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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 February 2020

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Alumnus Jacob Strunk (Fiction, W’07) has undergone heart surgery in January and some Stonecoasters are among those supporting a GoFundMe effort right now to help with expenses. If you’d like to donate, visit Jacob’s Big Dumb Heart.

BOSKONE 2020

This year’s Boskone—New England’s longest running science fiction convention—features many Stonecoast faculty and alumni on the program participant list, including: KT Bryski (Popular Fiction, W’16), Julie C Day (Popular Fiction, S’12), David Anthony Durham (Fiction, Popular Fiction faculty), Theodora Goss (Popular Fiction faculty), James Patrick Kelly (Popular Fiction, Playwriting faculty), Mur Lafferty (Popular Fiction, W’14), Robert V. S. Redick (Popular Fiction faculty), Erin Roberts (Popular Fiction, W’18), and (of course!) Erin Underwood (Popular Fiction, S’09). Word is that many other Stonecoasters will be in attendance as well. Feel free to join us! Boskone – February 14th to 11th at the Westin Waterfront Hotel, Boston.

FACULTY

Aaron Hamburger (Fiction, Creative Nonfiction) interviewed novelist Garth Greenwell about his new novel Cleanness for Electric Literature.

In 2021, New Rivers Press will publish Debra Marquart’s (Creative Nonfiction, Poetry, Writing for Social Change) next poetry collection, Gratitude with Dogs Under Stars: New & Collected Poems. Her poems have recently been included in three anthologies: “Come November” in Dear America: Letters of Hope, Habitat, Defiance, and Democracy, edited by Elizabeth Dodd, Simmons Buntin, and Derek Sheffield (Trinity University Press, 2020); “Dylan’s Lost Years” in Stone Gathering: A Reader 1.1 (Summer 2019); and “How Bad News Comes” in Send My Roots Rain: 52 Weeks of Poetry to Heal Your Grief, edited by Kim Langley (Paraklete Press, 2019). She published an essay, “The Unhappy Hour,” in Ascent Magazine in November 2019. Debra received a small grant ($4000) from Iowa Arts Council to complete a Poet-Laureate-in-the-Schools initiative in the 2019-2020 school year, and she was interviewed by Frontier Poetry in May 2019. In addition to writing, Debra did quite a lot of speaking:

Cate Marvin (Poetry) received the 2020 Maine Artist Fellowship Award in Literature (in this case, poetry) from the Maine Arts Commission.

More recent-vintage Stonecoasters might remember the collaboration seminar Suzanne Strempek Shea (Creative Nonfiction, Fiction) and painter pal Susan Tilton Pecora gave at a winter residency a few years back on a book project to benefit their neighbor, Blue Star Equiculture. The draft horse rescue will be closing in a few months due to a lack of donations and volunteers so Suzanne and Susan have turned their work into a series of notecards (each featuring painting and essay) to more quickly help pay final bills at the 11-year-old draft horse rescue. The set of ten blank notecards, priced at $25, includes five different signed images and essays from throughout the rescue’s history. Checks should be made out to Susan Tilton Pecora and sent to her at PO Box 195, Thorndike, MA, 01079; pay via PayPal at sess7@comcast.net. All donations are tax-deductible and will be acknowledged by Blue Star Equiculture, a registered nonprofit. Please note on checks or on PayPal payment how many sets of cards you’d like. The horses and their humans, including these two longtime friends and neighbors of Blue Star, thank you.

ALUMS

Peter Adrian Behravesh (Popular Fiction, W’18) joined a full voice cast to narrate Kyle Kirrin’s story “Yo, Rapunzel!” for the January 28th episode of PodCastle. You can listen to it here.

Karen Bovenmyer (Popular Fiction, S’13) is pleased to announce a new story, “Nightmare Spinner,” in Way of the Laser: Future Crime Stories, edited by Eric Bosarge (Popular Fiction, W’12) and Joe McDermott (Popular Fiction, S’11) (Vernacular Books) and two reprints: “Snow as White as Skin as White as Snow,” in Weird Dream Society, edited by Carina Bissett (Popular Fiction, S’18), Julie C. Day (Popular Fiction, S’12), Chip Houser, and Steve Toase (The Post-Apocalyptic Writers Society); and “Cadaver Feet,” in The Binge-Watching Cure II: An Anthology of Horror Stories, edited by Bill Adler, Jr., and Sarah Doebereiner (Claren Books, October 2019).

Sunspot Literary Journal chose the opening to one of J Brooke’s (Poetry, S’19) essays, “Before and After,” as finalist for their Inception Contest (voted one of 2019’s Best Writing Contests by Reedsy) and published eir essay in the most recent issue. Of possible interest is J worked on this piece second semester at Stonecoast and received editorial suggestions from Stonecoast Director Justin Tussing on it, which e incorporated.

