Tag Archives: Jenny O’Connell

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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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 2020

FACULTY

Cara Hoffman‘s (Fiction, Popular Fiction) reporting on the uprising in Exarchia, “Dream of No Nation,” was recently published in The Daily Beast. Her long prose poem “Retouch/Switch,” part of Garth Greenwell’s KINK anthology, was recently translated and published in the polish magazine Femme. Her short story “DeChellis” will be published in the forthcoming issue of Bennington Review. Cara’s second novel for children, The Ballad of Tubs Marshfield, will be published in early November and is now available for pre-order.

Suzanne Strempek Shea (Creative Nonfiction, Fiction) will be among the 20 authors and poets featured at Old Dominion University’s 43rd annual Literary Festival, “Grit and Grace.” The series of virtual programs is free and open to the public October 4-8. Suzanne will read, speak, and do a Q&A October 8 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. EST. More information and links to all events are here.

 

ALUMS

Lindsey Barlow‘s (Popular Fiction, W’19) second novel of the Jack Harper Trilogy—Perish—was published October 13, 2020, by California Coldblood Books, an imprint of Rare Bird Books.

Peter Adrian Behravesh (Popular Fiction, W’18) can finally reveal that he sold an interactive novel to Choice of Games, which is set in the same Persian space fantasy universe as his Stonecoast thesis. Barring any unforeseen calamities (and there have been plenty of those lately), The Astralchemist’s Apprentice will be released in 2021. Peter also narrated Aimee Ogden’s story “More Than Simple Steel” for the September 24 episode of Escape Pod. You can listen to it here.

Carina Bissett (Popular Fiction, S’16) has a dinosaur robot story in the anthology Triangulation: Extinction, which was published by Parsec Ink in August. She also takes a look at giraffes as a critically endangered species in the story “An Authentic Experience,” which also came out in August in the anthology WILD: Uncivilized Tales from Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.

Ed Boyle’s (Fiction, W’09) story “The Keeper of the Marsh” was recently published in Scarlet Leaf Review.

Kathy Briccetti (Creative Nonfiction, W’07) recorded a two-minute Perspective on San Francisco’s KQED public radio about her experiences working on the 2020 Census. She is currently shopping the novel she began after graduation, a story about an American family set in the tumultuous early months of 1968, an electrifying time of riots, political upheaval, protests, sexual revolution, feminism, and rock and roll.

KT Bryski (Popular Fiction, W’16) has a story in this quarter’s Apparition Lit: “The Gorgon’s Epitaphist” will be available to read on October 15. As well, join her on YouTube October 21 for this month’s ephemera reading series. Sarah Pinsker, Waubgeshig Rice, and Khashayar Mohammadi will read works on the theme of “Light.”

Darcy Casey (Fiction, W’19) has a new story in Yemassee‘s monthly spotlight. Her novel-in-progress, Pity-Heart, was long-listed for Retreat West’s Best Opening Page competition in September 2020.

Brenda Cooper‘s (Fiction, S’17) novel The Making War will be out from WordFire Press on October 7th. This the fourth and final book in an award-winning series that begins on a colony planet where six genetically altered children start their lives as spoils of war. Hugo and Nebula award-winning author Nancy Kress said, “The Making War is technologically inventive without ever losing sight of the human heart. A satisfying end to Cooper’s series.”

Anthony D’Aries‘s (Creative Nonfiction, W’09) story “An Honest Pain” was accepted by Flash Fiction Magazine. Anthony also recently signed with the Philip Spitzer Literary Agency for his novel.

Lauren M. Davis (Poetry, S’15) celebrates the publication of her poem “The Flowers You Brought Back from Italy” in Wrath Bearing Tree’s Spring 2021 issue.

Julie C. Day (Popular Fiction, S’12) is thrilled to announce she will be reading alongside Cadwell Turnbull on October 27th at 7:30 p.m. EST as part of the Strange Lights SFF Reading Series. Originally planned to take place at Book Moon, the reading will be a virtual event. Follow the series on Facebook for pre-registration links.

The Lady of the Cliffs, Book Two of The Bury Down Chronicles series by Rebecca Kightlinger (Fiction, W’14), will be released on November 1, 2020, by Rowan Moon.

“The Art of Honorable Grieving” by Cynthia Kraack (Fiction, W’10) ran in the September 19 Saturday Evening Post. In other news, 40 Thieves on Saipan by Joseph Tachovsky and Cynthiareleased June 2 by Regnery History, has sold out its first run.

Under the name S.M. Mack, Sarah Mack’s (Popular Fiction, S’19) essay “On Bearing Witness in Pat Barker’s The Silence of the Girls was published as part of the Sirens conference 2020 summer essay series. It is an examination of the necessity of sitting with painful realities and connects a book that re-centers the Iliad on Briseis, enslaved and abused by Achilles and Agamemnon, to present-day injustices and crises.

Ellen Meeropol (Fiction, W’06) has a new essay about art, fiction, and life, in the inaugural issue of NOW, the journal of the Hobart Festival of Women Writers. And, for those Stonecoasters interested in politically engaged fiction, Ellen will be part of a panel titled The Personal and the Political: Writing the Social Protest Novel on October 29 at 6:30 pm. The event includes Andrew Altschul, Sanderia Faye, and Tina Egnoski. Details and registration link here.

Jenny O’Connell (Creative Nonfiction, S’17) took a leap into the world of libretto writing! “The Sky Where You Are,” commissioned by An Opera Theatre of Minneapolis and composed by Maria Thompson Corley, is an eleven-minute opera that sheds light on advocacy and domestic violence during quarantine. Written in collaboration with Women’s Advocates of Minnesota, the first domestic violence shelter for women in the U.S., it will premiere nationally October 23rd as part of the Decameron Opera Coalition’s “Tales from a Safe Distance.” Get your tickets here! Jenny is glad for this unexpected return to her musical roots, and excited to explore new ways to be a writer for change in the world.

Lisa Panepinto (Poetry, W’13) has two poems in the new Littoral Books anthology: Enough! Poems of Resistance and Protest.

A new essay, “Notes From the Father Field,” by Lisa Romeo (Creative Nonfiction, S’08), appears in the August issue of Adelaide Literary Magazine (published in New York and Lisbon).

Morgan Talty‘s (Fiction, W ’19) short story “The Blessing Tobacco” has been nominated for Best of the Net 2020 by TriQuarterly. “The Blessing Tobacco” was also featured in Literary Hub: The Best of the Literary Internet. His short story “Food for the Common Cold” will be published in the Fall 2020 Issue of Narrative Magazine.

Gina Troisi‘s (Creative Nonfiction, W’09) flash fiction piece, “After the Boston Marathon Bombing,” was just published in Gemini Magazine.

Marco Wilkinson (Creative Nonfiction, S’13) began teaching as a Visiting Assistant Professor at James Madison University in Fall 2020. He will also be a guest faculty member in the Antioch MFA Program for their Winter 2020 session.

 

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Community News & Updates May 2020

ANNOUNCEMENTS

STONECOAST MFA VIRTUAL WRITING SERIES
In an effort to connect our community and continue learning together from afar, Stonecoast is launching a monthly writing session led by a faculty member or guest instructor! Aaron Hamburger (Fiction, Creative Nonfiction) kicked off our first session in April with a fantastic Mindfulness and Creative Writing class. We are thrilled to present Susan Conley (Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Writing for Social Change) on Monday, May 18th, with “Voice Across Genre: Tone and Pitch and How to Really Say What You Are Feeling,” followed by Justin Tussing (Stonecoast Director) on Monday, June 8th, with a pre-residency generative writing session.

Information and Zoom links will be distributed to current students and faculty via email, and to the greater community via the Stonecoast Portland Meetup group and the Friends of Stonecoast MFA Facebook Group. If you are unable to access any of these platforms, email Special Projects Coordinator Jenny O’Connell (jennifer.a.oconnell@maine.edu) to be added to the list.

You can also receive weekly writing prompts from faculty on the Stonecoast Facebook Page.

 

CURRENT STUDENTS

Natalie Harris-Spencer (Fiction) has been selected by Oyster River Pages for publication under their “Emerging Fiction Voices” category, established to showcase new writers who are just beginning to submit their work to journals. Her short story “Fish Out of Water” will be published in the Fourth Annual Issue of Oyster River Pages, due Summer 2020 (publication details to follow). ORP is a literary journal that embraces the reality that the personal has become the political and actively seeks to publish those who bring balance and diversity to historical institutions of power.

Nina Lichtenstein (Creative Nonfiction) recently had another piece up on the Brevity blog about how the lockdown has provided her with a much welcomed focus on writing, stripped of the otherwise regular and non-essential diversions. She has also embarked on a new project and is looking for contributors: If you know someone who is a Jew by choice, the planned anthology Our Stories, Our Tribe: Personal Essays by Converts to Judaism is looking for diverse voices in essays between 1500-4000 words. Email Nina (nblichtenstein@gmail.com) if you would like a copy of the Call for Submissions to share.

 

FACULTY

Elizabeth Searle (Fiction, Playwriting, Popular Fiction, Scriptwriting) was happy that her novel We Got Him was chosen to be featured in April on Snowflakes in a Blizzard, which highlights books by Indie press writers. As noted in this piece, We Got Him, which was published by New Rivers Press, is also out in a 2018 audiobook version—published and narrated by star Stonecoast alumna Tanya Eby and her audiobook company, Blunder Woman Productions.

 

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, won a Special Jury Mention from the ÉCU—The European Independent Film Festival in Paris, and an Honorable Mention from the USA Film Festival’s International Short Film & Video Competition in Dallas, Texas.

Jennifer Marie Brissett (Popular Fiction, S’11) made a guest post called “The Sophomore Book” about writing her next book on Fantasy Cafe for Women in SF&F Month. She also had a new poem published by The Free Library of the Internet Void called “Remember.” And AAWW Radio posted Breaking into Speculative Fiction, a panel discussion with Jenn and Malka Older, moderated by Tim O’Connell.

j brooke’s (Poetry, S’19) essay “Hybrid” was the Nonfiction Winner for Columbia Journal’s Womxn’s History Month Special Issue.

Renee S. DeCamillis (Popular Fiction, W’14) is excited to announce that she has found a means to get out and share her book The Bone Cutters during this pandemic. From May 11 to June 11, Renee is doing an online book tour, where her work will be featured on 50+ blogs. There will be a video reading, an interview, an excerpt or two, as well as free giveaways. Here is the link to find out how and where to check it all out. Stay safe, everyone!

teri elam’s (Poetry, S19) poetry manuscript was recently named a semi-finalist for the Two Sylvias Press Wilder Prize. During April, a film based on her poem “Butterflies” premiered during Visual Poetry Project’s online film celebration of National Poetry Month.

Andrea Lani (Fiction, W’14) was thrilled to have her essay “Faith in a Seed,” about motherhood and the extinction and rebirth of the American chestnut tree, published in the current issue of Spire: The Maine Journal of Conservation and Sustainability.

