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Exploring the art of fiction

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CRAFT @ AWP19 in PDX

 

Please stop by and visit our booth at AWP 2019 in Portland!

Booth: 1056

Alongside The Masters Review & Frontier Poetry & Palette Poetry

Meet editors & readers, win Powell’s gift cards, recharge with donuts

Please keep up with us on Twitter @CraftLiterary and check back here—we’ll keep this page updated when we learn of events featuring contributors & friends of CRAFT

 


 

Join us throughout AWP week celebrating Lena Valencia’s “Mystery Lights,” presented in serial from Monday 3/25 through Friday 3/29

Excerpt from Part I:

…When Wendy was assigned the Marfa Lights reboot, she was perplexed. The show hadn’t been cool, or even all that good, in the nineties. It was contrived—basically The X-Files meets Twin Peaks with the Texas flair of corrupt oil-baron-villains and a pair of overly attractive Texas Rangers (a skeptic and a believer) solving the supernatural mysteries. So why bring it back? According to the notes she’d received from the network, it had a “fiercely devoted cult following.” Katie, who’d squealed when Wendy had told her about the reboot, was one such devotee. Wendy had let her come up with some concepts, provided she did it on her own time. Like Katie, she had started out as an administrative assistant for a marketing agency.

She’d submitted Katie’s concepts alongside her own. The network had gone for one of Katie’s. The wackiest, most expensive one.

They would create their own Marfa Lights episode, in real time. In the weeks leading up to the show, they’d partner with various social media influencers who would post cheeky doomsday videos claiming the world was going to end on September fourteenth, the night the show premiered. That it would be known by the lights in the sky. They’d sent interns out in the cover of night to stencil the show’s tagline, “9/14 LOOK UP” in the place of the usual teaser print campaigns in New York and Los Angeles. They’d make their own Marfa lights in Marfa. “With drones!” Katie had chirped. It had been Wendy’s idea to have them show up at 9:14 p.m. Then, the night of the first episode, three hundred drones would take to the Marfa sky to spell out “LOOK UP.” Shuttles would be on hand to bring ticketholders to a drive-in movie theater down the road, where they would watch the Marfa Lights premiere.

There were all kinds of reasons the network should have said no. First off, it was happening not in New York or Los Angeles but in Texas, and seven hours outside Austin, at that. Secondly, it took place at night, and with these kinds of experiential campaigns you depended on people to take pictures and post them. Smartphone pictures just didn’t turn out that great at night. Thirdly, after all the permits and flights and hotels were taken into account, it was expensive. But the network didn’t seem to care about this. The network was obliging. The network had money to burn, apparently. …

Read more 

 


 

Many of our contributors & authors are on panels, signing books, or reading:

 

Panels

Sarah Stone — “Mystery vs. Confusion

Writing the Transcendent

Courtney Sender, Goldie Goldbloom, Yehoshua November, Sarah Stone, Rahul Kanakia

Thu 3/28 @ 9:00 A107-109

In our most enduring literature, the reader often experiences something ungraspable: a sudden sense of loss or delight or elevation, just beyond the realm of conscious reckoning. In this panel, we call it transcendence, and ask: What is that feeling, anyway? How do you write toward it? What’s the relationship between the divine, the inspirational, the science fictional or fantastical? In this panel, five diverse writers of the numinous and otherworldly discuss the deep mysteries of writing.

 

Megan Giddings — “Vacations

A Flash of Difference: Diversity and Inclusion in Flash Fiction

Tara Campbell, Marlena Chertock, Christopher Gonzalez, Erinrose Mager, Megan Giddings

Thu 3/28 @ 3:00 in A103-104

Flash fiction is having a moment, but how diverse is the field? What is the state of flash in terms of race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual identity/orientation, and disability? Panelists will introduce underrepresented flash writers and resources that amplify traditionally marginalized voices. This panel is suitable for multiple audiences: educators who want to diversify their curricula, readers who want to broaden their reading lists, and publishers who want to enrich their author rosters.

 

Chaya Bhuvaneswar — “The Art of Description in A.S. Byatt’s ‘The Chinese Lobster'”

Dystopias and Utopias in Contemporary Asian American Literature

Chaya Bhuvaneswar, Jimin Han, Thirii Myint, Anita Felicelli

Fri 3/29 @ 9:00 in B116

Ted Chiang writes in Story of Your Life: “Despite knowing the journey and where it leads, I embrace it and welcome every moment.” Despite Chiang’s renown, little attention has been paid to dystopian and utopian visions in Asian American works, particularly by women. Four writers examine the speculative impulse present in literature that on its face is about contemporary political events, combining brief readings, a Q & A on cross-genre literary work and craft, and an audience writing exercise.

