CWW Interview with Peter Orner, Novelist, Guggenheim Fellow, & Granada Instructor

peter-ornerThis year, the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop’s Summer Writing Retreat in Granada, Spain, will take place from August 3-10, 2015. At the event, we’ll be hosting a wide variety of craft of writing seminars, creative writing workshops, and special readings from our Granada 2015 faculty, which includes Peter Orner, Rita Banerjee, Diana Norma Szokolyai, Jessica Reidy, and Elissa Lewis. One of our featured faculty members is Peter Ornera novelist and short story writer and winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship. The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop’s Katy Miller sat down to speak with Peter for an interview. Read below to see the interview, and be sure to register for our Granada retreat by April 20!

KM: You’ve taught many writing courses from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop to Charles University in Prague to your current position at San Francisco State. Does teaching affect your own viewpoint of the writing process?

PO: It’s such an honor that people trust me with their stories, and this is something I’ve never taken for granted. While I’m pretty sure writing can’t be taught, being a part of a group of artists who care about literature is in itself a great and often inspiring gift. This is lonely work—I spend so much time alone, either at my desk or wandering around the city.

Teaching has always been a kind of tether to the lives of other people, and like I say I’m very grateful for it. It doesn’t make my own work go any easier but it does help to know that other people – students, colleagues, share the same challenges. We’re all trying to say what maybe can’t be said as best we can…

KM: “Compression” is a word that’s often used when discussing your stories. Do these stories usually start off as clean and short as they end up, or is there a lot of cutting down and revision that goes into them? 

PO: Really depends on the story, sometimes they do start off much longer and then I chip away and chip away. Other times, they come out in sort of one breath, if this makes any sense. I do think if a story or a novel for that matter can be any shorter, I will try and make it so. I don’t like to waste words.

EstherStoriesKM: How would you compare your approach to writing the short story versus writing a novel or writing nonfiction?

PO: With a novel I settle in with my characters for the long haul—and I hope a reader will too. With a story I’m trying, in a sense, to grab onto a moment and hold steady for a bit. I want the moment to last longer, and for it to exist far beyond the page. Non-fiction is a whole different deal, and exciting in its own way. I spend so much time making stuff off, lying basically as a profession. There is something almost liberating about trying to hone as best I can to the truth.

KM: In Esther Stories and Last Car over the Sagamore Bridge, grief and pain in family relationships are recurring themes. What draws you to writing this subject matter?

PO: I think these are the stories that make us us. Our families, our griefs, our pain. Mixed in there, of course, is a great deal of joy and comedy. Got to have comedy. Funerals are always funnier to me than weddings. Am I alone here? And its strange, the comedy, the laughter, only makes the pain, the grief, the loss, more acute and vice versa.

KM: Geography is very present in your stories, from Fall River, Massachusetts to Nova Scotia. Do you begin a story from a sense or place? How do you typically choose a setting?

PO: Yes, I do start very often from place, a real place, and then I do my best to make a myth around that place. So it might be Fall River, or Namibia, or Chicago. I try to know as much as possible about the real place. Only then do I feel free to try to make my own fictional version of these real places.

LastCarCoverKM: What made you decide to weave characters from your older works, like the Kaplans, into your newer works like Sagamore?

PO: Sometimes characters just keep talking to me. It’s weird, I think I’m done with a character, like when a character dies for instance. And then the next morning I wake up and that dead character is talking to me again as if I didn’t kill him off. In fiction, you can bring people back to life, which is nice.

KM: Your stories often capture deep emotion but don’t rely on melodrama. Do you have any tips for writing tragedy without drama?

PO: Don’t push anything, don’t try and sell it. Emotion doesn’t need to be sold. I find readers will go with you if you don’t tell them what to feel.

KM: What projects are you currently working on?

PO: Pretty busy with new work, a new fiction, longer stuff and shorter, and new non-fiction, this one set in Haiti.

KM: What kind of workshops do you plan to offer when you join us on our Granada, Spain retreat?

PO: I’m so looking forward to Granada. What an unusual place to write and read. I’m going to do a story writing workshop where participants will leave with a number of stories in progress, as well as a craft/ literature class that will focus on Spanish literature in English translation.