Alison McMahan‘s (Popular Fiction, W’10) short story “Harlem in Havana” was released April 7, 2020, in the anthology The Beat of Black Wings: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Joni Mitchelledited by Josh Pachter, published by Untreed Reads. Anthology authors Alison, Alan Orloff, and Elaine Viets taught a class on Writing Suspense via Zoom on April 26, 2020.

Ellen Meeropol (Fiction, W’06) and Robin Talbot (Stonecoast Associate Director) invite the Stonecoast community to a Virtual Book Event at PRINT Bookstore in Portland on May 13, 2020, at 7:00 pm. Co-hosted by Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance (MWPA) via Zoom, Ellen will read from her new novel, Her Sister’s Tattoo, and talk with Robin. To register, visit here or here.

John Christopher Nelson‘s (Fiction, S’15) stories “Sola Fide” (originally featured in the summer 2016 issue of Able Muse), “Avoidance,” and “Meaning As Use” are all featured as the fiction portion of Lights, the inaugural issue of Pleasure Boat Studio‘s new zine, available as a free PDF. John also read his story “Good Friday,” originally featured in Volume VI of The New Guard, on Good Friday for West Seattle’s own Pegasus Book Exchange.

Jenny O’Connell‘s (Creative Nonfiction, S’17) recent tribute to the late, great Ryan West—which doubles as an ode to the ultimate frisbee community—was published in Ultiworld magazine. Her essay “Valley of the Bulls” won the 2019 Appalachia Journal Humor in the Wild Contest, and is now available in print. An outdoor contributor for Maine Magazine, Jenny’s profile on camp owner and adventurer Chloë Rowse was published in March, and she has a forthcoming feature on ice climbing in Maine later this year. In April, Jenny signed with agents Jamie Chambliss and Steve Troha of Folio Literary Management, who will represent her book project, Finding Petronella

Suri Parmar (Popular Fiction, W’17) was recently awarded a media grant from the Ontario Arts Council for her experimental short You’re Smart, her first foray into non-narrative filmmaking. While production is presently on hold due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, she hopes to complete her film in the following year.

Three short pieces from sid sibo’s (Fiction, W’19) in-process collection Familiar: Stories have been awarded the Neltje Blanchan Memorial award from the Wyoming Arts Council for best writing “informed by a relationship with the natural world.” Two other stories from the collection have earned Honorable Mentions, one of which, “Bull,” will be published online in Cutthroat magazine. The pen name can be traced to Stonecoast 2019 alum sidney woods.

Patricia Smith’s (Poetry, S’08; former faculty member) poem “Now He’s an Etching” appeared in The Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day email for Thursday, April 16th.; the poem can be read and heard on the poets.org website.

Jacob Strunk (Fiction, W’07) was featured in April’s Voyage LA, an online magazine celebrating the artists and eccentrics that define Los Angeles. The profile features no revelatory bombshells, but there are some fun photos.

Lisa C. Taylor (Poetry, S’04) will have upcoming poetry published in Lily Poetry Review and Soul-Lit. Her book review of Rebecca Foust’s The Unexploded Ordnance Bin was published in Mom Egg Review in April. Lisa’s short story “Lucky” was shortlisted in the 2020 Fish Short Fiction contest, judged by Colum McCann. She has been a mentor through the AWP W2W program this spring, working with a fiction writer from Georgia. And Lisa will have a new collection of poetry published by Arlen House/Syracuse University Press in the spring of 2021.

Rhiannon J. Taylor’s (Popular Fiction, S’19, writing as R. J. Howell) dark fantasy/horror story “What You Lost in the Wildermere” has been published by Arsenika in their sixth issue. Additionally, her story “Parasites” is forthcoming from Frozen Wavelets.

As reported by Locus, Erin Underwood (Popular Fiction, S’09) won the 2020 Down Under Fan Fund (DUFF), which sends a fan from North America to CoNZealand, the 78th Worldcon. Paul Weimer, the North American DUFF administrator, said, “With ConZealand being a virtual Worldcon this year and Corvid-19, Erin will not be traveling to New Zealand this year, but hopes to travel to Australasia in the DUFF tradition in 2021, health and world events permitting.” Erin will also take over from Weimer as the new North American administrator.

Marco Wilkinson (Creative Nonfiction, S’13) is now the nonfiction editor at The Los Angeles Review. He is looking for fresh, engaging essays; in particular at this moment, he’d love to read about life during COVID-19. You can submit here.

 

 

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Community News & Updates January 2020

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

ANNOUNCEMENTS

News from Stonecoast
Join the Stonecoast MFA community for a week of inspiring readings and discussions with Stonecoast’s award-winning faculty and guest writers, January 10-13th and 15-18th at the historic Harraseeket Inn in downtown Freeport, Maine.

The weeklong series includes flash faculty and guest readings, a conversation on the possibilities and perils of adapting one’s work for the stage, and a discussion of the inaugural WISE common text. The residency concludes with the Winter 2020 graduation ceremony.

A detailed schedule of the week’s events and readers can be found here.

CURRENT STUDENTS

In November, Nina B. Lichtenstein (Creative Nonfiction) was invited to Ottawa, Canada, to give a book talk on the occasion of the International Memorial Day for Jewish Refugees from Arab Lands. It was in connection with the recent publication of her translation from French to English of the novel For the Love of the Father by French-Tunisian-Jewish writer Chochana Boukhobza. Nina is also happy to share that her essay “Ink Stains and Blood Stains: The Spring of My Becoming” has been accepted for publication in the forthcoming Hippocampus anthology tentatively titled “INK” due out in 2020.

FACULTY

Tom Coash‘s (Playwriting, Dramatic Arts) play Raghead will be produced in North Hollywood by Actors Workout Studio, as part of their terrific TABOO Festival January 10 – February 8, 2020.

Aaron Hamburger‘s (Fiction, Creative Nonfiction) novel Nirvana Is Here is now available as an audio book!

Elizabeth Hand (Popular Fiction, Fiction) sold a stand-alone psychological thriller, Baby Go Bang, to Mulholland Books/Little, Brown. Her novel Generation Loss has been optioned by British production company Fremantle.

Cara Hoffman‘s (Fiction, Popular Fiction) children’s novel Bernard Pepperlin was a Kirkus Best Book of 2019 and Audiofile’s Best Audio Book of the Year.

Broadway icon Andrea McArdle (the original Annie) will star in a new 2020 production of Elizabeth Searle’s (Fiction, Playwriting, Popular Fiction, Scriptwriting) Tonya & Nancy: The Rock Opera. The production is being fully produced by longstanding Equity theater TheaterZone and is opening on February 6, 2020; it was featured in two recent articles in Broadway World. Further productions and a possible tour are in the works for 2020/2021; see the website for updates.

ALUMS

Elisabeth Tova Bailey’s (Creative Nonfiction, S’15) film short adaptation of her memoir The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating heads next to the Wild & Scenic Film Festival (CA), Victoria Film Festival (BC), and Kinofilm 16th Manchester International Short Film Fest (UK). The film also received a Jury’s Choice Award from the Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival, which tours throughout 2020.

Carina Bissett (Popular Fiction, S’18) is a finalist for the NESFA Short Story Contest. The story she submitted was one of the first pieces workshopped at Stonecoast with David Anthony Durham. The winners will be announced at BOSKONE 57 in February.

Linda Buckmaster (Creative Nonfiction, S’11) has had her essay “Alibi Bar, 1968” published in Atticus Review‘s “Super Unknown. Stories About Songs” series. Two of her poems have appeared in The Comstock Review, one in the Spring/Summer issue and one in the Fall/Winter. She has been awarded a writing residency in May at NES in Skagastrond, Iceland, to work on her current project—a literary journey across the North Atlantic. From there, she will go on to the Hebrides. She and Elizabeth Garber (Creative Nonfiction, ‘10) were on a panel at the WORD Conference in Blue Hill, Maine, with Jaed Coffin discussing the ethics of memoir.

Julie C. Day‘s (Popular Fiction, S’12) piece “Flyover Country” can be found in the January/February issue of InterzoneFirst lines: “Lovers are like flash floods, car collisions, aneurysms: always a possibility but never exactly expected. A small-plane pilot for AeroFix Corp, Sam arrived in my bed via a tray of purple pansies and a convoy of trucks intent on invading the Verona Municipal Airport.” Richard Wagner created the amazing illustration. This will be Julie’s 7th story with Interzone and her 8th with TTA Press.

Lesley Heiser (Fiction, S’11) was thrilled to see her essay “Rose” up on Diagram this past year. She wishes all Stonecoasters the very best for 2020.

Veda Boyd Jones (Fiction, S17) has an essay in the January-February issue of Good Old Boat, available at newsstands now.

Mike Langworthy (Creative Nonfiction, W’11) is co-writing dialogue and lyrics for Take The High Road, a musical produced in Denver during 2020. The show will combine repurposed melodies from musical theater and popular music with an original story of a real estate developer who locks horns with, and falls for, a community activist fighting his attempts to build a resort in her idyllic mountain town. The show is being produced by Magic Moments, a company that for over thirty-five years has created large-cast, high-quality musical productions that give performers with a broad range of special needs, both physical and developmental, opportunities to work alongside seasoned professionals. Rehearsals begin in January for performances in late March 2020.

Fiona Lehn (Popular Fiction W’15) has a new speculative novella, Lift-Off, published by Devine Destinies. Click here to read more about the project and here to view the book trailer.

Kristin Leonard‘s (Fiction, S’18) poetry was published in Maine’s Best Emerging Poets 2019 anthology. Her short story, “Jason’s Daddy,” was published in The Showbear Family Circus.

The Thomas Memorial Library in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, will host Catharine H. Murray (Creative Nonfiction, S’17) on January 11th from 1:00-3:00 p.m. for Writing the Stories of Your Life, a free workshop on writing memoir. Catharine will then offer a Six-Week Series for Women at the Good Medicine Collective from January 13th to February 17th; Writing to Heal will incorporate small group support, instruction and practice for using writing as a way to move through loss. On January 26th from 9:00 a.m. to noon, Catharine will join with Deb Cook to offer Winter’s Deep Peace Practice: Yoga Nidra and Writing, a morning of deep rest and integration. Participants will move from Yoga Nidra into a quiet hour of meditative journaling supported by prompts and guidance.

Mary Heather Noble (Creative Nonfiction, W’14) is pleased to share that her long-form essay, “Plume: An Investigation,” will be published in the January 2020 issue of True Story. The essay was started during her time at Stonecoast and has been modified from her Stonecoast thesis.

Jenny O’Connell’s (Creative Nonfiction, S’17) flash nonfiction piece “How to Sleep in an Airport,” published last spring in Hippocampus, has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize! This November, she spoke about positive risk-taking and her 2014 solo trek across Finland to a packed Camden Opera House at Midcoast Pecha Kucha night. You can watch her speech here.

Bruce Pratt (Fiction, S’04) has poetry in or forthcoming from The Cafe Review, Coal City Review, and Connecticut River Review and anthologies from Main Street Rag and Flying Ketchup Press. On January 25, Bruce will be offering a seminar entitled “Creating Your Novel in Ninety Minutes” at the Blue Hill Library; this is open to the public but limited to twelve participants. Contact Hannah Cyrus at the library for more information. Bruce will also be teaching a seminar for Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance at the Cobscook Community Learning Center in Trescott on February 29 from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. on learning to inhabit your fictional characters. Contact Hannah Perry at MWPA for details.