 

Rebecca Makkai — “Interiority Complex

MFA vs LMFAO: Our Nontraditional Paths to Publication (and Yours!)

Rebecca Makkai, Heidi Durrow, Nayomi Munaweera, Lee Herrick, Mark Sarvas

Fri 3/29 @ 9:00 in D131-132

It can sometimes feel like every successful writer went straight from college to MFA to Stegner to book deal. We did NOT do that, but everything worked out in the end. Five successful authors talk about not having an MFA, or getting one later in life (even after publication); how our lives went wide of the traditional path; how we made it all work; and whether that degree, or its absence, matters in the end. We’ll provide resources and advice for those who, like us, are going it alone.

 

Julie BuntinInterview

Timely vs. Timeless: How to Balance a Hot Topic vs. Creating Timeless Literature

Susan Choi, Tanya Selvaratnam, Sharma Shields, Julie Buntin

Fri 3/29 @ 10:30 at Zachary A. Doss Memorial Stage

How does the writing process change when the subject matter you chose long ago is suddenly all over the news? Three authors, each with forthcoming books rooted in the past, will discuss the process of writing stories anchored in time when elements of their stories becomes startlingly fresh. How do we tell stories about women, about war, about assault, about prejudice, in a time when such ideas are under present-day scrutiny? Tanya Selveratnam will moderate as each author discusses her unique methods of dealing with current events as they pertain to timeless stories.

 

Dana Diehl — “Of All the Infinite Possibilities” (with Melissa Goodrich)

Michelle Ross — “Key Concepts in Ecology” (reprint)

Writing Outside the Big 5: Practical Tips for Authors Working with Indie Presses

Alice Hatcher, Michelle Ross, Dana Diehl, Kim Magowan, Angela Mitchell

Fri 3/29 @ 10:30 in C123

Authors’ experiences with indie presses can vary greatly. This panel provides insights from authors who have published story collections and novels with indie presses ranging from micro presses to large indie publishers. It focuses on how authors can best utilize the resources of presses with limited staffs and budgets, marketing, working with an editor who is also the publisher, and what to do if a press folds and it is necessary to find a new publisher after a work’s initial release.

 

Matthew Lansburgh — “The Lure” (reprint)

Clare Beams — “The Renaissance Person Tournament” (reprint)

Tell Me a Story: Getting a Debut Collection Published

Matthew Lansburgh, Kali Fajardo-Anstine, Ivelisse Rodriguez, R.L. Maizes, Clare Beams

Fri 3/29 @ 10:30 in C124

It’s well known that short story collections can be difficult to publish, yet several avenues exist, as do strategies for making collections stand out. Authors of debut collections discuss the pros and cons of publication through contests, independent publishers, and big five publishers, as well as how to approach each one. The panelists examine ways to make a collection as strong as it can be through, among other things, story selection, sequencing, and themes.

 

Micah Perks — “How to Link Up a Short Story Collection: A Fairy Tale”

More Than a Half-Assed Novel: Exploring the Story Cycle

Zoe Ruiz, Micah Perks, Elizabeth McKenzie, Yang Huang, Sina Grace

Fri 3/29 @ 4:30 B113

Collections of linked stories are often seen as an unwieldy fiction genre invented by the publishing industry to market short stories as novels. But linking stories together can be an invitation to great imaginative possibilities. Four authors of story cycles will explore what compelled them to link up their stories, how they published and marketed them, and the craft issues that arise from this genre that at its best combines the economy of a short story with the immersive qualities of a novel.

 

Brenda Peynado — “Fire” / “The Haunting” / “My Debt Collector”

Speculative Fiction, Genre, and World-building in the Creative Writing Classroom

Brenda Peynado, Ploi Pirapokin, Kelly Link, Karen Fowler, Trent Hergenrader

Fri 3/29 @ 4:30 in E145

With more and more writers interested in speculative fiction, magical realism, and genre, how can workshops, teachers, and programs embrace all these forms? Panelists who teach in the Clarion Writers Workshop, UCLA Extension Programs, MFAs, and undergraduate programs discuss specific approaches to teaching, including speculative fiction in literary fiction workshops, classes and programs tailored for genre forms, and guiding students to build sound, imaginative, and diverse worlds.

 

Brenda Peynado — “Fire” / “The Haunting” / “My Debt Collector”

Latinx Speculative Fiction: What Sets it Apart?

Kathleen Alcala, Pablo Brescia, David Bowles, Brenda Peynado

Sat 3/30 @ 10:30 in A107-109

From Puerto Rico to Alaska, Latinx writers are redefining US literature and pushing its boundaries. Readers of speculative fiction have found themselves increasingly absorbed in the work of innovative writers like Junot Díaz, Carmen Maria Machado, and Daniel José Older, who bring a Latinx spin to established literary and popular fiction. What is speculative for the mainstream is real life in real time for us, as we mirror contemporary events in our creative work.

