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Community News & Updates May 2017

STONECOAST REUNION 2017

Please mark your calendars for the Stonecoast reunion, July 14-17 in Brunswick, Maine! The planning committee has been hard at work, and we’re excited to announce the schedule of events. We’d like to thank all of you who submitted proposals for readings and seminars!

We are proud to feature readings by Julia Munemo, Tony Pisculli, Richard Squires, and Cheryl Boyce Taylor. Seminar presenters include Mihku Anderson, Melanie Brooks, Meriah Lysistrata Crawford, Alexandria Delcourt, Penny Guisinger, David Healey, Barbara Kelly, Ellen Meeropol, Suri Parmar, Lisa C. Taylor, and Erin Underwood. Reunion attendees will also have the opportunity to sign up for limited-seating faculty seminars.

To see the full events schedule and register to attend the reunion, please visit the site here. All alumni who register by May 15th will receive a beautiful Stonecoast MFA coffee mug!

ALUMS

Emma Bouthillette (Creative Nonfiction, S’12) is pleased to announce her first book, A Brief History of Biddefordis scheduled to launch June 12, 2017. In this work of nonfiction published by The History Press, Emma explores four centuries of her hometown and its evolution from fishing port to booming mill town to a city re-imagined. Visit her website www.EmmaBouthillette.com for further information about the writer, the book, and news updates for Maine reading and signing events.

Karen Bovenmyer (Popular Fiction, S’13) had a great time at StokerCon the last weekend of April with other Stonecoasters Alumni and Faculty. She presented as a panelist on “Power Writer: How Games Can Level Up Your Fiction” and “Beat Sheets and Novel Outlines” at StokerCon and gave a paper titled “Shirley Jackson and the Fear of Ordinary People” as part of the Ann Radcliffe Academic Conference. Karen attended her first novel-signing fair on April 8 for Swift For The Sun and people seemed to enjoy her pirate ship decorations. She was interviewed on local radio station 89.1 FM KHOI’s Community Bookshelf show on April 11. Viva la Stonecoast!

Karen Bovenmyer at StokerCon 2017, with pirate ship

Julie C. Day‘s (Popular Fiction, S’12) short story “Raven Hair” can be found in the most recent issue of The Cream City Review. “Raven Hair,” among other things, is a riff on fairy tales, the seething resentment of a certain type of lover, and the inevitability of transformation. “Raven Hair” is also part of Julie’s collection, Uncommon Miracles, scheduled for release by PS Publishing later this year.

Florence Grende‘s (Creative Nonfiction, S’08) memoir The Butcher’s Daughter has been nominated a finalist for the Eric Hoffer New Horizon Prize, which recognizes “superior work by a debut author.” Winner to be announced in May.

Lesley Heiser (Fiction, S’11) published a work of literary journalism, “Growing Season,” on The Rumpus, where it was the debut story in the new series Torch, on the refugee and immigrant experience in America. Please check the story out here.

Alison McMahan‘s (Popular Fiction, W’10) short mystery “The New Score” appeared in the Fish Out of Water anthology (Wildside Press, April 2017), and her short story “The Drive By” appeared in the Busted! Arresting Stories from the Beat anthology (LevelBest Books, April 2017). “Kamikaze Iguanas” will appear in the MWA anthology for middle grade readers entitled Scream and Scream Again, edited by R.L. Stine (HarperCollins, 2018).

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Novelist Ellen Meeropol (Fiction, W’06) has two recent essays published: “Losing Mom and Finding Flo” in The Writer Magazine, April issue, and “Fiction and the Costs of Activism” for the Powell’s Bookstore Blog. She will be reading from her new novel, Kinship of Clover, on May 16 at PRINT Bookstore in Portland.

Renée Olander (Poetry, W’05) has a poem, “Grace Sherwood, Witch of Pungo, Advanced in Age,” in the new anthology Forgotten Women (edited by Ginny Lowe Conners, Grayson Books, 2017); another poem, “Llewellyn Avenue Redevelopment,” is forthcoming in Free State Review.

L​isa Romeo (Creative Nonfiction, S’08) is now represented by Joelle Delbourgo Associates Literary Agency. Lisa’s longform essay, “An Attractive Portal to Uncertainty,” appears in the new print issue of the journal Harpur Palate (Vol. 16, No. 1). In early May, Lisa is teaching a one-day workshop, “The Art of Short Nonfiction Prose,” in Bedminster, New Jersey, sponsored by Tiferet Journal. Her lyrical, second person essay, “From Boys to Men.” kicked off Motherwell ​Magazine’s Motherhood and Waiting series. ​Her ​essay​, “Why Can’t It Be Me?,” is part of a new anthology, The Book of Hope: 31 True Stories from Real People Who Didn’t Give Up (Silver Owl Publications). And something light, “March Madness with my Son: Why I Love this Crazy Month” ​was on the Grown and Flown ​website during the NCAA tournament.