KM: What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

PO: You’ve got time. I’ve never met a writer who says I have enough time to write, but the fact is that you do. We all do. In spite of our lives, our jobs, our families, our responsibilities. Even just a few quiet minutes a day can take you deep into a story. Dawn is always a good time to do some work.

Peter OrnerPeter Orner is the Chicago-born author of two novels, Love and Shame and Love (Little, Brown 2011) and The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo (Little, Brown, 2006) and two story collections, Esther Stories (Houghton Mifflin 2001/ Little, Brown 2013 with a forward by Marilynne Robinson) and Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge (Little, Brown, 2013). Orner’s fiction and non-fiction has appeared in the New York Times, the Atlantic Monthly, Granta, The Paris Review, McSweeney’s, Tin House, and has been anthologized in Best American Stories and twice won a Pushcart Prize. Orner was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship (2006), as well as the two-year Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship (2007-2008). He is also the editor of two books of non-fiction from McSweeney’s/ Voice of Witness, one about immigration in the U.S., and the other about Zimbabwe, and is currently working on a new volume set in Haiti. A film version of one of Orner’s stories, “The Raft” with a screenplay by Orner and the film’s director, Rob Jones, is currently in production and stars Ed Asner. He has also been awarded the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Goldberg Prize for Jewish Fiction, the California Book Award, and the Bard Fiction Prize. Orner has taught at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the University of Montana, Bard College, and is currently a professor in the MFA program at San Francisco State University as well as a member of the fiction faculty at Warren Wilson College. He lives in Bolinas, California where he’ also a member of the volunteer fire department. 

Register for CWW Summer Writing Retreat in Granada, Andalucía, Spain by April 20!

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Join the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop on our summer writing & yoga retreat to the cultural oasis of Granada, Spain. Located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Andalucía, Granada is one of the gems of Spain and has inspired writers from Washington Irving to Salman Rushdie to Ali Smith. Let the old city stimulate your writing with its winding streets, Moorish history, and evocative landscapes. Or, indulge in delicious Andalucían cuisine and traditional Arab baths. Work on your existing manuscript, or look to the beauty and warmth of Granada to inspire all-new projects.

The retreat offers the opportunity for writers of all genres and levels to work alongside award-winning authors & editors to hone their craft and expand their writing skills, while working on new or existing projects. Our Andalucían writing retreat will take place from August 3-10, 2015, and the cost of the workshop is $2950, which includes lodging, craft of writing seminars and writing workshops, yoga classes, room cleaning, and breakfast. Optional add-ons include reiki healing and aromatherapy sessions.

Faculty includes Peter Orner (fiction, nonfiction), Rita Banerjee (poetry, fiction), Diana Norma Szkoloyai (poetry, nonfiction), Jessica Reidy (fiction, poetry) and Elissa Lewis (yoga, meditation).

If you’d like to join us in Granada, please apply online at cww.submittable.com by April 20, 2015, and include $5 application screening fee and a 5-page writing sample. (Due to limited seats, early applications are encouraged, but check for rolling admission after deadline, depending on availability).

applyDeadline: April 20, 2015

Featured Faculty:

Peter OrnerPeter Orner Chicago born Peter Orner’s fiction and non-fiction has appeared in the New York Times, the Atlantic Monthly, Granta, The Paris Review, McSweeney’s, The Southern Review, The Forward, The San Francisco Chronicle, and Ploughshares. Stories have been anthologized in Best American Stories and twice won a Pushcart Prize. Orner was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship (2006), as well as the two-year Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship (2007-2008). A film version of one of Orner’s stories, “The Raft” with a screenplay by Orner and the film’s director, Rob Jones, is currently in production and stars Ed Asner.  Esther Stories (Houghton Mifflin/​ Mariner, 2001) was awarded the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Goldberg Prize for Jewish Fiction, and was a Finalist for the Pen Hemingway Award and the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award. Esther Stories was a 2001 New York Times Notable Book.

