockland, ME, where she hopes to finish the first draft of her book project, Finding Petronella.

Bruce Pratt‘s (Fiction, S’04) poems “Dusk: For John Stanizzi” and “Four Woodpeckers” will appear in the upcoming issue of Coal City Review. His new chapbook, Forms and Shades, will be published this month by Clare Songbirds Publishing. Bruce’s short-story collection, The Trash Detail, will be available November 1st from New Rivers Press.

An essay by Lisa Romeo (Creative Nonfiction, S’08) has been listed in the Notables section of Best American Essays 2018. Her cited piece, “An Attractive Portal to Uncertainty,” was published in the print literary journal Harpur Palate (vol. 16, # 1). Lisa’s work was also listed in BAE 2016. Lisa was recently interviewed at Writers in the Trenches, and her article, “Writing About Family and Friends in Memoir: Nine Key Questions,” appeared in LitChat. On October 13th, Lisa will be on a submission panel and part of the lit-mag-editor pitch sessions at Push to Publish Conference in Philadelphia, and on October 14th she will speak at Writers Day at Bay Path University in East Longmeadow, MA, on writing short pieces on the way to a book. She’s also leading a one-day workshop,  Submissions Smarts, with Cedar Ridge Writers Series, in central New Jersey, on October 20th. On November 1st, Lisa will teach a memoir workshop and appear on an author panel at IDEABoston, “an Italian-inspired festival of books, authors, and culture.”

CURRENT STUDENTS

Colleen Hennessy‘s (Creative Nonfiction) essay about the experience of women in Ireland with Catholicism will be published in Visions and Vocations edited by the Catholic Women Speak. The book, published by Paulist Press, will be launched on October 1st in Rome and aims to elevate the voices of excluded Catholic women for the Synod of Bishops. Colleen Hennessy’s contribution appears alongside Mary McAleese, the former president of Ireland. More information on the book can be found here.

FACULTY

The film adaptation of Tom Coash‘s (Playwriting, Dramatic Arts) short play Raghead, directed by award-winning Vermont filmmaker Nora Jacobson, will be shown at two different film festivals during October. The short film, under the title The R Word, will be shown October 14th as part of the Kansas International Film Festival (well known for their “social justice” themes). Then again under the original title, Raghead, on October 18th at the Vermont International Film Festival in Burlington, VT.

Aaron Hamburger‘s (Fiction, Creative Nonfiction) ode to the beauty of commas is in the October issue of O, the Oprah Magazine. Aaron is also giving a talk this month at the Library of Congress inspired by his article “Seven Layers of Heaven” in Tablet Magazine on the history of the seven-layer cake, with an original recipe.

Elizabeth Hand (Popular Fiction, Fiction) will be in Washington, D.C., on October 29th to moderate the Pen/Faulkner Foundation’s conversation on literary horror with Dan Chaon, Mark Z. Danielewski, and Brian Evenson. She was a judge for the Salam Award for Imagination Fiction, a tribute to the Pakistani theoretical physicist Dr. Abdus Salam and an effort to promote speculative fiction writing in Pakistan. Her article on Sarah Weinstein’s The Real Lolita, about the crime that inspired Nabokov’s novel, recently appeared in The Los Angeles Times. NPR named Hand’s novel Wylding Hall one of the 100 best horror novels and stories; the same week, Signature named her novel Generation Loss one of the 100 best thrillers of all time.

Nancy Holder (Popular Fiction) has three new publications out: (1) An adaptation of “Man-size in Marble” by Edith Nesbit for the comic book series Mary Shelley Presents. Nancy is the series writer. (2) “Domino Lady versus the Mummy” in the Return of the Monsters comic book series from Moonstone Books. (3) The short story “Nyarlathotep Came Down to Georgia” in What October Brings, from Celaneo Press.

Amanda Johnston (Poetry, Writing for Social Change) was recently featured on Koop Radio 91.7 FM Austin for People United, originally recorded in April 2018 at Resistencia Bookstore, Austin, TX. Listen here. On October 6th, at Babes Bar in Bethel, VT, she will read with Stonecoast alumna Alexis Paige from their collections Another Way to Say Enter and Not a Place on Any Map (respectively). At NYU Lillian Vernon House in New York City on October 12th, Amanda reads with Marcus Jackson and Dustin Pearson for the Cave Canem New Works Series. Then, on October 27th, at the Texas Book Festival in Austin, TX, she moderates the panel discussion Experimental Poetics with Shayla Lawson, Anastacia-Renee, and Erica Dawson. That same day, at Lit Crawl in Austin, she’ll facilitate a Black Poets Speak Out poetic demonstration at the North Door. Finally, on October 28th, Amanda hosts the TORCH Wildfire Reading Series at Bookwoman Bookstore in Austin, TX.