Sean Robinson (Popular Fiction, W‘14) doesn’t have much on the writing front, but just completed a Certificate of Graduate Studies in Educational Leadership and is now certifiable (exactly) as a school principal. He was also recently accepted into the Harvard Principal’s Center for a Certificate in School Management and Leadership. He has also, also, been accepted to a residency at the University of Washington’s Olympic Natural Resources Center this April. While he’s delighted, it all sounds way fancier than it is, he promises.

Patricia Smith, former faculty member and member of the Stonecoast 2008 class in poetry, has been named a Distinguished Professor for the City University of New York, the highest rank in the state’s university system.

Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam‘s (Popular Fiction, S’13) story “Where You Linger” will appear in the January/February issue of Uncanny Magazine.

Morgan Talty‘s (Fiction, W ’19) short story “The Blessing Tobacco” will be published this January in TriQuarterly. The story will also be excerpted in Literary Hub: The Best of the Literary Internet. 

Darlene Taylor (Fiction, W’17) received an award for a fellowship grant as an individual artist in literary arts from the DC Commission on Arts and the Humanities. She is completing research and writing that expands her short story “Piper’s March” into a novel (“Piper’s March” was published in Kweli Journal in 2018). In other news, Darlene will moderate a panel during the 2020 AWP Conference in San Antonio, Texas. The panel also features Breena Clarke of Stonecoast and authors Rion Amilcar Scott, Jacinda Townsend, and Crystal Wilkerson. The authors will discuss how fiction writers use historical imagination to create characters from little-known histories. “They Must Have Felt: Imagining Emotional Landscape and Place” is scheduled for Friday, March 6, 2020, from 12:10-1:25 p.m. in Room 205, Henry B. González Convention Center, Meeting Room Level.

Lisa C. Taylor (Poetry, S’04) was honored to be a part of a holiday reading in Orleans, MA, on December 27th with Tom Daley, Christine Jones, and J. Barrett Wolf, music by Jordan Renzi, sponsored by Voices of Poetry. Lisa has officially named her workshop offerings Whitewater Writing. She will offer an all-day writing retreat with a catered lunch on January 4th in Connecticut—snow date: January 11. This retreat is nearly full but contact Lisa if you are interested. Lisa is a fiction editor and interviewer for Wordpeace, an online magazine created by Lori Desrosier (the founder of Naugatuck Review). In the upcoming issue, Lisa interviewed Maida McKenna, founder of Word Scientists, a literacy organization in Nepal; and Kevin Brodie, an award-winning playwright who is currently working on a play about American Indian Schools directly related to time spent on a Shoshone reservation with his grandfather. This issue should be out in late February or early March. Lisa also writes book reviews; her latest review was on Look Look Look by Calista Buchen (Black Lawrence Press) and appeared in the Mom Egg Review in December. Western Stonecoasters: Lisa and her husband Russ will be moving to Colorado (near Durango) in late summer 2020. She would love to organize some readings and make contact with writers who live in that area. Finally, Lisa will be at AWP in San Antonio March 4-8 and would also like to meet up with Stonecoasters.

Melanie Viets (Creative Nonfiction, W’17) is pleased to share some of her efforts guest editing “Root Mapping” at The Learned Pig. Published features include new work from Rick Bass (Faculty: Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Writing for Social Change) and in January, a new essay by Catharine Murray (Creative Nonfiction, S’17). Submissions are welcome as the journal series continues in 2020.

 

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Community News & Updates November 2019

ANNOUNCEMENTS

ALUMNI RESIDENCY WORKSHOP: A CROSS-GENRE WORKSHOP IN FICTION AND CREATIVE NONFICTION

This January, Stonecoast is offering a personalized writing experience for our Alumni.  Held in conjunction with the Stonecoast winter residency, Susan Conley will lead workshops that get alums to immerse in their writing within a peer setting again. Participants will generate new work as well as discuss old work. It is our hope that you will get to see your writing from new vantage points and that you’ll leave the residency feeling inspired. The conference fee includes four 2.5 hour workshop sessions, plus full access to all presentations, seminars, readings, pop-up classes, reception, and special events. You’ll also get a one-on-one meeting with New York agent Stephanie Koven.

  • Dates: January 10-January 14, 2020
  • Cost: $650.00 workshop fee, plus room and board (~$750 for 4 nights) or commuter fee ($285). Includes daily lunches and afternoon tea at the Harraseeket Inn.
  • Contact Jenny O’Connell to reserve your spot! There are only 8 slots available, and we expect this workshop to fill quickly.

STONECOAST AT AWP

Do you plan on attending the 2020 AWP conference (March 4-7) in San Antonio? Contact Special Programs Coordinator Jenny O’Connell to be added to the list of attending Stonecoasters! As part of the new Stonecoast WISE (Writing for Inclusion and Social Equity) Initiative, all Stonecoast students, alumni, and faculty are invited to a WISE reading and discussion in San Antonio. Time and location TBD. We hope to see you there!

FACULTY

Tom Coash’s (Scriptwriting) play Thin Air has recently been published by Brooklyn Publishers. His play Raghead will be produced in Bronx, NY, as part of the Urban Waves Festival by the Open Hydrant Theater Company, November 11-17.

John Florio (Creative Nonfiction, Popular Fiction, Writing for Social Change) writes about sports, crime, and social issues. In October, he wrote a feature for ESPN’s The Undefeated: Red Sox’s Raquel Ferreira Breaks Through Baseball’s Glass Ceiling. He also recently signed a two-book YA deal with Macmillan Children’s Group. The first will tell the controversial story of Sacco & Vanzetti, two Italian anarchists wrongly convicted of murder and later executed in Boston, MA.

Aaron Hamburger (Fiction, Creative Nonfiction) has been awarded an arts and humanities fellowship from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities for 2020. The award, which supports individual artists who achieve excellence in the arts, was given on the basis of several selections from Aaron’s novel Nirvana Is Here. Also, Aaron will be presenting Nirvana Is Here at the National Press Club Book Fair on November 1st in Washington, DC.

Elizabeth Hand’s (Popular Fiction, Fiction) novel Curious Toys has received rave reviews from The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Review of Books, and CrimeReads, among others, and was named one of the Ten Books You Must Read Now by Oprah Magazine.

Jim Kelly (Popular Fiction emeritus) has been active in his retirement from Stonecoast. His short story “Selfless” appears in the current issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine and is featured in the Asimov’s Spotlight podcast in which Jim reads the story in its entirety. His novelette “Grace’s Family” was published last month in The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2019 Edition. A new standalone novella, King of the Dogs, Queen of the Cats, is forthcoming in January from Subterranean Press in print  and Blackstone Publishing in audio. The novelette “The Boyfriend Experience” will be published in the Twelve Tomorrows anthology from M.I.T. Press this summer, and the story “The Man I Love” is slated for later in 2020 in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. When you read this, Jim will be in in Beijing as a guest of the Chinese government at the fourth annual China Science Fiction Conference (November 2-3), where he will give a presentation on teaching science fiction writers at Stonecoast and other programs.

Robert Levy’s (Popular Fiction) ghost story “The Vault of the Sky, the Face of the Deep” is included in Come Join Us By the Fire, a free audio anthology to celebrate the launch of Nightfire, a new horror imprint from Tor Books. More information about the anthology and the imprint can be found here.

Elizabeth Searle (Fiction, Playwriting, Popular Fiction, Scriptwriting) and A Four-Sided Bed, her script in development as a feature film, were featured in the October issue of Imagine Magazine, a longtime publication for the New England Film Community. In other film news: Four-Sided, the short film based on Elizabeth’s novel, won Best Experimental Short and second place as Best Narrative Short in Vegas Movie Awards, and the short film is a Semi-Finalist at Blow-Up: The International Art-House Film Fest, along with having screenings upcoming at festivals in Pittsburgh and Chicago. Elizabeth’s feature script A Four-Sided Bed won Best Dramatic Screenplay at Vegas Movie Awards and was selected for a Best Scenes short reading at the Romance Film Festival.

Imagine Magazine‘s feature article on Elizabeth and A Four-Sided Bed

 

ALUMS

Peter Adrian Behravesh (Popular Fiction, W’18) has accepted a full-time position as an editor for Seven Seas Entertainment, the #1 independently owned manga publisher in North America. He will be at the World Fantasy Convention in L.A. from October 31st to November 3rd, where he will moderate the “Mixing Genres” panel (Friday, November 1st, at 1:00 p.m.) and appear on the “Beyond Castles, Horses and Knights: Non-Eurocentric Fantasy” panel (Saturday, November 2nd, at 12:00 p.m.).

Nancy Holder (Popular Fiction faculty) and Debbie Lynn Smith Daughetee (Popular Fiction, S’04) would like to announce that Kymera Press is launching a Kickstarter in January 2020 for their title Mary Shelley Presents. The Kickstarter is to fund the printing of a trade paperback of all four issues (Nancy is the author and Debbie is the publisher). We hope you’ll help support us bringing back the voices of Victorian women horror writers in a unique and artful way.

Jess Flarity (Popular Fiction, S’18) has been accepted to present a paper on space Jesuits at this year’s Northeast Modern Language Association conference in Boston (NeMLA). The paper is titled “Glory to the Machine God: Tech-priests as Future Jesuits in the Warhammer 40k Universe” and might be included as part of his PhD thesis on the intersection of science fiction and philosophy. Space Jesuits and Habermas! What a time to be alive.

Zachary Jernigan

Zachary Jernigan (Popular Fiction, W’11) has sold History of the Defeated, a novella, to LGBTQ+-focused publisher Lethe Press. In creative-adjacent news, he’ll also be appearing on the live taping of Nicole Byer’s (Netflix’s Nailed It!) podcast Why Won’t You Date Me? on November 14th at Tempe Improv in Tempe, AZ. Zack can be found on Twitter at @CriticalJams.

Clifford Royal Johns (Popular Fiction, W’18) will be on the schedule for Windycon, a Chicago area SF convention (November 15-17), as follows:

  • Panel: Commerce in Space Opera — Friday, November 15th, 6:00-7:00 p.m. in Mueller Grand Ballroom G
  • Panel: Ask a Scientist — Saturday, November 16th, 1:00-2:00 p.m. in Lilac C
  • Chicago-SF Book discussion: Ringworld by Larry Niven — Saturday, November 16th, 3:00-4:00 p.m. in ISFiC Suite – Room 1612
  • Writers Workshop Moderator: Sunday — Sunday, November 17th, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in ISFiC Suite – Room 1612
  • Panel: Memorable Space Opera Settings — Sunday, November 17th, 1:00-2:00 p.m. in Mueller Grand Ballroom H

Veda Boyd Jones (Fiction, S’17) has several articles in the 2020 Harris’ Farmer’s Almanac on newsstands now. This year’s Christmas romance novella, The Christmas Parade, is now available on Amazon. Favorable reviews welcome. 🙂

Teacher/Pizza Guy, the new poetry collection by Jeff Kass (Fiction, S’09), was recently reviewed by The Ann Arbor Observer. Jeff will be reading on Wednesday, November 6th, at Nicola’s Books in Ann Arbor, MI, and on Wednesday, December 5th, at The White Plains Public Library in White Plains, NY.