RBRita Banerjee is a writer, and received her PhD in Comparative Literature from Harvard University. She holds an MFA in Poetry and her writing has been published in Poets for Living Waters, The New Renaissance, The Fiction Project, Jaggery, The Crab Creek Review, The Dudley Review, Objet d’Art, Vox Populi, Dr. Hurley’s Snake-Oil Cure, and Chrysanthemum among other journals. Her first collection of poems,Cracklers at Night, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2010 and received First Honorable Mention for Best Poetry Book at the 2011-2012 Los Angeles Book Festival. Her novella, A Night with Kali, was digitized by the Brooklyn Art-house Co-op in 2011. She is a co-director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop, and her writing has been recently featured on HER KIND by VIDA: Women in Literary Arts and on KBOO Radio’s APA Compass in Portland, Oregon.

DianaNormaDiana Norma Szkoloyai is author of the poetry books Roses in the Snow and Parallel Sparrows (Finishing Line Press). Her writing and hybrid art have appeared in Lyre Lyre, Dr. Hurley’s Snake Oil Cure, The Fiction Project, Teachers as Writers, Polarity, The Boston Globe, The Dudley Review, Up the Staircase, Area Zinc Art Magazine, Belltower & the Beach, and Human Rights News. Founding Literary Arts Director of Chagall Performance Art Collaborative and co-director of the Cambridge Writer’s Workshop, she holds an Ed.M from Harvard and an M.A. in French Literature from the University of Connecticut.

25ugmblJessica Reidy earned her MFA in Fiction at Florida State University and a B.A. from Hollins University. Her work is Pushcart-nominated and has appeared in Narrative Magazine as Short Story of the Week, The Los Angeles Review, Arsenic Lobster, and other journals. She’s a staff-writer and the Outreach Editor for Quail Bell Magazine, Managing Editor for VIDA: Women in the Literary Arts, Art Editor for The Southeast Review, and Visiting Professor for the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop retreats. She teaches creative writing and is a certified yoga instructor and Reiki Master. Jessica also works her Romani (Gypsy) family trades, fortune telling, energy healing, and dancing. Jessica is currently writing her first novel set in post-WWII Paris about Coco Charbonneau, the half-Romani burlesque dancer and fortune teller of Zenith Circus, who becomes a Nazi hunter. You can learn more at www.jessicareidy.com.

ElissaLewisElissa Lewis is the Yoga & Arts Coordinator of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop.  She began her journey with yoga in 2006, when she moved to France and made the practice part of her daily routine. She saw yoga as a lifestyle, not only a class, helping her to clear her mind and have more compassion for herself and others. In 2010 she moved to New York and completed her teacher training at Laughing Lotus, a creative, soulful yoga studio that teaches the student to ‘move like yourself.’ She’s taught private and group classes in Manhattan and Brooklyn ever since. Visit her website for informative yoga sequences and information.

Cambridge Writers’ Workshop at AWP 2015 Recap!

CWW Intern Alex Carrigan manning the booth at AWP 2015.

From April 9-11, the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop was present at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs 2015 conference in Minneapolis, MN. Our organization was there with multiple goals in mind, from promoting our CREDO anthology to presses at the event to advertising our summer retreats in Paris and Granada. Our group was fortunate enough to be upgraded from a table to a full booth, giving us more room to work with and allowing visitors to see more of our materials and programs. Visitors were able to take flyers, CWW buttons, and even contribute to our daily exquisite corpse poems.

CWW Exec Board member Jonah Kruvant sold his new book, “The Last Book Ever Written,” at our booth.

Our staff for the event included CWW intern Alex Carrigan, who helped set the booth up and ran around networking with various publishers and presses. Executive Board member Jonah Kruvant was also at our table on Friday and Saturday. At the table, Kruvant sold and signed his new book, The Last Book Ever Writtena dystopian satire just released from PanAm Books.

Dena Rash Guzman and Leah Umansky, friends of the CWW, also were also present at our table for selling and signing their works. Umansky sold her Mad Men inspired chapbook, Don Dreams and I Dream, along with her book Domestic Uncertainties. Guzman was there with her poetry collection called Life Cycle, and both authors promoted the CWW-sponsored reading on Saturday.