Elizabeth onstage at 54Below

A concert CD of Elizabeth Searle’s (Fiction, Playwriting, Popular Fiction, Scriptwriting) rock opera was released on Sept. 28th from the Grammy-award winning Broadway Records. The CD—Tonya & Nancy: Highlights from the Rock Opera—was recorded at a sold-out concert at 54Below in New York City and featured Broadway stars Ashley Spencer (Grease) and Tony-nominees Lauren Worsham (Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder) and Nancy Opel (Urinetown) as well as Tony LePage (School of Rock), directed by Grammy winner Michael J. Moritz. A CD Launch concert event will take place in NYC this Fall, details TBA. Buy the CD at Broadway Records. Updates: www.tonyaandnancytherockopera.com

The front and back covers of the CD

Suzanne Strempek Shea (Creative Nonfiction, Fiction) has chronicled her teen crush on Bobby Orr in an essay included in Idol Talk: Women Writers on the Teenage Infatuations That Changed Their Livesjust out from McFarland and co-edited by faculty member Elizabeth Searle and Stonecoast alum Tamra Wilson, and featuring an introduction by teen idol Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits. Suzanne also is booking talks she’ll do in late October and early November with Mags Riordan, subject of her book This Is Paradise: An Irish Mother’s Grief, an African Village’s Plight and the Medical Clinic That Brought Fresh Hope to Both. Any organization interested in hosting the two for a program detailing the latest work by the Billy Riordan Memorial Clinic in Malawi, which Riordan founded 14 years ago in memory of her late son in an area that previously had one doctor for 800,000 people, should contact Suzanne at sess7@comcast.net. Suzanne’s literary events in the next few months:

  • October 2nd, 7:00 p.m — Celebrating Elisabeth Wilkins Lombardo of Stonecoast’s inaugural class and the launch of her novelThe Afterlife of Kenzaburo Tsuruda,at Print: A Bookstore, in Portland, ME.
  • October 4th, 11th, 18th, and 25th — Leading Four Thursdays of Writing, nights of writing and discussions aimed at starting or restoring a solid writing habit, at Bay Path University, Longmeadow, MA.
  • October 14th — Emceeing Bay Path University’s Writers’ Day, at the university’s Ryan Center in East Longmeadow, MA. Speakers will be Jonathan Green, Karol Jackowski, Lisa Romeo, Sophfronia Scott, and Suzanne.
  • October 16th, 6:30 p.m. — Introducing SexMoneyMurder author Jonathan Green for his talk at Bay Path University’s Hatch Library in Longmeadow, MA.
  • November 3rd, 2:00 p.m. — Speaking at Worcester (MA) Public Library
  • November 15th — Reading with Elizabeth Searle, co-editor, and other contributors to Idol Talk: Women Writers on the Teenage Infatuations That Changed Their Lives, at Women’s Lunch Place, Boston

REQUESTS for ACTION

“Surely this time is unprecedented in U.S. history,” writes Rick Bass. “Sometimes we don’t realize when we are living in history—which is always—but for it to be so obvious to us now that we are, it’s hard not to imagine what people will think, looking back at this time. And what an amazing opportunity to be taking our education in Maine, working in Maine, living in Maine, part or all of the year. If you haven’t yet taken the opportunity to contact Senator Susan Collins yet with regard to Trump’s Supreme Court nomination, and to express outrage to all Republican Senators who seem to be falling over themselves to ‘plow through’ with the Kavanaugh nomination before any more assault and misconduct and scandal is uncovered, please do. Senator Collins’ contact info is: https://www.collins.senate.gov/contact/  Your letters—as citizens/residents/employees of Maine—are priceless, in these circumstances. This is one of the last tattered threads of democracy that remains, for now, wherein your letter to Sen. Collins will have disproportionate power. Please use it while you can.”

Bass is also fighting a local battle in Montana, for the protection of public lands—another of the trappings of democracy, like free speech—and asks those correspondents who contact Senator Collins to also consider putting in a word for his beloved Yaak Valley, where an international thru-hiker trail threatens the most endangered population of grizzly bears in Montana. “Send a copy please to Sen. Collins, Senator Jon Tester of Montana, and a copy to the Yaak Valley Forest Council as well.” Bass’s struggles to fight the international thru-trail—“a human highway through the bears’ last designated core habitat”—was recently profiled in a New Yorker podcast by Scott Carrier. Other information about the movement to re-route the trail in order to protect grizzlies (and hikers) can be found on the website. “Your letter doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated,” he says. “Just carry the message that any trail re-route needs to avoid all designated core grizzly habitat. THANK YOU!” He says he is even willing to waive the adverb rule in a special dispensation of gratitude. That’s how desperate it is.

 

 

 

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