Alan King (Poetry, W’13) is looking for reviewers for his audiobook Drift, now available on Audible. He has promo codes for review copies (US and UK). Those interested should contact him at alanw.king@gmail.com. Please add “DRIFT Audiobook Review” in the subject line.

Tom MacDonald‘s (Fiction, W’09) short story “Nashua River Floater” will be published next June in Coast to Coast Noir, a crime anthology edited by Paul D. Marks and Andrew McAleer.

Ellie O’Leary (Poetry W’17) has a poem “We Were a Family of Five When I Coughed” in the anthology The Hands We Hold: Poetry Concerning Breast Cancer.

Suri Parmar‘s (Popular Fiction, W’17) short film Skin Deep, based on her screenplay and directed by Ryan Couldrey, recently won second prize at Port Horror Festival’s short film showcase. Her short film Rialia also premiered at the CineFAM Film Festival, and her short script Vomit Comet was featured in a live staged reading at Toronto Cold Reads.

For the second year running, Cynthia Furlong Reynolds (Fiction, ‘12) won a journalism award in the annual Writers’ Digest Writing Competition. The first was for “Ginger Takes A Stand: A Life Lived With Polio,” the second “DNA Discoveries: Home Ancestry Tests are Rewriting Family Trees.” (Despite her commitment to finishing the novels she started at Stonecoast, Cynthia still loves writing for magazines.) In addition, Cynthia has had two non-fiction books published recently: The Purple Rose of Chelsea: Jeff Daniels and His Theater and Reach!, a business manual written for meta-franchiser John Rotche.

Two poems, “are you against me Boss” and “it’s dark outside Boss by J. Stephen (Steve) Rhodes (Poetry, W’11), will appear in the forthcoming issue of Christianity and Literature. These poems are part of a new series of psalm-like poems inspired by Maurice Manning’s collection, Bucolics.

Lisa Romeo (Creative Nonfiction, S’08) was recently interviewed by Nonfiction Reads. She’d love to see Stonecoast folks at I AM BOOKS, in Boston, on Saturday, November 9th, at 6:00 p.m., when she’s reading along with (fellow Stonecoast alum) Anthony D’Aires (Creative Nonfiction, W’09) and New Hampshire poet/author Jennifer Militello.

Kathleen Sullivan (Poetry, ’06) has co-edited a book to be published this November by Littoral Books called A Dangerous New World: Maine Voices on the Climate Crisis. The book is an anthology of essays and poems by Maine writers on the topic of the climate catastrophe we are facing and can be purchased online, after November 15th, at Littoralbooks.com. On December 8th at 2:00 p.m. at Space, we will hold a publication party, and Kathleen would like to invite the Stonecoast community. Intended both as a work of art and as a call to action, the hope of the editors is that it wakes people to the enormous potential and already arrived losses a fossil fuel dependent world promises and, in the awakening, that people will be moved by their love for this place we call home to act. Kathleen has also had a poem, “Mrs. C and the Social Worker,” published in Cafe Review‘s Fall 30th Anniversary issue.

Darlene Taylor (Fiction, W’17) received an individual artist grant from the DC Commission on Arts and the Humanities. The merit-based grant supports her work as a literary artist during Fiscal Year 2020.

The Killing Moon, a novel written by Allister Timms (Popular Fiction, ’13) during his time at Stonecoast, was published on Halloween by PS Publishing, the UK’s foremost genre publisher.

 

 

 

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Community News & Updates June 2019

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Public Events for the Summer 2019 Stonecoast Residency

You are invited to join the Stonecoast MFA community for a week of inspiring readings and discussions with Stonecoast’s award-winning faculty and guest writers, June 24-26 and June 28-July 1, at the historic Harraseeket Inn in downtown Freeport, Maine. See the full list of events HERE.

FACULTY

Tom Coash’s (Playwriting, Dramatic Arts) play Veils will be at the Daylesford Theatre in Hamilton, Bermuda, May 30-June 8, 2019.

Aaron Hamburger‘s (Fiction, Creative Nonfiction) novel Nirvana Is Here is here! Aaron’s currently on book tour, and so excited to see Stonecoasters at every stop along the way. (Thanks for all the support!) Check out his full tour schedule for June, when he’ll be hitting Seattle; San Francisco; Portland, OR; Washington, DC; the St. John’s Writing Intensive in Annapolis; and of course Portland, ME—where he’ll be teaming up with alum Dave Patterson at Print Bookstore on June 26th at 7:00 p.m. Be there or be square! Nirvana received a rave review from Foreword Reviews, which featured it as their book of the day. In non-Nirvana news, Aaron published a viral memoir essay in Tablet (“Day School Bullies”) as well as a new short story (“Kimono Story”) in The Maine Review.

Amanda Johnston (Poetry, Writing for Social Change) has two events in June:

  • June 2 at 7:30 p.m. — Amanda will read at A Womb of One’s Own, a literary rally and fundraiser in support of reproduction rights at Spider House Ballroom in Austin, TX.
  • June 15 at 6:30 p.m. — The Center for African American Poetry and Poetics presents Won’t You Celebrate with Me: Poetry and Prose from the Director’s ChairJoin award-winning poets and writers Dawn Lundy Martin (Center for African American Poetry and Poetics Director), Nicole Sealey (Cave Canem Executive Director), Salamishah Tillet (Founding Director at New Arts Justice Initiative at Express Newark), and Mahogany L. Browne (Artistic Director at Urban Word NYC), who will share their work and engage in a discussion moderated by Amanda Johnston (Executive Director at Torch Literary Arts). Presented in partnership with the Kelly Strayhorn Theater in Pittsburgh, PA.

The Governor of the State of Iowa appointed Debra Marquart (Creative Nonfiction, Poetry, Writing for Social Change) Iowa’s Poet Laureate in May of 2019.  Marquart was interviewed about the honor on Iowa Public Radio on May 23. Debra delivered a paper, “Looking for Dylan,” on the invited panel “Poets & Professors: Poets Talking Back to Bob” at the 2019 World of Bob Dylan Symposium held by Tulsa University’s Institute for Bob Dylan Studies (30 May–2 June 2019). On May 11th, she taught a Creative Jumpstart Workshop at the Elbow Lake Arts Council in Elbow Lake, MN. During the North American Review 50th Anniversary Conference at the University of Northern Iowa, 19-21 April 2019, Debra read her poem “Kablooey is the Sound You’ll Hear” at the Bullets into Bells Anthology Reading. She also participated in an invited panel, “What We Write About When We Write About Environment.” And on April 5th, Debra performed with her performance poetry band, The Bone People, for Coffeehouse Night at Lowe Park, Marion Arts Council, Marion, IA.

Elizabeth Searle (Fiction, Playwriting, Popular Fiction, Scriptwriting) has film news. Four-Sided, a short film based on Elizabeth’s novel and feature film script, premiered May 17th in Cannes, France. Four-Sided screened as an Official Selection at the 2019 That Film Festival-Cannes. This competition—funded by several major film companies and running concurrently with the Cannes Film Festival—screens short films with potential to be Feature Films. Four-Sided was also an official selection at Independent Shorts competition where it won three prizes: Gold Awards as Best Romance and Best Experimental short and a Silver Award as Best LGBT short. It is a Semi-Finalist at the 2019 Shanghai PRIDE film festival. Attached as star and co-producer to the potential feature film, and starring in the short film, is actress and activist in the Transgender community Rain Valdez (Transparent; Lopez; Razor Tongue). Four-Sided was produced by David Ball (producer on over thirty films) and Amy Carpenter Scott/CreatrixFilms as part of their ongoing development of A Four-Sided Bed as a feature film. Elizabeth’s feature script of A Four-Sided Bed has been selected for two full staged readings at the 15th annual ReelHeART Film and Screenplay Festival in Toronto in July, starring Rain Valdez. Elizabeth’s feature script was also selected for a ‘Best Scene’ reading in mid-July at the festival LGBT TORONTO. And the script is an official selection at the Top Indie Films Festival, among eight recent festivals recognizing the script. Visit the new website for both the short film and the feature film project.

ALUMS

The book trailer for Lindsey Barlow’s (Popular Fiction, W’19) first novel, Pivot, is available. Pivot will be published in October of this year.

Peter Adrian Behravesh (Popular Fiction, W’18) narrated Vajra Chandrasekera’s story “When Leopard’s-Bane Came to the Door of Third Heaven” for the May 28th episode of PodCastle. You can listen to it here.

Julie C. Day‘s (Popular Fiction, S’12) piece “Flight Aids Minus the Wings and Fuselage” can be found in the web journal Necessary FictionShort, visceral, and experimental, it doubles as an unofficial advisory from the US Department of Internal Disarmament.

Renee S. DeCamillis (Popular Fiction, W’14) is thrilled to announce that she is now a part of the Crystal Lake Publishing team, working as an editorial intern. She is also excited to announce her book launch event for her debut book The Bone Cutters. This event is scheduled for Thursday, September 5th at 7:00 p.m. at Longfellow Books in Portland, Maine. Not only will Renee do a reading from her horror novella, but there will also be original artwork inspired by her book—art created by Emily Strickland and Jasin Chapman, artists and owner of Leviathan Tattoo in Scarborough, Maine—on display and for sale, as well as on some free giveaways. Live music will help set the mood, performed by the extremely talented local guitarist Shaun Reehl. Stonecoast’s own Elizabeth Searle will also take part in the event as Renee’s MC/Introduction Queen. The release date for Renee’s debut book, The Bone Cutters, a bizarro horror novella published through Eraserhead Press, is September 1, 2019, though pre-orders have begun at Barnes & Noble and on Amazon. And for those interested, you can check out the first book review by Miranda Crites on Kendall Reviews. Here is the synopsis for The Bone Cutters:

Dory wakes up in the padded room of a psychiatric hospital with no recollection of how she wound up there. She soon finds out she’s been Blued-Papered—involuntarily committed. When she is sent to the wrong counseling group, she discovers a whole new world of drug addicts she’d never known existed. When she learns that those grotesque scars they all have are from cutting into their own bodies, it makes her skin itch. Why do they do it?—They get high off bone dust.  They carve down to the bone, then chisel and scrape until they get that free drug. When they realize Dory’s never been “dusted”, she becomes their target. After all, dust from a “Freshie” is the most intense high, and pain free—for the carver.

By the end of that first meeting Dory is running scared, afraid of being “dusted”, though the psych. hospital staff doesn’t believe a word she says.  She’s delusional—at least that’s what they tell her.  They end up sending her to that same counseling group every day, though Dory knows that all those junkie cutters want is what’s inside of her, and they won’t give up until they get what they’re after.

Like Girl Interrupted and “The Yellow Wallpaper,” The Bone Cutters is one woman’s dark and surreal experience with a madness that is not necessarily her own.