Leah Umansky and Dena Rash Guzman signed their works at our table on Friday.

Leah Umansky and Dena Rash Guzman signed their works at our table on Friday.

On Saturday, the CWW headed over to Boneshaker Books for our scheduled reading “Books and Bones at Boneshaker Books.” The event featured twelve readers. Along with Carrigan, Kruvant, Guzman, and Umansky, readers included Anca Szilagyi, Micah Dean Hicks, Michele Nereim, Bianca Stone, Jessica Piazza, Jess Burnquist, Sheila McMullin, and Brenda Peynado. The two hour reading featured a great mix of poetry, short fiction, and book excerpts.

We had a great time at AWP, and we can’t wait to see you next year at AWP 2016 in Los Angeles!

Cambridge Writers’ Workshop’s AWP 2015 Exquisite Corpse #3

ExquisiteCorpseThe Cambridge Writers’ Workshop is busy at the Association of Writers’ and Writers Programs Conference in Minneapolis this week, but while we’re not promoting our upcoming retreats or our CREDO anthology, we’re encouraging visitors to contribute to our exquisite corpse poem. Every day, we’ll post a new poem to the website. You can read Thursday’s poem here and Friday’s poem here.

Saturday’s CWW AWP “Corps Exquis”

I am a man weighed down by burden
of the unphysical sort, buckets of oil spelunking
on their own minus the centrifuge of dystopian
orgasms.

The spine is linked with marshmallows
melted over the sweet potato pie of ravaded
America.

…swallowing dust, digging dirt,
her white dress soiled, soul tainted…

eyes like tangerines, a Parliament
between her teeth, “Kill me,” she
screams into the asphalt.

My eyes are dried into raisins.

Cambridge Writers’ Workshop presents “Books & Bones,” our AWP 2015 Reading!

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The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop hosting an offsite reading event during the conference. “Books and Bones:  A Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Reading” is a poetry and fiction reading at Boneshaker Books on Saturday, April 11 from 3-5 pm. We’ve got twelve readers who will come and share some of their best work with our captive audience. Below are our profiles on each of the readers:

IMG_7596Anca L. Szilágyi is a Brooklynite living in Seattle. The longer she lives in Seattle, the stronger her Brooklyn accent seems to get. Her writing has appeared in GastronomicaFairy Tale Review, Cicada, and the Ploughshares blog, among other publications.

mbgmdrbvox_qe83kocogslibryphqly9vlj7nuf1f1uA writer, teacher, and student of the world, Jonah Kruvant received his Bachelor’s degree from Skidmore College, his Master’s degree in Teaching from Fordham University, and his MFA degree from Goddard College. After living abroad in four different countries, Jonah settled in New York.

 

Current ThumbnailMicah Dean Hicks is a Calvino Prize-winning author of fabulist fiction. His work has appeared in places like Witness, New Letters, Indiana Review, New Orleans Review, and Baltimore Review. His story collection, Electricity and Other Dreams, was recently published by New American Press and received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. He attends the creative writing PhD program at Florida State University, where he studies fiction and folklore.

mm93kgAlex Carrigan has been an editorial and PR intern for the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop since May 2014. He holds a B.S. in Mass Communications: Print/Online Journalism and a minor in World Cinema from Virginia Commonwealth University. When he is not working for Cambridge, he is also the Staff Film Reviewer and a regular contributor for Quail Bell Magazine. He has had work published in Poictesme Literary JournalAmendment Literary Journal, and Realms Magazine. He currently lives in Virginia and is looking for a career in publishing and art criticism.

10888391_10106225841395751_4542817941090068017_nMichele Nereim received her MFA from Florida State University. Her essay about the insanity of Florida football appeared on NPR, and, this past year year, she moved to Houston where she is working on her novel and her CRW Ph.D. at the University of Houston. Florida is her weird, colorful muse.

