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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 July 2018

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Poetic Voices for Social Justice

Join us at SPACE Gallery on Thursday, July 12th, where Stonecoast MFA faculty member Martín Espada—recent winner of the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, Pulitzer Prize finalist, American Book Award winner and National Book Critics Circle nominee—will give a public reading alongside Lauren Marie Schmidt, author of three collections of poetry including Psalms of The Dining Room—a sequence of poems about her volunteer experience at a soup kitchen. The reading will feature music by current Stonecoast student Julie Cira and will be followed by a community discussion of the artist’s role in the community. All proceeds of this evening will go to benefit the Stonecoast MFA Writing for Social Justice Scholarship, established to reduce financial and social barriers to higher education, and support culturally and socially engaged writers committed to creating positive change in the community. RSVP here!

BIG NEWS for Stonecoast Review—not only does our Summer 2018 Issue No. 9 feature original, never before-printed stories from the award-winning authors James Van Pelt and Rick Wilber, but we’ve received a very generous $2500 donation from USM’s president and provost in support of our future endeavors. The catch with the donation is that we need to raise an equivalent amount of money within the year. Alumni can help out by purchasing a copy of Issue No. 9 through Kelly’s Books To Go—orders should be available by the end of this Summer Residency at the latest. They can also donate to us directly through the “Make a Gift” button and selecting the “Stonecoast MFA Literary Review Fund” as their designation. We intend to use this money to begin paying our contributors semi-professional rates as soon as possible, but in order to sustain a status of even $50 a submission, we’ll need over $2000 every semester. We hope that every alumni will pick up a copy (or three!) of every issue, as the success of our literary journal will help the overall status and prestige of the program. We encourage alumni to submit for Issue No. 10 when we open again in August—our goal is publish a handful of students and alumni with every issue.

ALUMS

Karen Bovenmyer (Popular Fiction, S’13) was a participant in Tina Connolly’s Young-Adult Novel Writing Workshop at the Kansas University Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction in June, funded by her Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Scholarship from the Horror Writers Association. She worked on Sleeping Boy, a novel she started while at Stonecoast. She is excited to be under contract to write RPG tie-in fiction, has been enjoying narrating for the Stoker-Award-winning Independent Legions Press Cemetery Pod podcast, and regularly discusses speculative books, comics, and movies with Alasdair Stuart on the Escape Artists Patreon feed. She will be a moderator and panelist at the GenCon Writer’s Symposium in August, presenting on “Minding your Ps and Qs: Grammar and Punctuation for Authors,” “NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month,” “How Other Creative Outlets Help Writing,” “Writing Micro and Flash Fiction,” and how to “Edit Your way Past the Slush Pile.” If any Stonecoasters will be at GenCon in August she would love to see them, so please email her at karen.bovenmyer@gmail.com to meet up.

KT Bryski (Popular Fiction, W’16) has another play opening this month! Adapted from her award-winning audio drama, Six Stories, Told at Night runs at the Toronto Fringe Festival July 5th-15th. She also looks forward to seeing friends and colleagues at Readercon!

Brenda Cooper‘s (Fiction, S’17) newest novel, Keepers, will be release by Prometheus books on July 31st, 2018. Keepers tells the story of two sisters who must support each other in a dangerous future where the cities are huge and the wild lands between empty and lawless. Keepers is the sequel to Wilders, which came out in 2017. Nancy Kress, Hugo- and Nebula award-winning author of If Tomorrow Comes, says that “Keepers shows us an earth that is the result of profound climactic and ecological changes. Nobody is better than Brenda Cooper at creating detailed and innovative futures. Keepers is a gem—a complex and plausible look at what we might face someday, and how we might respond.” The beginning of Keepers came from Brenda’s thesis, and she is grateful to James Patrick Kelley and Nancy Holder for being her first readers.

Lauren M Davis (Poetry, S’15) will be teaching courses in Creative Writing that she designed for the Indiana Institute of Technology in Fall 2018. She has also recently been given the title of Placemaking Coordinator from Big Car of Indianapolis and will work to cultivate arts, culture, outdoor activity, local food sources, and community for Fort Wayne, Indiana’s Electric Works project.

Julie C. Day‘s (Popular Fiction, S’12) debut collection Uncommon Miracles is now available for pre-order from PS Publishing. You can preview one of the stories here. Julie was also spotlighted on Tor.com—along with some other fabulous Stonecoasters—as part of  “150 ‘New’ Writers for Your Consideration.”  Here’s the full lowdown on Julie’s collection:

  • A grieving man travels through time via a car crash.
  • A family of matriarchs collects recipes for the dead.
  • A woman gains an unexpected child in the midst of a bunny apocalypse.
  • An outcast finds work in a magical slaughterhouse.

Whether set in a uniquely altered version of Florida’s Space Coast or a haunted island off the coast of Maine, each of the eighteen stories in this collection carries its own brand of meticulous and captivating weirdness.