Elizabeth Garber (Creative Nonfiction, W’10) placed in the Eric Hoffer Awards, which honor the memory of the great American philosopher Eric Hoffer by highlighting salient writing, as well as the independent spirit of small publishers. Her memoir Implosion: A Memoir of an Architect’s Daughter has been named a Finalist in the 2019 Eric Hoffer Book Awards.

Cindy Williams Gutiérrez’s (Poetry, W’08) second poetry collection, Inlay with Nacre: The Names of Forgotten Women, was released by Aquarius Press/Willow Books on April 1st. The collection was awarded the 2018 Willow Books Editor’s Choice Poetry Selection and the 2016 Oregon Literary Fellowship for Writers of Color. Cindy’s new verse play, In the Name of Forgotten Women (based on her new collection), was performed at Wellspring, a ceremonial gathering space in Twisp, WA, to sold-out audiences in Washington’s Methow Valley on May 15th and 16th.

Veda Boyd Jones (Fiction, S’17) has sold an essay about her first time sailing on their used boat Wrinkle in Time to Good Old Boat, a magazine for hands-on sailboat owners.

Michael L. Joy’s (Popular Fiction, S’13) short story “Nick Break” is available now at Tough Crime.

Alan King (Poetry, W’13) created a short video on how he marketed his manuscript without an agent and without book contests. You can watch it here.

Linda Lambert (Creative Nonfiction, W’16) features Aaron Hamburger‘s visit to Seattle’s Third Place Books where he will be talking about his new novel Nirvana Is Here.

Kristin Leonard (Fiction, S’18) has been named Lit Fest’s 2019 Dramatic Writing Fellow for Emerging Writers. She is also presenting her research “First-Person Fictional Storytellers & Virginia Tufte’s Artful Sentences: Syntax as Style” at the Pennsylvania College English Association at Bloomsburg University.

Adam Mills (Popular Fiction, W’12) has accepted the position of Visiting Assistant Professor in English at Brevard College in Brevard, NC, started in Fall 2019. Mills’s full position is Coordinator of First-Year Writing and Writing Services and he will also serve as Coordinator of the Common Read. Mills also recently graduated from the University of Kansas with a Doctor of Philosophy degree in English (Spring 2019).

Julia McKenzie Munemo (Creative Nonfiction, S’16) is thrilled to announce the publication of The Book Keeper: A Memoir of Race, Love, and Legacy, available now for pre-order. The book chronicles a time decades after Julia’s father committed suicide, when she learned about his secret career during the pulp fiction boom of the ’60s and ’70s as a writer of interracial pornographic novels. After hiding that stack of old paperbacks from her Zimbabwean husband, their mixed-race children, and herself for years, she realized her obligation to face them if she was ever going to understand her legacy, her country’s treasonous history, and her whiteness.

Jenny O’Connell (Creative Nonfiction, S’17) is a finalist for a 2019 Maine Literary Award (short works, nonfiction) from Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Her debut flash nonfiction piece,“How to Sleep in an Airport,” was published last month in Hippocampus Magazine.

Mary Heather Noble (Creative Nonfiction, W’14) is pleased to announce the inclusion of her essay “Things I (Shouldn’t) Have to Tell My Daughters” in the new anthology Feminine Rising: Voices of Power & Invisibility, edited by Andrea Fekete and Lara Lillibridge. The anthology brings together women of all races, nationalities, and sexual orientations to reflect on the unique experience of womanhood. Feminine Rising was released by Cynren Press in May 2019 and is available at Cynren Press, Amazon, and select independent booksellers.

On June 26th, Dave Patterson (Fiction, W’13) and Aaron Hamburger are doing an event together at Print in Portland to celebrate the release of their new novels.

Bruce Pratt‘s (Fiction, S’04) poem “The First Cold Rain Since Spring” will appear in the next issue of The Connecticut River Review, and his short story “Ariel in LOve Summer 1999” has just been published by Valparaiso Fiction Review.

Shannon Ratliff (Creative Nonfiction, S’16) is celebrating her first anniversary as Director of Editorial and Growth at Wide Open Media Group in Austin, TX. She’s used her Stonecoast skills, from analyzing creative work to building educational seminars, to develop a team of 20+ writers and editors, growing readership from 8M to 23M monthly readers.

Morgan Talty’s (Fiction, W’19) short-short story “In a Jar” was published in Narrative Magazine as a Story of the Week.

Christopher Watkins (Poetry, W’08) has accepted the role of Senior Creative Writer for Silicon Valley-based artificial intelligence company DataVisor. The company focuses on the application of advanced AI and machine learning capabilities to the challenges of modern digital fraud and crime. Watkins’ move follows a nearly four-year tenure as Senior Writer and Chief Words Officer for online learning company Udacity.

Faculty member Elizabeth Searle and alumna Tamra Wilson (Fiction, S’11) are pleased that the teen idols anthology they co-edited is a finalist for the 2019 Eric Hoffer Book Award for Short Story/Anthology. Idol Talk: Women Writers on the Teenage Infatuations that Changed Their Lives was published last year by McFarland & Company. Hoffer Awards honor freethinking writers and independent books of exceptional merit. On May 10-11, several Idol Talk contributors converged in Newburyport, MA for a dance-enhanced reading at the Firehouse Center for the Arts. “Idol Talk: A Magical Memory Tour of Teen Idols” was emceed by writer/actress Marianne Leone. The two-night collaboration featured Exit Dance Company performers as well as readings of work by Stonecoast faculty member Suzanne Strempek Shea and alumnae Lee J. Kahrs, Kate Kastelein, Michelle Soucy, Darlene Taylor and Tamra Wilson. Joining them were New England authors B. A. Shapiro, Mary Granfield, Caitlyn McCarthy, and Mary Sullivan.

Stonecoast “Idol Talkers” (from left): Lee J. Kahrs, Michelle Soucy, Tamra Wilson, Elizabeth Searle, Darlene Taylor, and Suzanne Strempek Shea

 

 

 

 

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Community News & Updates May 2019

ANNOUNCEMENTS

One Voice: Stonecoast’s 2nd Annual Open Mic
May 7th, 2019

Celebrate the greater Stonecoast MFA literary community at our second annual One Voice open-mic event, Tuesday, May 7th, 7:00 p.m. at Oxbow Blending and Bottling in Portland’s East End. Sign up here to share a three-minute reading of your original work. (Space is limited, so reserve your spot now!) Free and open to the public. Oxbow’s locally brewed craft beer will be available for purchase during the event, and there are a number of local dining options nearby. Bring your friends! For more info and to RSVP, click here. Contact Stonecoast MFA Community Outreach Coordinator with questions: Jenny O’Connell at jennifer.a.oconnell@maine.edu.

Call for Submissions: Climate Anthology
Deadline: May 31st
Now it is up to the artists. The scientists have warned us. They have been warning us for fifty years. But we have only 12 years to dramatically reduce our current carbon use before we cross the line into unprecedented climate catastrophe. We—Meghan Sterling and Kathleen Sullivan (Poetry, ’06)—are editing an anthology of Maine poets and essayists whose writing will, we hope, wake us, stir our imaginations both for our global future and our way of life here in Maine. We are looking for writing which helps find language for the fear, guilt, and grief of this moment, and, perhaps, for the hope. Published and unpublished work sought. Littoral Press has agreed to publish the book which we hope will be in Fall, 2019. The voices of youth most welcome. Send one essay (max 1,000 words) or up to three poems to: climateanthology@gmail.com Include a short bio. Deadline is May 31st. Kathleen notes that Stonecoast alums are encouraged to submit even if they don’t live in Maine now.

FACULTY

Tom Coash’s (Playwriting, Dramatic Arts) play Raghead will be part of the Downtown Urban Arts Festival at the Wild Project NYC, May 9th at 8:00 p.m. His new short play Bubble, Bubble will be part of the fun and fabulous Boston Theater Marathon XXI, Boston, May 19th.

Aaron Hamburger‘s (Fiction, Creative Nonfiction) new novel Nirvana Is Here is being released on May 14th. Readings and events are planned this month in New York, DC, Detroit, Chicago, and Baltimore (and next month in Seattle; San Francisco; Portland, OR; Annapolis; and Portland, ME). Click here for the complete schedule. Be sure to get your copy at your favorite indie bookstore! Aaron’s essay on Kurt Cobain’s gay rights legacy was in The Washington Post. And his piece about “Lessons I Learned in Writing My #MeToo Story” was posted on the Submittable blog.

Elizabeth Hand (Fiction, Popular Fiction) is the subject of a feature podcast on This Is Horror, discussing music, folk horror, the English folk tradition and her award-winning novella, Wylding Hall. Her Cass Neary books were recently named as one of the top ten hipster crime novels at CrimeReads, and also among the top eight queer crime novels featuring women at Autostraddle, the world’s most popular lesbian website.

Elizabeth Searle (Fiction, Playwriting, Popular Fiction, Scriptwriting) has film script news: she won a 2019 Los Angeles Film Award in April for her screenplay A Four-Sided Bed, adapted by Elizabeth from her novel. In the past month, Elizabeth’s recently completed script has also been chosen as one of two feature film scripts to be presented at the 15th ReelHeART International Film Festival in Toronto, which Elizabeth will attend in July. In addition, the script was named an Official Selection at the Script Summit festival in Las Vegas and a Finalist at the Indie Visions Film Festival as well as in the Los Angeles Film & Script Festival. A Four-Sided Bed is being developed as a feature film by two producers, David Ball (producer on over thirty films including the recent Tag; the award-winning 96 Minutes, starring Evan Ross and Britney Snow; and Yellow) and Amy Carpenter Scott/Creatrix Films (Pitstop). More news coming soon on this film development project. In May, in addition to the Idol Talk theater event (see Tamra Wilson note below), Elizabeth has a second theatrical event in May: she will be a featured Storyteller at the fundraising event Stories I Haven’t Yet Told, an Arlington, MA, fundraiser for RIA House, which “supports women who have experience in the commercial sex trade and its associated exploitation, trafficking and prostitution,” on May 29th at the Regent Theater at 7:00 p.m. For updates, including on Idol Talk onstage, see: http://www.elizabethsearle.net

ALUMS

Jillian Abbott (Popular Fiction, S’04) had two op-eds published in The New York Daily News last month: “Sri Lanka and the Burdens of History” mentions her MFA creative thesis, and “CUNY’s Teachers Get Stiffed” talks about the MFA and life trapped as an adjunct.

Elizabeth Beechwood (Popular Fiction, S’14) is pleased to announce that her short story “Yes, Yes, Yes, We Remember” was published in Third Flatiron’s Hidden Histories Anthology. This is the second story she’s had published that’s set in her fictional world of the Vysoké Tatry—the High Tatra Mountains of Slovakia.

Karen Bovenmyer (Popular Fiction, S’13) is excited to be a guest at StokerCon (May 9-12) where she will speak on the panel “Rise of the Pod(cast) People” about her job as Assistant Editor of PseudoPod. She’s also serving on “Writing to Prompts: Prose, Poetry, and Sources of Inspiration.” On Saturday, she’ll be the game master for four authors playing Bedlam Hall, a macabre Victorian role-playing game (think Downton Abbey for horrible people). Come watch us play! It’s guaranteed to be good times. Starting in May, Karen is also teaching a twelve-week online creative writing class for Western Technical College. She welcomes Stonecoasters who want some online teaching experience to pair up with her as mentees. Viva la Stonecoast!