 

B (1)Bianca Stone is a poet and visual artist. She is the co-founder and editor of Monk Books, as well as the author of  Someone Else’s Wedding Vows (Tin House/Octopus Books 2014), and Antigonick (New Directions 2012, a collaboration with Anne Carson. She lives in Brooklyn.

jungleJessica Piazza is the author of two full-length poetry collections from Red Hen Press: Interrobang–winner of the AROHO 2011 To the Lighthouse Poetry Prize and the 2013 Balcones Poetry Prize – and Obliterations (with Heather Aimee O’Neill, forthcoming), as well as the chapbook This is not a sky (Black Lawrence Press.) She holds a Ph.D. in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California and is currently a contributing editor for The Offending Adam and a screener for the National Poetry Series. She is the co-founder of Bat City Review in Austin, TX and Gold Line Press in Los Angeles, and she teaches for the Writing Program at USC and the online MFA program at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. In 2015 she started the “Poetry Has Value” project, hoping to spark conversations about poetry and worth. Learn more at www.poetryhasvalue.com.

burnquistJess Burnquist was raised in Tempe, Arizona. She received her MFA in Creative Writing/Poetry from Arizona State University. Her work has appeared in The Washington PostTime.comPersonaClackamas Literary Review, and various online journals.(See more at http://www.jessburnquist.com) She is a recipient of the Joan Frazier Memorial Award for the Arts at ASU. Jess currently teaches high school in San Tan Valley and has been honored with a Sylvan Silver Apple Award. She resides in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area with her husband, son, and daughter.

IMG_4254Dena Rash Guzman is the author of Life Cycle—Poems (Dog On A Chain Press, 2013.) Her work can be found online and in print at The Rumpus, The Nervous Breakdown, Ink Node, Gertrude and others, as well as in anthologies from the United States to the People’s Republic of China. She is a disability rights advocate and a beekeeper. She resides in Oregon.

standing pic by edward brydonLeah Umansky is a poet, collagist and teacher in New York City. She is the author of the Mad Men inspired chapbook, Don Dreams and I Dream and the full-length collection Domestic Uncertainties.  Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in such places as Forklift, Ohio, POETRY, and Coconut Poetry. She is also the curator of the Couplet reading series and her Game of Thrones inspired poems have recently been translated into Norwegian by Beijing Trondheim.

 

SMSheila McMullin is Assistant Editor for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts where she writes the column “Spotlight On!” celebrating literary magazines that publish a diverse representation of writers. She is Managing Editor and Poetry Editor for ROAR Magazine, as well as Communications and Outreach Coordinator for District Lit. She works as an after-school creative writing and college prep instructor and volunteers at her local animal rescue.  She holds her M.F.A. from George Mason University. Follow her on Twitter @smcmulli.

 

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Brenda Peynado has work appearing in The Threepenny Review, Mid-American Review, Black Warrior Review, Pleiades, Cimarron Review, Colorado Review, 3rd Place in Glimmer Train‘s Fiction Open Contest, and others. She received her MFA from Florida State University and her BA from Wellesley College. Last year, she was on a Fulbright Grant to the Dominican Republic, writing a novel. This year she is a PhD student at the University of Cincinnati.

Cambridge Writers’ Workshop’s AWP 2015 Exquisite Corpse #2

exquisitecorpse031

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop is busy at the Association of Writers’ and Writers Programs Conference in Minneapolis this week, but while we’re not promoting our upcoming retreats or our CREDO anthology, we’re encouraging visitors to contribute to our exquisite corpse poem. Every day, we’ll post a new poem to the website. You can read Thursday’s poem here.

Friday’s CWW AWP “Corps Exquis”

There are three ways to skin a cat, and
I don’t recommend the second.
Keep up with the first one, otherwise
it might get messy.
Do not touch the glimmering insides as they
pierce the skin like the bone of the teeth.
Teething and sheathing
with a man’s last breath.
A luscious, delicious, Flower Monkey dances
with a radiant sense of self.
The sense is challenged,
barred by fun house mirrors.
The third way involves
pliers.
Don’t doubt your horses.
Shatter it for the jar. The big one.
I am hungover.