Susan Casey’s (Fiction, W’10) book Rock On: Mining for Joy in the Deep River of Sibling Grief is being released on February 14, 2020. The book launch is at the Frontier Café on February 15th from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Links to register here and here.

Renee S. DeCamillis (Popular Fiction, W’ 14) will be reading from her horror/psychological thriller novella The Bone Cutters on Saturday, February 22nd, from 2:00-3:30 p.m. at the Lewiston Public Library. The event is free to the public and will conclude with book sales and signing. Renee is also thrilled to announce that she has signed a comic book deal with Phi3 Comics. She has been commissioned to write the book #4 finale, “Gateway of Destruction,” for the current Spiralmind storyline of “Muses’ Rise.” Publication date is TBD.

teri elam’s (Poetry, S’19) poem “High School Dancerettes at Half-Time” was published in the Winter 2019 issue of Prairie Schooner. teri’s poem “Butterflies” (a reflection on the criminalization of school-age black girls) was chosen as part of 2020’s Visible Poetry Project and will be brought to the screen by filmmaker Christina Sloan Stoddard.

Gail Hovey (Creative Nonfiction, S ’11) is delighted to announce that her memoir, worked on at Stonecoast and beyond, will be published this fall by Exposit/McFarland. The title for this story of the long reach of childhood sexual abuse by a seminary-trained woman is still being worked on, as the publisher says it’s a hard book to title. Watch this space.

Clifford Royal Johns (Popular Fiction, W’18) will be conducting a writing workshop on writing in first person on February 15th at 2:30 p.m. at the Capricon science fiction convention (February 13-16, 2020). He will also be a panelist at the convention on the following panels:

  • Detectives in the Wild – Thursday, 5:00 p.m.
  • Nonfiction for Fiction Writers – Friday, 10:00 a.m.
  • Lessons I Learned as a First-Time Novelist – Friday, 8:30 p.m.
  • How Not to Kill Yourself over a Deadline – Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
  • A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Publisher – Saturday, 8:30 p.m.

Veda Boyd Jones (Fiction, S’17) sold a mini-mystery, “Who’s That Valentine?”, to Woman’s World magazine, which is in the issue that hits your grocery/drugstore checkout lines on February 6th.

Rebecca Kightlinger (Fiction, W ’14) announces that a new, enhanced edition of Megge of Bury Down: Book One of the Bury Down Chronicles will be released by Rowan Moon on February 1, 2020, in advance of publication of Book Two of the series this summer. The book’s epigraph is from a poem by Annie Finch.

Fiona Lehn (Popular Fiction W’15) has a new speculative novel, Transformation Junkies, published by Wicked Publishing. Click here to read more about the project, and here to view the book trailer.

Joe M. McDermott (Popular Fiction, S’11) sold the short story “Wind Gets Her Own Place” to Analog Science Fiction and Fact.

Matthew Quinn Martin (Popular Fiction, S’10)’s film (co-written with director Doug C. Williams) Being is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray nationwide, exclusively at Wal-Mart (with more big box stores and streaming to follow). The film starts Ben Browder (Farscape, Stargate SG-1), Lance Henriksen (Aliens, Millennium), Ahd Kamel (Collateral), Robert Burke (BlacKkKlansman), Jason Iannacone (The Irishman), and James St. Vincent (The Price). The trailer can be viewed here.

Ellen Meeropol (Fiction, W’06) is pleased to be a featured presenter at AWP in San Antonio. She will read from her forthcoming novel Her Sister’s Tattoo and talk with Donna Hemans, Aimee Liu, and Kristen Young, about themes of families torn apart by history and war. Ellen’s recent New England ARC tour was featured in Shelf Awareness on January 10.

On February 22nd from 10:30 to 12:30, Catharine H. Murray (Creative Nonfiction, S’17) will be at the Belfast Free Library teaching Memoir 101 through the Maine Writers and Publishers’ Alliance. The workshop is free to MWPA members and $5 for non-members.

Anne Britting Oleson (Poetry, W’05) will have her fourth novel, Cow Palace, published by B Ink Publishing in March of this year. She is also gratified to have had her fourth poetry chapbook, Magic Somewhere Else, contracted by Clare Songbirds Publishing, to appear at the end of the summer.

Tamie Parker Song (Creative Nonfiction, S’12) was invited to the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, for a residency in writing. There, nested in the Great Smoky Mountains, she worked on a long essay she is composing about commercial fishing in Bristol Bay, what that experience gives her to understand about gendered violence, and how we might alchemize it into something transformative and new.

Kevin St. Jarre‘s (Popular Fiction, S’10) has signed a new book deal for his novel Aliens, Drywall, and a Unicycle with Encircle Publications, with a publication date of November 6, 2020.

Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam‘s (Popular Fiction, S’13) story “Where You Linger” appears in the January/February issue of Uncanny Magazine and is available to read free online later this month.

 

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