Jennifer Marie Brissett (Popular Fiction, S’11) has made a good deal for two-books at auction with Tor. Eleusis, the first of the two books, is a stand-alone sequel to her first novel Elysium (Aqueduct Press, 2014) and is due to be published in Summer 2020.

Linda Buckmaster (Creative Nonfiction, S’11) is attending a two-week residency in Cove Park, Scotland. She will be working on her latest hybrid literary project inspired by cultures in along the North Atlantic Rim.

Penny Guisinger‘s (Creative Nonfiction, S’13) latest piece ran at Solstice this month. “Borne Back Ceaselessly” explores her longtime relationship with the work of F. Scott Fitzgerald through the lens of a thing they shared: alcoholism. (Hint: he was dead at 44. Currently, Penny remains not-dead.)

Gail Hovey (Creative Nonfiction, S ’11) is pleased to announce that her story “Lost Change” appears on the Brooklyn Non-Fiction Prize blog. It is an excerpt from her memoir What Goes by the Name of Love. 

Jeff Kass‘ (Fiction, S’09) upcoming new poetry collection Teacher/Pizza Guy is now available for pre-order from Wayne State University Press’ Made in Michigan Series. According to the press release, the book is “a collection of autobiographical poems from the 2016–17 school year in which Kass worked as a full-time English teacher and a part-time director for a literary arts organization and still had to supplement his income by delivering pizzas a few nights a week. In the collection, Kass is unapologetically political without distracting from the poems themselves but rather adds layers and nuances to the fight for the middle class and for educators as a profession.” David Hecker, President of the AFT Michigan Teacher’s Union, adds, “I never really cared for poetry, but I truly loved Kass’s work. He speaks to all of our insecurities and vulnerabilities, giving a voice to what we want to say but rarely do. Yes, teachers are struggling to get by financially and it’s a shame that education is not being made a higher priority in our society. Thank you, Jeff, for opening the door to this conversation in a creative and enriching way.” Poet Ross Gay says, “What a beautiful and moving and funny and un-heroic and angry and tender and honest book of poems about labor, aging, love, and, as Kass says, finding ‘meaning in every ice patch on the sidewalk.’ This book’s heart is enormous. I love it.” Official release of the collection happens on August 26th. Pre-orders are available here.

Lissa Kiernan‘s (Poetry, S’11) book Glass Needles & Goose Quills: Elementary Lessons in Atomic Properties, Nuclear Families, & Radical Poetics (Haley’s) has been selected as a 2018 Gold Nautilus Award Winner in the Lyric Prose category and a 2018 Gold Independent Book Awards Winner in the Cross-Genre category. In her book, Kiernan juxtaposes nuclear plant industry reports, newspaper clippings, and texts of poetics with her own poems and prose.

Alan King (Poetry, W’13) created a short video on his final reading as the Howard County Literary & Poetry Society’s 2018/19 Writer-in-Residence. You can watch it here.

Tom MacDonald (Fiction, W’09) and two other local authors held a panel about their new novels as well as their writing and publishing experiences at the Thayer Public Library in Braintree, MA, on April 27th.

Cristina Perachio (Fiction, S‘14) will have her short story “Hunters” published in the May issue of EPOCH Magazine. She is very pleased to see this story placed in Cornell’s literary magazine as it is one of the stories she originally wrote as part of her Stonecoast application, and it has been workshopped by many fellow Stonecoast students and professors.

Bruce Pratt (Fiction, S’04) will read at The Busy Bee in Cape Elizabeth, ME, on Saturday, May 25th, at 4:00 p.m. as part of the series curated and hosted by Marcia Brown.

Sean Robinson (Popular Fiction, W’14) is pleased to share that his essay “More than Brothers,” a look at LGBT characters in Harry Potter (hint: there’s only two, sort of), was accepted for the Academic Track at WorldCon this August in Dublin, Ireland. He has also been awarded a grant from the Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation to spend the month of July in Rome, Italy.

Lisa Romeo (Creative Nonfiction, S’08) will be the keynote speaker at the NJ Women Who Write Conference in Madison, NJ in September, and in August at the Hippocamp19 Conference for Creative Nonfiction Writers in Lancaster, PA, she will lead a session on Reading as a Writer and appear on a panel about Writing While Parenting.

Nikki Sambitsky‘s (Creative Nonfiction, W’18) essay “Chester Bennington is Dead” was recently selected for publication in The Manifest-Station by founder Jennifer Pastiloff and editor Angela M Giles. The essay uses anaphora as a device to help Nikki deal with the sad and untimely death of Linkin Park’s lead singer, Chester Bennington, to suicide, as well her own clinical depression and suicidal thoughts. Nikki uses unconventional and hybrid forms to help her tackle the deeply difficult and grief-filled issues in her life such as depression, family dysfunction, and her children’s autism. This is the second essay that has been published from her larger essay collection Perseverate, Linger, which has been submitted to PANK and Sarabande Books and is eagerly awaiting a decision. A link to the published essay is forthcoming.

Lisa C. Taylor‘s (Poetry, S’04) 2011 collaborative collection, The Other Side of Longing (with Irish writer Geraldine Mills), was adopted by an Irish Literature class at University of Connecticut for the 2019 spring semester. Both Lisa and Geraldine had a chance to visit the class on April 11th and discuss their summer together in Ireland in 2009. Lisa will be teaching an all-day fiction class for the School of the West in Mancos, Colorado (right near Mesa Verde National Park), on June 15th. Anyone can sign up via this link. Also, Lisa has been chosen as a reader for the Connecticut Author’s Trail; she will be reading at Chaplin Library in Chaplin, CT, on August 12th at 7 p.m.

Faculty member Elizabeth Searle and alumna Tamra Wilson (Fiction, S’11) are heading up a special reading, Idol Talk: A Magical Memory Tour of Teen Idols, on May 10th and 11th at the Firehouse Performing Arts Center, Newburyport, MA. Show time is 8:00 p.m. both nights. The reading, featuring dance numbers and readings from Idol Talk, a teen idols anthology that Searle and Wilson co-edited for McFarland Publishing in 2018. Actress Marianne Leone will emcee the fundraiser for Exit Dance Company and Firehouse PAC. Among the Stonecoasters participating are faculty member Suzanne Strempek Shea and the works of several alumnae including Lee J. Kahrs, Kate Kastelein, Michelle Soucy, and Darlene Taylor.

 

 

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Community News & Updates March 2019

CURRENT STUDENTS

After some winter residency prepping growing pains (read trauma), and mixed-genre “Extreme Workshop” epiphany, Nina B. Lichtenstein (Creative Nonfiction) wrote about the importance of reading outside our genre instead of doing her qualitative residency response. Happily for her, Brevity picked it up for their blog on the craft of writing.

FACULTY

The film version of Tom Coash‘s (Playwriting, Dramatic Arts) short play Raghead, directed by award-winning Vermont filmmaker Nora Jacobson, will be shown at the Bermuda International Film Festival in March 2019. Coash founded the popular Famous For 15 Minutes New Play Festival in Bermuda and continues to be an active part of the Bermuda Arts community.

Ted Deppe‘s (Poetry, Coordinator of Stonecoast in Ireland) seventh book of poems, Riverlight, has just appeared from Arlen House in Ireland. It will take six months or so before Syracuse University Press assumes distribution rights in the US. Until then, anyone wanting a copy can send $20 to Ted and receive a signed copy. Mailing address until 1 May 2019 is Ted Deppe, PO Box 914, Trinidad, CA 95570.

David Anthony Durham’s (Fiction, Popular Fiction) Roman vampire story, “Kneeling Before Jupiter,” is included in the anthology Unfettered III: New Tales from Masters of Fantasy, from Grim Oak Press, edited by Shawn Speakman (March 19). David appears in the anthology beside authors such as Terry Brooks, Lev Grossman, Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson, Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson, Robin Hobb, Mark Lawrence, Seanan McGuire, Naomi Novik, Robert V.S. Redick, Carrie Vaughn, and Tad Williams.

John Florio (Creative Nonfiction, Popular Fiction, Writing for Social Change) has two books due out. War in the Ring: Joe Louis, Max Schmeling, and the Fight Between America and Hitler will be released by Macmillan Children’s Group on May 1, 2019. One Nation Under Baseball: How the 1960s Collided with the National Pastime will be re-released in paperback on April 1, 2019. Also, his essay on the first African-American world billiards champion, Cisero Murphy, will be published by ESPN on its website The Undefeated on March 6, 2019.

Aaron Hamburger‘s (Fiction, Creative Nonfiction) novel Nirvana Is Here has received a glowing review in Foreward Reviews: “A nostalgic, wrenching depiction of a youth in crisis whose sensitive, unsparing movements spark with realism… A tender self-reckoning, Nirvana Is Here brings the past full circle. Hamburger deftly reveals how incidents recede—even if they leave their mark—to bring new hopes into focus.” Check out the full schedule of his 10-city book tour here. Also, on Saturday, June 8, Aaron will be teaching a workshop on “Going to Extremes: How to Handle Scenes of Sex, Violence, Drugs, Ecstasy, and Other Intense Experiences” at the Fifth Annual Spring Writing Intensive at St. John’s in Annapolis.

Nancy Holder (Popular Fiction) will be a guest at two Australian Supanova comic conventions in April: Melbourne from April 5-7 and Gold Coast from April 12-14. She will be representing the new Sherlock Holmes anthology Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Was Not with her editor Christopher Sequeira, as well as other authors, for IFWG Publishing. The link is here.

Amanda Johnston (Poetry, Writing for Social Change) was recently elected to serve as interim president of the Cave Canem Foundation Board of Directors effective March 31, 2019. A 501-c-3 non-profit literary service organization with administrative and programming headquarters in Brooklyn, NY, Cave Canem has grown from a gathering of 26 poets to become an influential movement with a renowned faculty, high-achieving national fellowship of over 400 and a workshop community of 900. Read the full announcement here. On March 2, 2019, Amanda will facilitate her workshop Empathy in Craft as part of the Sunstar Festival in Pittsburgh, PA, at Kelly Strayhorn Theatre. Amanda will be at the following panels and readings during the 2019 AWP Conference in Portland, OR:

  • March 28 – 6:30 p.m.: Women Writers in Bloom Reading with Amanda Johnston, Naa Akua, Lauren K. Alleyne, Keisha-Gaye Anderson, Wendy Angulo, Nívea Castro, JP Howard, Anastacia Renee, Kimberly Reyes, Alberta Abbey, 126 NE Alberta St, Portland, Oregon 97211
  • March 28 – 7:00 p.m.: Affrilachians at the Heathman with Amanda Johnston, Frank X Walker, Ellen Hagan, Shayla Lawson, Randall Horton, Crystal Good, and Mitchell L. H. Douglas, Heathman Hotel, 1001 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97205
  • March 29 – 6:30 p.m.: The Resistance is Femme (AF) Reading with Amanda Johnston, Patricia Smith, Ada Limón, Denice Frohman, and Anastacia Renée, Powell’s Books, Inc. (Powell’s City of Books) 1005 W Burnside ST, Portland, Oregon 97209
  • March 30 – 6:00 p.m.: Argus House Press Reading with Amanda Johnston, Teneice Durrant, Anastacia Renée, JR Toriseva, Angst Gallery, 1015 Main Street, Vancouver, WA 98663
  • March 30 – 3:00 p.m.: Panel: 21st Century Innovations in Poetic Form with Amanda Johnston, Jaimee Hills, Dora Malech, Kimberly Ann Southwick, Jaimie Gusman, E146, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Elizabeth Searle’s (Fiction, Playwriting, Popular Fiction, Scriptwriting) Tonya & Nancy: The Rock Opera was performed in concert version to a full house at the Lucille Lortel Theater in New York City on February 4, produced in association with Abingdon Theatre Company, drawing coverage in three features in Broadway World, including a “Photo Flash” feature of the show, as well in a feature plus a photo slideshow of the performance in Playbill.