Cambridge Writers’ Workshop’s AWP 2015 Exquisite Corpse #1

An exquisite corpse drawing by Man Ray, Yves Tanguy, Joan Miro, and Max Morise

An exquisite corpse drawing by Man Ray, Yves Tanguy, Joan Miro, and Max Morise

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop is busy at the Association of Writers’ and Writers Programs Conference in Minneapolis this week, but while we’re not promoting our upcoming retreats or our CREDO anthology, we’re encouraging visitors to contribute to our exquisite corpse poem. Every day, we’ll post a new poem to the website.

Thursday’s CWW AWP “Corps Exquis”

What I found conventional about unconventionality
was the rust-rimmed rebar bones
And the color the water turned in winter
When the leaves fell in and rotted: turquoise-grey
Like the magnet on the fridge,
the morning I got the news.
Winds, rain, crashing charge.
Arms Akimbo, she flies.

A Recap Of The Newport, Rhode Island 2015 Writing & Yoga Retreat

Thank you to everyone who joined us for our Newport, Rhode Island Writing & Yoga Retreat! The retreat kicked off on Thursday night with dinner and a champagne toast. On Friday, Kathleen Spivack (author of With Robert Lowell and His Circle and Pulitzer Prize nominee) graced us with her presence.

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Executive Creative Director Rita Banerjee broke the ice with Literary Taboo followed by Weirding the World with renowned Brooklyn-based playwright Stephen Aubrey.

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Executive Artistic Director Norma Szkoloyai taught participants how to bring their voices from page to performance. Featured below is participant Claire Ince reading her piece alongside her own musical composition.

In the evening, Stephen Aubrey taught us how to break traditional Aristotelian structures during Against Aristotle: New Structures for New Stories.

A special thanks to Elissa Lewis who led Energizing Yoga every morning.

Photo Apr 04, 7 52 54 AM

Sound exciting? Join one of our upcoming retreats in Paris or Granada! To apply, visit cww.submittable.com. Applications for Paris must be submitted by May 5, 2015.

Cambridge Writers’ Workshop is coming to AWP 2015 in Minneapolis, Minnesota!

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop will be tabling at the Association of Writers and Writing Program (AWP)’s 2015 conference in Minneapolis, MN this April from April 9 to April 11. We’ve got some exciting plans for the event, so anyone who is in Minneapolis for the event should come see us. Last year’s event was a great success for us, allowing us to promote our CREDO anthology and advertise our Château de Verderonne retreat, and we hope we can have an even better experience this year.

We’ll be tabling at Table 954 near the AWP Event Stage. There, you will be able to find information regarding our upcoming yoga and writing retreats and other opportunities. You’ll be able to find info regarding our upcoming retreats in Paris and Granada. We’ll also have updates on our CREDO anthology and information for those who want to become members of the CWW or who want to apply for internships. Some of the people who will be sitting at our table will also be selling copies of their books and will be doing author signings, including CWW member Jonah Kruvant and CWW intern Alex Carrigan.

AWPReading2015Poster (1)

We’ll also be hosting an offsite reading event during the conference. “Books and Bones:  A Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Reading” is a poetry and fiction reading at Boneshaker Books on Saturday, April 11 from 3-5 pm. We’ve got twelve readers who will come and share some of their best work with our captive audience. Below are our profiles on each of the readers:

IMG_7596Anca L. Szilágyi is a Brooklynite living in Seattle. The longer she lives in Seattle, the stronger her Brooklyn accent seems to get. Her writing has appeared in GastronomicaFairy Tale Review, Cicada, and the Ploughshares blog, among other publications.

mbgmdrbvox_qe83kocogslibryphqly9vlj7nuf1f1uA writer, teacher, and student of the world, Jonah Kruvant received his Bachelor’s degree from Skidmore College, his Master’s degree in Teaching from Fordham University, and his MFA degree from Goddard College. After living abroad in four different countries, Jonah settled in New York.