 

Megan Cummins — “The Beast” (reprint)

Patrick Ryan — “Tidings of the Apocalypse” (reprint)

Crossovers: Writing for Both Teens and Adults

Sarah Blakley-Cartwright, Lilliam Rivera, Patrick Ryan, Megan Cummins, Sarah Nicole Smetana

Sat 3/30 @ 1:30 in C125-126

YA crossover is an appealing idea: a book sold to both teens and adults, read more widely because its meaning shape shifts across age groups. This panel brings together writers who write for both teens and adults within the same project; for a YA audience sometimes and for adults at others; and writers who don’t think about age at all when they write. The panel asks what lessons we learn as early readers and explores why writers should never underestimate their readers, no matter their ages.

 

Candace Walsh — “The Ears and Noses of Beholders in The Price of Salt” & “The Queer Gaze and the Ineffable in The Price of Salt

Shame as a Driver of Marginalized Female Narrative Unreliability

Candace Walsh, Ariel Gore, Ana Menéndez

Sat 3/30 @ 3:00 E141-142

When writing intersectionally marginalized female characters, how do we acknowledge their society-inflicted shame-driven narrative unreliability? Novelists Ana Menéndez and Ariel Gore share how they’ve used craft elements to do so. Moderator Candace Walsh also presents examples from Zadie Smith’s “Crazy They Call Me” and Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties. Learn how to use shame to write rich characters and to reveal subtle truths that would otherwise go untold.

 

Laura van den Berg — “Object Lessons: An Exploration

In Over Your Head: The Undergraduate Workshop

Michael Croley, Laura van den Berg, Joanna Klink, Alexander Chee, Anne Valente

Sat 3/30 @ 4:30 in D131-132

Undergraduate workshops often don’t just pose a problem for students whose aim exceeds their emotional reach and experience; they present challenges to teachers as well. Five professors focus on navigating difficult material—writing that is potentially triggering to other students, for example, or charged personal stories from which students have little distance—and show a variety of approaches, questions, and tools for how fraught material can be handled with grace and care.

 

Doug Ramspeck — Flash from City by the Sea

Modes of Storytelling in Poetry

Doug Ramspeck, Annie Kim, Laurel Blossom, David Baker, M’Bilia Meekers

Sat 3/30 @ 4:30 in B114

Poets, like novelists and short fiction writers, are storytellers. But because poetry is generally a short form, the storytelling elements are often subtle and unconventional. Panelists will explore storytelling methodologies in poetry that include braided stories, implied stories, and fragmented stories. Some attention will be paid to narrative theory, but the primary focus will be practical. How do poets utilize storytelling devices, and how might narrative elements connect to lyric poetry?

 

Readings

Rebecca Makkai — “Interiority Complex

A Reading & Conversation with Rebecca Makkai and Tayari Jones, Sponsored by the Authors Guild

Tayari Jones, Rebecca Makkai

Thu 3/28 @ 3:00 in Portland Ballroom 253-254

Tayari Jones’s An American Marriage was a 2018 Oprah’s Book Club selection and was longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award for Fiction. She also received the 2005 Lillian Smith Book Award for The Untelling, and Silver Sparrowwas an Indie Next selection. Rebecca Makkai’s novel The Great Believers was a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award for Fiction and has been shortlisted for the 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. Her first novel, The Borrower, was a Booklist Top Ten Debut, an Indie Next pick, and an O Magazine selection, and her second novel, The Hundred-Year House, was chosen as the Chicago Writers Association’s novel of the year. This discussion will be moderated by Lesley Nneka Arimah.

 

Tim Weed — “Diamondback Mountain” (reprint)

The Cuba Writers Program Faculty and Alumni Reading

Alden Jones, Tim Weed, Ann Hood, Dariel Suarez, Suchita Chadha

Thu 3/28 @ 3:00 in B115

The Cuba Writers Program launched during the Obama administration to bring writers to Cuba for workshops and engagements with Cuban artists. Its mission is to encourage meaningful interactions between the US and Cuba, and to generate writing that opens transnational dialogue. Join faculty and alumni with various perspectives—Cuban, American, Canadian, citizen, expatriate, traveler—as they share their work exploring issues specific to the Cuba/US dynamic and beyond these boundaries.

 

Signings

Dana Diehl & Melissa Goodrich — “Of All the Infinite Possibilities

Signing of The Classroom from Gold Wake Press

Thu 3/28 from 1:00 to 3:00 @ T9056

 

Sarah Stone — “Mystery vs. Confusion

Signing of Hungry Ghost Theater from WTAW Press

Thu 3/28 from 3:00 to 4:00 @ B8096