Elizabeth and Tonya & Nancy composer Michael Teoli

Becca Kotte as ‘Tonya’ and Sara Jean Ford as ‘Nancy’ onstage at the Lortel Theater in NYC

Suzanne Strempek Shea (Creative Nonfiction, Fiction) is delighted to have booked Stonecoast alum Melanie Brooks for “Four Wednesdays of Writing” at Bay Path University in Longmeadow, MA. The four weekly sessions (March 20, 27, April 3 and 10 from 6:00 to 9:15 p.m.) will focus on Melanie’s essential book, Writing Hard Stories, and will provide a compassionate and supportive space for participants to engage in reading and writing exercises that begin peeling back the layers of their experiences and will help them uncover the powerful stories they have to tell. To register, click here. Also, Suzanne was honored to have her literary fairy godmother, Elinor Lipman, author of the newly released novel Good Riddance, include Suzanne’s first novel, Selling the Lite of Heaven, in this piece on books with happy endings.

Robert V.S. Redick’s (Popular Fiction) new story, “Thasha’s Cure for Cabin Fever,” will be published March 19, 2019, in the anthology Unfettered III from Grim Oak Press. The story is a return (for the first time in seven years) to the world of Robert’s Chathrand Voyage Quartet epic fantasy series.

ALUMS

On March 16, Lew Andrada (Popular Fiction, W’17) will present his academic paper “Nick Joaquín and the Tropical Gothic: How Magical Realism Explores Philippine Family Politics and Legacies” at the 40th Annual International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts (ICFA) in Orlando. He’s looking forward to hanging out with fellow Stonecoasters at the conference!

Peter Adrian Behravesh (Popular Fiction, W’18) will be presenting his paper “Mischief in Her Heart: Female Empowerment in the Persian Fantastic” at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13, at the 40th International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts. He will also be chairing an academic panel, “Global Canons and Mythologies,” at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 14.

Anthony D’Aries (Creative Nonfiction, W’09) was invited to present two seminars on memoir and dialogue at the 2019 Cape Cod Writers Conference, August 1-4. Anthony will also meet with participants in one-on-one manuscript consultations.

Julie C. Day‘s (Popular Fiction, S’12) story “Bluebeard’s Surrender” can be found in the anthology Gorgon: Stories of Emergence alongside fellow Stonecoaster Carina Bissett (Popular Fiction, S’18) and many other other fantastic writers. “Bluebeard’s Surrender” is about snakes, disastrous friendships, and the dreams of teenage girls.  Looking toward the future, in a exciting turn of events, Julie’s standalone novella, The Rampant, will be released this fall as a paperback and ebook by Aqueduct Press:

The Rampant is a queer-girls-in-love, coming-of-age short novel that involves a Sumerian Rapture in Southern Indiana. It’s also an intense narrative ride that is, by turns, harrowing, heartbreaking, and darkly funny.

Christianity it turns out got a whole lot of things wrong. It’s ten years since the hordes of old-world Sumerian gods, the Anunna and Anunnaki, arrived to kick off the end of the world. Massive tornadoes, tsunamis, government collapse: it all started out so strong, but the Rampant, the final herald of the apocalypse, failed to show. Both people and gods have had to adjust.

Sixteen-year-old friends Emelia Bareilles and Gillian Halkey have spent most of their childhood in a world filled with the echoes of lost friends, eviscerated family members, and dwindling hope. The world is an ugly broken place. Their only option is to travel to the Netherworld, collect the Rampant, and finally kick off the Rapture.

Riffing on fragments of historical text, including the Epic of GilgameshThe Rampant uses and refutes the known details and rules of the Sumerian underworld. As they travel through the lands of the dead, Emelia and Gillian meet loved ones and strangers trapped in a system they didn’t create. Each step makes them more determined to help create a better, godless world. In the end this is a story about the inequities of power, human self-determination, and the various ways in which we love each other.

Terri Glass (Poetry & Creative Nonfiction, S’13) will be reading with others at a reception for the anthology Fire and Rain: EcoPoetry of California at AWP in Portland, OR, on Friday, March 29, 6:30-8:00 p.m. Morrison Room, Level 1, Portland DoubleTree Hotel. She would love to see any faculty or fellow alum there.

C-SPAN’s BookTV featured the Black Author Breakfast Party on its channel. Alan King (Poetry, W’13) was among those who presented at the event on February 1. This event kicked off the African-American Read In series for Black History Month. Here’s a clip of Alan reading his poemHere’s the full video.

Ellen Meeropol (Fiction, W’06) is pleased to announce that she has sold her fourth novel, tentatively titled Her Sister’s Tattoo, and expects publication in spring 2020. She will be moderating a panel at AWP in Portland titled “Better Later? Success and the Late Blooming Woman Author.”

On March 22, Catharine H. Murray (Creative Nonfiction, S’17) will speak at the Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville. In their workshop “Lives in Upheaval,” she and author Judy Goldman (Together) will discuss lives overturned by illness, mishap, grief, and how one survives and continues to live and love. In February, Catharine’s memoir, Now You See the Sky, was at the top the Portland Press Herald’s Best-seller list for Nonfiction.

You are invited to join Jenny O’Connell (Creative Nonfiction, S’17) as she reads from Book One of Finding Petronella, her nonfiction book about walking across Finland in the footsteps of Lappish legend Petronella van der Moer, on March 29 at Lincoln Street Center in Rockland, ME. The reading marks the culmination of Jenny’s six-month artist residency with the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation, and will be featured alongside the art and performances of three fellow artists. Free and open to the public! Details here.

Anne Britting Oleson (Poetry, W ’05) will have her third novel, Tapiser, published on March 1 by B Ink Publishing. B Ink also published The Book of the Mandolin Player in 2016 and Dovecote in 2017. Tapiser is also dedicated in part to Rebecca Bearden Welsh (Creative Nonfiction, W ’05).

Kelsey Olesen (Popular Fiction, W’17) will present her academic paper, titled “Demon Husbands and Magic Kings: Controlling Relationships in Uprooted and Spinning Silver,” on Saturday, March 16, at 2:00 p.m. as part of the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts in Orlando, Florida. Her paper will examine authorial responsibility and analyze the romantic relationships in both novels through a feminist lens.

Much news from Bruce Pratt (Fiction, S’04):

  • On Saturday, April 20, at 2:00 p.m. at The Bangor Public Library, Bruce will be reading from and signing copies of his new short story collection The Trash Detail and new poetry chapbook Forms and Shades. This event is free and open to the public—no reservations are necessary.
  • On Thursday, April 25, he will be part of the afternoon and evening-long Poet/Speak at The Bangor Public Library. This yearly gathering of dozens of poets and many more dozens of fans is also free and open to the public. Curated with care by Kathleen Ellis, this event includes established poets, emerging poets, student poets and, when available, the local Poetry Out Loud winners. Light refreshments, too. Always a fun and friendly gathering. Contact the library for exact times and details.
  • On Saturday, April 27, Bruce will join friends and fellow songwriters Cormac McCarthy, Stan Sullivan, and Jim Mercik for a very special reunion concert and tribute at The Roaring Brook Nature Center in Canton CT. In addition to playing their own songs and reading from books and manuscripts, each will perform a song by their late friend and fellow musician Bill Morrissey. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and reservations may be made by calling 860.693.0263 during regular business hours. Expect surprise musical guests and perhaps a writer and a poet or two.
  • On May 25, Bruce returns to The Busy Bee333 Ocean House Road in Cape Elizabeth, for the wonderful series managed by former Portland Poet Laureate Marcia Brown (Poetry, S’04), where he will read from The Trash Detail. The program begins at 4:00 p.m. and will also feature a poet. Great place to grab some food and a beverage to enhance the experience.

Lisa Romeo (Creative Nonfiction, S’08) developed a new course, “Reading as a Writer,” she’s now teaching for Bay Path University’s MFA program, where she’s been Thesis Director for several years. Lisa will present a workshop on revision during the Montclair (NJ) Literary Festival on March 24. Her essay “How to Keep Loving Your Spouse: 30 Years of Small Gestures and Good Sex” was published on Valentine’s Day in Together Magazine.

Nikki Sambitsky (Creative Nonfiction, W’18) is back teaching again at the amazing Storyteller’s Cottage in Simsbury, CT! This time, she will be teaching writers how to be fearless in their writing. The workshop will go over some beautiful, strong, powerful essays by Genevieve Hudson, Mary Ruefle, Marcos Santiago Gonsalez, Julia A. Cohen, Michele Filgate, and others, and discuss what makes both the essays and the writers fearless, ways in which these writers approached difficult subjects, how they wrote about the topics they did, as well as literary devices, forms, and structures that enabled the writers to gain emotional depth and power in their writing. During the second half of the workshop, students will use what they’ve learned from studying these essays to craft fearless work of their own. This workshop is recommended for any writer who has been having trouble getting to the heart of an issue and is finding that they’ve been writing around a difficult situation. “Unapologetically Fearless” will run on Saturday, March 16, from 12:00-4:00 p.m. For more information, click this link.

Gina Troisi‘s (Creative Nonfiction, W’09) memoir The Angle of Flickering Light was a finalist for the 2018 Autumn House Press Full-Length Contest in Nonfiction. Her flash nonfiction piece, “Suicide Note,” was published in Iron Horse Literary Review‘s NewsFlash Series. Her essay “Nowhere Else But Here” recently received an Honorable Mention for American Literary Review‘s 2018 Nonfiction Contest.

Tamra Wilson (Fiction S’11) has a short story, “Church Camp,” accepted for the Spring 2020 issue of Trajectory, a Kentucky-based journal. On March 8 in Raleigh, she is keynote speaker at the NC State Conference of Colonial Dames XVII Century, sharing excerpts from Idol Talk: Women Writers on the Teenage Infatuations That Changed Their Lives, an anthology that she co-edited with Elizabeth Searle in 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

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Community News & Updates February 2019

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Iota: Short Prose Conference is now open to students and alumni of Stonecoast MFA. (Applications don’t open for everyone else until February 8!) The creation of Stonecoast graduate Penny Guisinger (Creative Nonfiction, S’13), Iota will stage on Campobello Island from August 16-19, 2019, with faculty Arielle Greenberg and Richard Blanco. Iota is also thrilled to partner with Stonecoast again this year on offering a full scholarship to one writer from rural Washington County, Maine.

