After three Covid-forced years away, I’m back at the Collegeville Institute this week and next, leading a workshop called Apart and Yet a Part. I couldn’t be happier.
For the next ten days, I’ll be meeting individually with writers who will spend their days with no commitments other working on their own writing. Evenings, we’ll have dinner together and post-dinner discussions about writing and life, a book exchange, a meditation walk, and a final-night reading of new material.
This is the land of Minnesota Nice, which isn’t as glib as it sounds. Our power was out this morning and it strengthened my belief in humanity just to watch the staff here interact with the physical plant workers who came to get us back online. Everyone was respectful and helpful and thankful and had a good sense of humor. Why aren’t we all this way with each other all the time?
For the third year in a row, I’ll be part of the excellent creative writing faculty at the Manhattanville College MFA Summer Writers’ Week. Taking place June 17-21, the program offers workshops every morning, craft and publishing seminars every afternoon, and readings every evening. It’s an awesome week.
This year’s featured writer is novelist Hannah Tinti, who will be teaching the fiction workshop. The wonderful Melissa Tuckey will be back to teach the poetry workshop and the talented Sharbari Ahmed returns to teach dramatic writing.
Registration is $750 and for a mere $200 more, you can stay in a single room in a suite in the dorms. Manhattanville is in Purchase, NY, just half an hour from New York City, making it easy to add a couple of days in Manhattan on either end.
I’m thrilled to announce I’ll be part of a reading called IN HIS OWN WORDS: A TRIBUTE TO BRIAN DOYLE at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 28, with these amazing authors:
Robin Cody, David James Duncan, John Freeman, Jordan Imani Keith, Brenda Miller, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Kim Stafford, and Joe Wilkins. Chip Blake, editor of ORION, and Sy Safransky, editor of THE SUN, will speak too.
The event will take place at the McMenamins Mission Theater & Pub (1624 NW Glisan, Portland, OR). It’s FREE but you need tickets, which will be available starting at 4 p.m. (PST) TODAY. (The theater seats about 200 people, but the organizers–ORION and THE SUN–think tickets will be snapped up quickly, so don’t wait!)
To order tickets, go to: https://www.mcmenamins.com/mission-theater. You will go through what looks like buying a ticket, but in the end, there will be no charge, no asking for credit card info, etc.
We’re all going to be reading pieces of Brian’s work. It should be a wonderful evening.
If you live in or around New York City, come down to Poets House at 10 River Terrace at 7 p.m. on Friday, November 30, for a Celebration of Robert Lax on his 103rd birthday. I’ll be sharing stories about Lax and reading some of his poems, along with poet and former Lax literary assistant John Beer and poet Stacey Tran. Lax’s niece and literary executor, Marcia Kelly, will be in attendance too. It should be a wonderful evening of great poetry, fellowship and reminiscences. The cost is: $10, $7 for seniors & students, free for Poets House members.
Note: We were hoping we’d have copies available of New Directions’ reissue of Lax’s classic collection 33 Poems, but publication has been delayed until next February. We’ll have advance copies for you to look at, though.
I announced a couple of months ago that I’ve been asked to be a resident writer at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China, this fall.
I have a few more details about it:
The residency is sponsored by the English Creative Writing Center at Sun Yat-Sen University, the only program in China focused on creative writing in English. The programs founder and director is a writer herself, Dai Fan.
The residency begins on October 22 and lasts through Nov. 18. For the first two weeks, we’ll be in Yangshou in the Guangxi Autonomous Region with no duties other than writing. (The featured image here, of Yangshou, is from the China and Asia Cultural Travel website.) Next, we’ll spend a week at Sun Yat-sen’s main campus in Guangzhou, giving talks and readings and meeting with faculty and students. Then, the last week, we’ll be back to writing, this time in Meizhou in Guangdong Province.
I’ll be there with seven writers from six other countries–for information on them and their work, click on their names below:
I haven’t been blogging on this site lately but I will during my time in China. For now, if you’re interested in learning more about the program and what I’ll be experiencing, check out this edition of Ninth Letter with links to creative works by participants in the program two years ago.
In March, after my talk on the ethics of biography at the Associated Writers and Writing Programs conference in Tampa, Florida, a Chinese writer named Dai Fan, who directs the creative writing program at Sun-Yat Sen University in Guangzhou, China, came up to me and invited to be part of a writing residency there this fall. It’s taken a while for the paperwork to be done but I can announce now that I will be joining writers from seven other countries for four weeks of writing, lectures and readings this October and November.
We’ll have two weeks free for writing in the beautiful autonomous region of Guilin (pictured here), a week of talks and readings in Guangzhou, and a final week of writing in the cultural capital of Meizhou.
I’ll give more details, including the names of the other writers and the countries they’re from, in a future post.
The creative writing program at Sun Yat-sen University is the only one of its kind in English in China. Students from the program will be our interpreters while we’re there. I anticipate many interesting conversations with them, as well as the other writers and the program faculty.
If you’re looking for a summer writing program to attend, you can’t do better than the Manhattanville College MFA’s Summer Writers’ Week. For just $650 ($750 after March 31), you get an all-morning workshop each day with a small group of fellow writers, afternoon craft presentations in all genres, and evening readings and other events. Housing for the week is just $40/night–and Manhattanville College is only a half hour away by train or car from New York City. (All workshop and events take place in the most beautiful rooms you’ll find at any writers’ week anywhere.)
Bestselling fiction writer and memoirist Dani Shapiro will be the week’s keynote speaker and lead the fiction workshop.
If you’re going to the Associated Writers and Writing Programs conference in Tampa next month, I’ll be participating in a panel called The Lives of Others: Biography as Creative Nonfictionfrom 9:00 to 10:15 a.m. on Saturday, March 10, in Room 13 on the first floor of the Tampa Convention Center.
I’ll give a short presentation on ethics in biography and the other participants (Joanne B. Mulcahy and Terese Svoboda) will make short presentations too, but much of the session will be devoted to a wide-ranging discussion of biography in general, with plenty of time for audience questions.
In the summer of 2018, I’ll be the writing coach again for two different weeks at the Collegeville Institute at St. John’s University in Minnesota. These weeks are all-expenses-paid, even your airfare. The one requirement is that your writing should have a spiritual component. Details are below:
Wednesday, July 25 to Tuesday, July 31, 2018—Writing Beyond the Academy–for academics who want to reach a broader audience–application deadline is: Monday, February 5, 2018. To apply, click here.
Thursday, August 2-Wednesday, August 8–Apart and Yet a Part–for established writers–application deadline is Monday, February 12, 2018. To apply, click here.
For more about the Collegeville Institute’s Summer Writing Program, click here.
From 9:15 to 10:30 a.m. on Friday, April 28, I’ll be talking about writing my Robert Lax biography on a panel titled “Biography and the Catholic Literary Imagination” in the McNally Amphitheatre at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center campus. The panel is part of the 2017 Catholic Imagination Conference with its theme “The Future of the Catholic Literary Imagination.” Appearing with me on the panel will be:
The conference runs all day Friday and Saturday, April 28 & 29. Featured speakers include Alice McDermott, Ron Hansen, Dana Gioia, James Martin and Mary Gordon. For complete details, go to the conference website, where you’ll find times and summaries for all of the talks and panels.