“Julie C. Day makes a bold debut with this genre-bending collection of stories. At times whimsical, at times heartbreaking, but always clear-eyed and honest,UNCOMMON MIRACLES proves that Day has joined the front ranks of the writers carrying American fantasy into a new golden age.” ~Nathan Ballingrud

“Julie C. Day’s new collection, Uncommon Miracles, relates stories about what happens when strangeness, dream-like and nightmarish, infiltrates the lives of everyday people. A unique new voice in short fiction—sharp writing and a wonderfully idiosyncratic imagination.” ~Jeffrey Ford

“Julie C. Day’s stories are strongly strange, whether happening in a sort of now in this country or in a weirdly altered past. These stories seem to be what the term American Gothic was meant for.” ~John Crowley

Renee S. DeCamillis (Popular Fiction, W’14) published her horror story “Sunshower Death” in the horror anthology Deadman’s Tome: The Conspiracy Issue on June 1st, 2018. She was also a guest on the Deadman’s Tome Podcast on June 20th, 2018—World Refugee Day—where she not only discusses her story but she also talks about the inspiration behind it: the death of rock icon Chris Cornell. The host of the podcast, Mr. Deadman, has plans for a second podcast to continue their discussion, but an appearance date has not yet been set. Renee also published a new blog post—“The Mysterious Death of Rock Legend Chris Cornell: The Blue Skies Murder”—on her WordPress site where she breaks down the botched death investigation of Chris Cornell. On the Other Stories Podcast episode #143, Renee was interviewed and did a reading of her short story “The Unemployed Neighbor.” This story also appears in issue #37 of Sirens Call WiHM EZine, the 6th Annual Women in Horror Month Edition.  In older news, Renee’s poem “This Is Only the Beginning” appears in the Horror Writers Association Poetry Showcase Volume IV, which was published in the fall of 2017.

Alison McMahan‘s (Popular Fiction, W’10) book, Alice Guy Blaché, Lost Visionary of the Cinema (Bloomsbury 2002), has been translated into Spanish by Plots Ediciones (2006); adapted as a play by La Recua Teatro in Toledo, Spain (2012); and adapted into the documentary Be Natural by Pamela Green. The documentary premiered at Cannes in May 2018. Her mystery/horror for middle grade readers, “Kamikaze Iguanas,” will appear in the MWA anthology Scream and Scream Again, edited by R. L. Stine for HarperCollins, publication date July 24th. Alison is now represented by Gina Panettieri of Talcott Notch Literary.

An excerpt from Lisa Romeo’s (Creative Nonfiction, S’08) new memoir, Starting with Goodbye: A Daughter’s Memoir of Love after Loss, appears on the PBS site Next Avenue. Her essay, “The Unpredictability of Grief” is featured on Covey Club, a new online women’s magazine. At The Review Review, Lisa shared “How Lit Journal Publications Paved the Way to Published Memoir.” The book was recently reviewed at Literary MamaHalfway Down the Stairs, and MyCentralJersey. Lisa recently spoke at the Cedar Ridge Writers Series on “Three Big Challenges in Writing Memoir,” and addressed the New Jersey Library Association Conference on “Readers and Writers in the Library: Perfect Together.” Since her book’s publication in May, she’s also been interviewed at The Debutante BallSunlight Press, and Under the Sun. Lisa led a panel, “Memoir: It’s all Relative. The perils, pleasures, and pitfalls of writing about family,” at the Maplewood-South Orange (NJ) Book Festival; was featured on the Write The Book podcast (#508); and at The Quivering Pen, where she wrote about “My First (Disastrous) Writing Retreat.”  In July, Lisa will visit Newtonville Books (Newton, MA, July 12th); Blue Umbrella Books (Westfield, MA, July 14th), and Toadstool Bookstore (Keene, NH, July 15th). See her full list of upcoming events.

The Dollmaker of Kraków by R. M. Romero (Popular Fiction, S’15) has been shortlisted for the Young Quills Award in the U.K. and nominated for the Flemish Children’s and Youth Prize.

The Kweli Journal published “Piper’s March” written by Darlene Taylor (Fiction, W’17).

Lisa C. Taylor‘s (Poetry, S’04) short story “Consorts” will be published in The New Southern Fugitives. Her short story “Every Body of Water” will be published in Flights. Lisa’s short-story collection, Impossibly Small Spaces, will be released in Ireland in late summer by Arlen House and in the U.S. in October (Arlen House/Syracuse University Press).

Christopher Watkins‘ (Poetry, W’08) poem “Emigrant Song” has been accepted for publication by Harpur Palate and will be included in their Fall 2018 issue.

Hats off to Tamra Wilson (Fiction, S’11), whose short story “Midlife” was the sole fiction selection in the premiere issue of Torch, a journal of Richmond Community College, Hamlet, NC.