FACULTY

The French edition of JJ Amaworo Wilson‘s (Fiction, Popular Fiction, Writing for Social Change) novel Damnificados (Les Dévastés), translated by Camille Nivelle, was published in January by Les Editions de l’Observatoire. The book was reviewed the same week by Le Monde, which described it as “extraordinary … and magical.”

Tom Coash (Playwriting, Dramatic Arts) recently recorded a podcast of his short play Raghead for The American Playbook library to be released later in 2019. Coash has also recently received a Johnny Mercer Foundation fellowship to work on a new musical, entitled Wild Sound, at the Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals, February 2019.

Susan Conley’s (Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Writing for Social Change) new novel Elsey Come Home (Knopf, January 2019) is an Oprah Magazine “Ten Best Winter Reads,” an Amazon Books “Best Book of the Month,” a Marie Claire Magazine “Best Women’s Fiction of 2019,” a Huffington Post “61 Books We’re Looking Forward to for 2019,” a Southern Living Magazine’s “Best New Books Coming Out Winter 2019,” Washington Independent Review of Books “Sixteen Titles We’re Watching,” a Read it Forward’s “Best Books of the first-half of 2019,” and a Fodors Travel “Best Travel Books for 2018.” The book was also recommended by Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Library Journal’s “Pre-Pub Pick,” Shelf-Awareness, Book Page, Read It ForwardThe Millions, Hello Giggles, and others.

Advance praise is rolling in for Aaron Hamburger‘s (Fiction, Creative Nonfiction) new novel Nirvana Is HereAuthor Elisa Albert calls the book “compulsively readable, charming, and suffused with deep humanity. The title is truth in advertising, folks: this novel is nirvana indeed.” Lesléa Newman says, “This is a drop-everything, stay-up-way-too-late, unputdownable novel… an absolutely necessary read.” And Tova Mirvis says, “Nirvana Is Here is tender, wise and deeply affecting.” Book tour dates are in the works, with stops already booked for New York; Washington, DC; Baltimore; Detroit; Annapolis; and Portland, Maine, a joint reading with Stonecoast alum Dave Patterson, who’ll be reading from his debut novel Soon the Light Will Be Perfect, at Print Bookstore, June 26. Mark your calendars! If you’re interested in having Aaron come to read at your town or Skyping with your book group, let him know directly at aaronhamburger@gmail.com

Amanda Johnston (Poetry, Writing for Social Change) has a new poem in Thalia Magazine. Check out “forgive me, but another black woman has been killed and I’m shook” along with two poems from Another Way to Say Enter, “Crossing In” and “History Repeating Repeating.”

Elizabeth Searle’s (Fiction, Playwriting, Popular Fiction, Scriptwriting) Tonya & Nancy: The Rock Opera returns to New York City February 4 at 7:30 p.m. at the Lucille Lortel Theater for a special concert event produced in a association with the Abingdon Theatre Company under Tony-Award-winning Executive Producer Jim Kierstead (Kinky Boots, Pretty Woman, Be More Chill). Media coverage for the event includes a feature article in Broadway World. Updates at http://www.tonyaandnancytherockopera.com

ALUMS

Carina Bissett (Popular Fiction, S’18) has a poem, “O Mad Arachne: A Folle in Three Acts,” included in NonBinary Review #19: Dante’s Infernopublished by Zoetic Press in December 2018.

Ryan Brod (Creative Nonfiction/Fiction, S’17) recently won the AFFTA’s (American Fly Fishing Trade Association’s) first ever guide-only essay contest, along with a $1,000 prize. The piece (about complicated water issues facing south Florida/the Everglades region) will appear in the spring issue of The Drake magazine.

KT Bryski (Popular Fiction, W’16) is thrilled to announce that she is now represented by Kim-Mei Kirtland of the Howard Morhaim Literary Agency. Her story “Ti-Jean’s Last Adventure, as Told to Raccoon” also appears in Lightspeed this month.

Julie C. Day‘s (Popular Fiction, S’12) flash piece “Stone Memories” can be found online at the Jellyfish Review. Her piece “City Magic” can be found online as part of the Cincinnati Review’s miCRo series. A few reprints have also made their way out into the world. Her story “Raising Babies” is now available on the podcast Tales to Terrify, while her story “A Pinhole of Light” was reprinted online in The Dark and in translation as part of the French anthology Ténèbres 2018. Finally, Julie’s debut collection Uncommon Miraclesreleased in October 2018, is now available in hardcover, signed limited edition, and e-edition! Here are a few recent accolades…

“In many of her stories, Day lulls readers into a false sense of familiarity with people, places and events before hitting a literary switch that snatches all certainties away…Day’s prose is spare but vivid and she has an impressive facility with a range of forms and voices.” ~Morning Star, Best of 2018: Fiction

“It’s hard to describe any one of the 18 stories collected here as characteristic of Day’s approach to fiction, since she demonstrates such an impressive range of tones and topics, but we can see here what will become a few recurring elements: a fascination with American landscapes as psychic spaces (with occasional side trips to Paris or the Azores), an almost playful manipulation of genres tropes and protocols, a fondness for subtitles that segment tales into discreet scenes, a resolute focus on characters haunted by memory and sometimes by grief, and an almost casual disinterest in linear plotting…her capacity for engaging bizarre ideas in the exploration of deeply felt and deeply damaged characters can be stunning.” ~Locus Magazine, Collection Review

Renee S. DeCamillis (Popular Fiction, W’ 14) is excited to share the release date and cover reveal for her debut book, The Bone Cutters—a bizarro horror novella about the hell of mental illness, the evil hands of drug addiction, and the horror of psych. hospitals. The book is set for publication on September 1, 2019, through Eraserhead Press. A book release event and local readings will be sure to follow. Stay tuned for those location and date announcements. Preorders for the book will be possible soon. Until then, here is the synopsis: Dory wakes up in the padded room of a psychiatric hospital with no recollection of how she wound up there. She soon finds out she’s been Blue-Papered–involuntarily committed. When she is sent to the wrong counseling group, she finds a whole new group of drug addicts that make her skin crawl. By the end of that first meeting she is running scared, afraid of being “dusted,” though the psych. hospital staff doesn’t believe a word she says; after all, she’s delusional—at least that’s what they tell her. They end up sending her to that same counseling group every day, though Dory knows that all those junkies want is what’s inside of her—she’s fresh, and she holds the most intense high. Like Girl, Interrupted and “The Yellow Wallpaper,” The Bone Cutters is one woman’s dark and surreal experience with a madness that is not necessarily her own.

March 3-5, Gail Hovey (Creative Nonfiction, S ’11) will be attending a Masters Workshop in Tucson. She is eligible for this event as a finalist in the Tucson Festival of Books Literary Awards Competition. Her submission for the competition was an excerpt from her memoir manuscript What Goes by the Name of Love.

Veda Boyd Jones (Fiction, S’17) has a couple articles in the 2019 Harris’ Farmer’s Almanac on newsstands now.

Little Patuxent Review honored Alan King (Poetry, W’13) with the 2018 Michael J. Clark Award, which is given annually to an outstanding work of literature published the previous year in LPR. The 2018 award, which was presented at the Winter 2019 Issue launch, was for his poem “The Journey.”  Video highlight from the reading below:

Paul Kirsch (Popular Fiction, W’11) has been nominated for a Writers Guild Award for Videogame Writing. Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire is up against Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Batman: The Enemy Within, God of War, and Marvel’s Spider-Man. You can peruse the other nominees here.

Andrea Lani‘s (Fiction, W’14) short story “Confluence” appears in the collection This Side of the Divide: Stories of the American West, which comes out on February 12. Her profile of author Caitlin Shetterly appeared in the January issue of Literary Mama, and you can read her editor’s letter from that issue here.

Kristin Leonard (Fiction, S’18) is the 2019 recipient of the Meetinghouse Theatre Lab’s Maine Playwright Award. Her one-act play, Crash, is based on a quartet of ten-minute plays she wrote at Stonecoast. It received its first staged reading on January 19th.

Ellen Meeropol (Fiction, W’06) will be teaching two workshops on using multiple narrators in the novel at the San Miguel Writers Conference and Literary Festival February 13-17 in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. She will also be moderating a panel (“Better Later? Success and the Late Blooming Woman Author”) at the AWP Annual Conference on Thursday, March 28, at 4:30 p.m.

Jenny O’Connell (Creative Nonfiction, S’17) is thrilled to be invited to join the North American Review’s 50th Anniversary conference lineup, which features Stonecoast faculty Debra Marquart and keynote speaker Martín Espada. Jenny’s seminar, based on her recent article in Creative Nonfiction and her third semester project at Stonecoast, uses a study of songwriting to explore vulnerability in creative writing.

Carolyn O’Doherty (Popular Fiction, W’11) is pleased to announce that her second novel, Unleashed, will be published on September 10, 2019. Unleashed continues the story that began with Rewind (April 2018) about a group of teenagers with the ability to freeze and rewind time. Both books are published by Boyds Mills Press. Rewind was recently named a 2019 YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers.

Bruce Pratt‘s (Fiction, S’04) new poetry chapbook Forms and Shades is available from Clare Songbirds Publishing with a ship date of February 1, 2019 (today!). His short-fiction collection The Trash Detail from New Rivers Press is currently at number 17 on the Small Press Distribution sales list.

Lisa Romeo (Creative Nonfiction, S’08) will lead a one-day workshop, “Memoir Writing and the Gift of Incomplete Memories,” at The Open Center in New York City on Saturday, April 13. She’ll also be the lunchtime speaker at the Longform Narrative Workshop (featuring Narratively memoir editor Lilly Dancyger) hosted by Cedar Ridge Writers Series, March 2, in Bedminster, New Jersey. Lisa’s recent essay publications include  “Hands off the Black Jack,” for The Inquisitive Eater (a publication of The New School), and a micro excerpt, “Upstairs,” in the anthology The Walls Between Us: Essays in Search of Truth, edited by Beth Kephart. In Winter and Spring 2019, Lisa will continue a series of memoir writing tip programs at libraries around New Jersey, as part of promoting her memoir, Starting with Goodbye.

The LeVar Burton Reads podcast featuring Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam‘s (Popular Fiction, S’13) story “In the City of Martyrs” went live in January and is available for listening here.

Lisa C. Taylor’s (Poetry, S’04) latest collection of short stories, Impossibly Small Spaces, received a new review. Her collaborative collection of poetry published in 2011, The Other Side of Longing (with Irish writer Geraldine Mills), will be adopted by an Irish literature class at University of Connecticut for the spring semester. Both of them are invited to speak to the class in April.

Melanie Viets (Creative Nonfiction, W’17) had an essay featured in Narrative. “Strata” ran as the Story of the Week through February 1st. Thanks to Rick Bass and T Fleischmann for their help and encouragement, and thanks to Susan Conley for the workshop writing prompt that inspired the piece.

 

 

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