Linda K. Sienkiewicz (Fiction, S’09) is super excited to announce that her debut novel, In the Context of Love, has won its FOURTH finalist award: the 2016 Sarton Women’s Book Award from Story Circle Network. Also, Linda is in the 2017 Metro Detroit cast of the nationwide live storytelling event, Listen To Your Mother. Linda will be sharing the story of how she coped with the suicide of her eldest child in 2011.

Kara Storti‘s (Fiction, S’06) YA novel, Tripping Back Blue, won a 2017 Independent Publisher Book Award (IPPY) gold medal in the Young Adult Fiction category. The IPPY Awards, launched in 1996, are designed to bring increased recognition to the deserving but often unsung titles published by independent publishers. The contest drew approximately 5,000 entries from across the world.

Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam‘s (Popular Fiction, S’13) take on Kafka’s The Metamorphosis“Needle Mouth”, appeared in Podcastle. Her collaborative triptych poem “The Santa Monica Prophecies” appeared in Mithila Review. And her flash fiction “The Ocean Indoors” appeared in Four Way Review.

Lisa C. Taylor (Poetry, ‘04) has a poem in the recent anthology Washing Windows? Irish Women Write Poetry, published by Arlen House in honor of Eavan Boland and Catherine Rose who both played a part in the beginning of this wonderful Irish literary press. Annie Deppe also has a poem in this anthology! Lisa will offer a workshop: She Did What? Surprise in Fiction on May 13 at 10:00 a.m. at the Clickspace in Northampton. This event is sponsored by Straw Dog Writers Guild and the public can register for this event; this will be a generative workshop. She will also be offering a workshop on Hybrid Writing (mixing genres) at the Stonecoast Alumni Reunion July 14-17. I hope to see some of you there!

Erin Underwood (Popular Fiction, S’09) is a nominee for the Best Fanzine Hugo Award with her co-editors of Journey Planet. Her edition of Journey Planet featured a historical look back at 54 years of Boskone, New England’s longest running science fiction and fantasy convention. The Hugo Awards, presented annually since 1955, are science fiction’s most prestigious award and are voted on by members of the World Science Fiction Convention (“Worldcon”), which is taking place in Helsinki, Finland, this August.

FACULTY

The trade paperback version of David Anthony Durham‘s (Fiction, Popular Fiction) The Risen is now out from Anchor Books. On June 6th, David will be featured in the Mosesian Arts Center’s Earfull series in Boston . He’ll be reading along with Jayne Anne Phillips in an evening of words of and music. He’d love to see some Stonecoast faces at the event!

Elizabeth Hand (Popular Fiction, Fiction) was a Guest of Honor at Stokercon, in Long Beach, along with George R.R. Martin and Stonecoast’s own Nancy Holder, the convention’s toastmaster. Hand’s novel Hard Light is a finalist for the Bran Stoker Award. She did a podcast interview for Wired.com, talking about her recent book Fire and her experiences with a government think tank, researching the future of fire management in an environmentally challenged age. Forthcoming reviews include Jeff Vandermeer’s Borne, for The Los Angeles Times.

Elizabeth Searle’s (Fiction, Popular Fiction, Scriptwriting) novel We Got Him has been chosen as one of three finalists for the 2016 Midwest Book Awards in Fiction. The awards have been running for 27 years by the Midwest Independent Publishing Association; winners will be announced in May. In April, Elizabeth was interviewed about We Got Him on Urban Update (Channel 7, NBC Boston), Woman Watch (forthcoming on WBZ-AM radio, Boston), and WATD-FM, the South Shore News show. On April 30, she and Suzanne Strempek Shea have their book launch for Soap Opera Confidential at Newtonville Books in MA, featuring star readers including Stonecoast alumna Brenda Sparks Prescott. On May 11th, Elizabeth will read from her novel We Got Him at the Kittery Library in Kittery, ME, at 6:30 p.m. Finally: in Chicago, the Jeff Awards for Theater featured two nominations—Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress—for the 2016 Chicago production of Elizabeth’s Tonya & Nancy: the Rock Opera.

 

 

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Community News & Updates April 2016

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

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

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

We are excited to hear from you!  Happy writing.

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

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

Photograph: © Martha Rial / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Photograph: © Martha Rial / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

ALUMS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tyranny

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FACULTY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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