 

Current ThumbnailMicah Dean Hicks is a Calvino Prize-winning author of fabulist fiction. His work has appeared in places like Witness, New Letters, Indiana Review, New Orleans Review, and Baltimore Review. His story collection, Electricity and Other Dreams, was recently published by New American Press and received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. He attends the creative writing PhD program at Florida State University, where he studies fiction and folklore.

mm93kgAlex Carrigan has been an editorial and PR intern for the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop since May 2014. He holds a B.S. in Mass Communications: Print/Online Journalism and a minor in World Cinema from Virginia Commonwealth University. When he is not working for Cambridge, he is also the Staff Film Reviewer and a regular contributor for Quail Bell Magazine. He has had work published in Poictesme Literary JournalAmendment Literary Journal, and Realms Magazine. He currently lives in Virginia and is looking for a career in publishing and art criticism.

10888391_10106225841395751_4542817941090068017_nMichele Nereim received her MFA from Florida State University. Her essay about the insanity of Florida football appeared on NPR, and, this past year year, she moved to Houston where she is working on her novel and her CRW Ph.D. at the University of Houston. Florida is her weird, colorful muse.

 

B (1)Bianca Stone is a poet and visual artist. She is the co-founder and editor of Monk Books, as well as the author of  Someone Else’s Wedding Vows (Tin House/Octopus Books 2014), and Antigonick (New Directions 2012, a collaboration with Anne Carson. She lives in Brooklyn.

jungleJessica Piazza is the author of two full-length poetry collections from Red Hen Press: Interrobang–winner of the AROHO 2011 To the Lighthouse Poetry Prize and the 2013 Balcones Poetry Prize – and Obliterations (with Heather Aimee O’Neill, forthcoming), as well as the chapbook This is not a sky (Black Lawrence Press.) She holds a Ph.D. in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California and is currently a contributing editor for The Offending Adam and a screener for the National Poetry Series. She is the co-founder of Bat City Review in Austin, TX and Gold Line Press in Los Angeles, and she teaches for the Writing Program at USC and the online MFA program at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. In 2015 she started the “Poetry Has Value” project, hoping to spark conversations about poetry and worth. Learn more at www.poetryhasvalue.com.

burnquistJess Burnquist was raised in Tempe, Arizona. She received her MFA in Creative Writing/Poetry from Arizona State University. Her work has appeared in The Washington PostTime.comPersonaClackamas Literary Review, and various online journals.(See more at http://www.jessburnquist.com) She is a recipient of the Joan Frazier Memorial Award for the Arts at ASU. Jess currently teaches high school in San Tan Valley and has been honored with a Sylvan Silver Apple Award. She resides in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area with her husband, son, and daughter.

IMG_4254Dena Rash Guzman is the author of Life Cycle—Poems (Dog On A Chain Press, 2013.) Her work can be found online and in print at The Rumpus, The Nervous Breakdown, Ink Node, Gertrude and others, as well as in anthologies from the United States to the People’s Republic of China. She is a disability rights advocate and a beekeeper. She resides in Oregon.

standing pic by edward brydonLeah Umansky is a poet, collagist and teacher in New York City. She is the author of the Mad Men inspired chapbook, Don Dreams and I Dream and the full-length collection Domestic Uncertainties.  Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in such places as Forklift, Ohio, POETRY, and Coconut Poetry. She is also the curator of the Couplet reading series and her Game of Thrones inspired poems have recently been translated into Norwegian by Beijing Trondheim.

 

SMSheila McMullin is Assistant Editor for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts where she writes the column “Spotlight On!” celebrating literary magazines that publish a diverse representation of writers. She is Managing Editor and Poetry Editor for ROAR Magazine, as well as Communications and Outreach Coordinator for District Lit. She works as an after-school creative writing and college prep instructor and volunteers at her local animal rescue.  She holds her M.F.A. from George Mason University. Follow her on Twitter @smcmulli.

 

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Brenda Peynado has work appearing in The Threepenny Review, Mid-American Review, Black Warrior Review, Pleiades, Cimarron Review, Colorado Review, 3rd Place in Glimmer Train‘s Fiction Open Contest, and others. She received her MFA from Florida State University and her BA from Wellesley College. Last year, she was on a Fulbright Grant to the Dominican Republic, writing a novel. This year she is a PhD student at the University of Cincinnati.

We hope you come visit us at the book fair and come to our reading. It will be a week of literature, poetry, performance, and culture, so we hope to see you there.