CURRENT STUDENTS

Cedar Valley Community College has offered Lindsey Barlow (Popular Fiction) a full-time Professor of English position, and she has accepted! The Texas state board meeting was on June 5th, and she was approved to teach full time. Lindsey is so excited and grateful. She thanks everyone who provided a letter of recommendation for her, and she thanks Cedar Valley, who allowed her to teach part time for so many years leading up to this.

Jess Flarity (Popular Fiction) is presenting his third semester research project on the philosophy of Philip K. Dick’s The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch at the SFRA conference in Milwaukee this month. He will also be presenting a similar paper at this year’s Worldcon in San Jose this August.

Nina Lichtenstein‘s (Creative Nonfiction) essay about growing up a latchkey kid in 1970s Oslo, Norway, was published in the Poydras Review in June. She also appeared as a teller at Brunswick’s own SoundBites with the theme “Grilled,” and told a story about being interrogated at the Ben Gurion airport in Israel, and how this made her not take her privilege for granted; you can listen to Nina share that story below. Nina has also had several submissions rejected/declined for publication, and looks forward to improve them and submit again! And again.

FACULTY

To mark Pride Month, Tin House is now running Aaron Hamburger‘s (Fiction, Creative Nonfiction) essay “Sweetness Mattered” on their website. You can read it here.

Elizabeth Hand (Popular Fiction, Fiction) turned in Curious Toys, a novel set in 1915 Chicago, inspired by a true crime and the work of outsider artist Henry Darger, to Mullholland Books/Little Brown. Her short story “Ghost Light” appears in the new anthology Tiny Crimes, edited by Lincoln Michel and Nadxieli Nieto. In July, she’ll be a special guest at Comic-Con in San Diego, and then teaching a weeklong workshop for young writers at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center.

This summer Cara Hoffman (Fiction, Popular Fiction) received an Edward Albee Fellowship and a Wellstone Center Fellowship and signed a two-book contract with Harper Collins.

Nancy Holder (Popular Fiction) will appear at San Diego Comic Con International. She will be doing signings of her comic book Mary Shelley Presents in the Kymera Press Booth, #2003. She will also appear on two panels: “A Celebration of Mary Shelley” on Thursday, July 19th, at 4:30—5:30 p.m. in Room 26AB; and “Women on the Dark Side” on Thursday, July 19th, 7:00-8:00 p.m.

Jim Kelly’s new short story collection, The Promise of Space and Other Stories, debuts on July 17th, just in time for the summer residency. Published by Prime Books, it includes 14 previously published stories, several of which have appeared in various Year’s Best Science Fiction anthologies, and one story, “Yukui,” which is original to the collection. At 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 31st, 2018, at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Jim will join his award-winning colleague John Chu for a reading at Speculative Boston, a new quarterly reading series featuring authors of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.

Debra Marquart‘s (Creative Nonfiction, Poetry, Writing for Social Change) essay about submerged and sometimes forgotten female singers’ voices, entitled “Buried Voices,” was featured as a Story of the Week in Narrative Magazine.

Elizabeth Searle‘s (Fiction, Playwriting, Popular Fiction, Scriptwriting) novel We Got Him (New Rivers Books) is now out in Audiobook from Blunder Woman Productions, narrated by award-winning Audiobook star and Stonecoast alum Tanya Eby; it is available on Audible and more. In June, Elizabeth’s Tonya & Nancy: The Rock Opera had its Southwest Regional Premiere in suburban Dallas, Texas, at the Ohlook Performing Arts Center; the production was reviewed as “Perfect for late-night theater fun” here. Idol Talk—the new anthology on Teen Idols co-edited by Elizabeth with Stonecoast alum Tammy Wilson, featuring multiple Stonecoast contributors—is on Instagram ( idol_talk ) and has multiple summer readings, including:

  • St. Stephens Branch Library, Hickory, NC, on July 23rd at 6:00 p.m. (with Stonecoast alumna Tammy Wilson, appearing at NC readings)
  • Catawba Country Library in Newton, NC, on July 24th at 6:00 p.m.
  • Patrick Beaver Library in Hickory, NC, on July 31st at 6:30 p.m.
  • Toadstool Books in Peterborough, NH, on July 21st at 2:00 p.m. (with Stonecoast students Lee J. Kahrs and Kate Kastelein)
  • Newtonville Books in Newton, MA, on July 27th at 7:00 p.m. (with Stonecoast alumna Michelle Soucy)
  • NYC reading at KGB bar ion August 8th at 7:00 p.m. (with Stonecoasters Elizabeth Searle and Breena Clarke)
  • Main Street Books in Davidson, NC, on August 12th at 2:00 p.m.
  • Gaston Public Library in Gastonia, NC, on August 13th at 4:00 p.m.
  • Morrison Branch Library in Charlotte, NC, on August 21st at 7:00 p.m.
  • Harvard General Store in Harvard, MA, on August 30th at 6:00 p.m. (with Stonecoasters Lee J Kahrs, Elizabeth Searle, and Michelle Soucy)

 

 

 

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