Briggs Opera House

Interview: Nathan Yungerberg

Those of you who attended JAGFest 2.0 back in February 2018 might remember a riveting staged reading of Nathan Yungerberg’s play Esai’s Table, where destiny meets eternity for three young black men atop an ancient magical table in a mythic tale of black lives, friendship, family, and love. Back then, we volunteered at JAGFest and were able to do a brief interview with this remarkable, thoughtful playwright.

This month, Esai’s Table is back as a full production at Briggs Opera House in White River Junction, Vermont, and Nathan kindly took time out of his incredibly busy schedule to answer a few of our questions about his experience in moving from a staged reading to a full production. We love his reflections on the process and hope you will too. Thank you so much, Nathan, and Jarvis Green of JAG Productions for bringing this incredible production to the Upper Valley. Break a leg!

The world premiere of Esai’s Table is at Briggs Opera House from October 10 to 17, starring Dimitri Carter, Cornelius Davidson, Marcus Gladney, Jr., and Benton Green, and directed by Stevie Walker-Webb.

Tickets to Esai’s Table are $35 and are on sale now!

Nathan Yungerberg

Nathan Yungerberg


Literary North: How would you describe Esai's Table to someone coming to it for the first time?

Nathan Yungerberg: Esai's Table is an Afro Surrealist fantasy that explores the humanity of young black men. It is hard to explain too much without giving away crucial elements of the story, but I would say be prepared for an otherworldly dimension jumping emotional rollercoaster!

LN: How did JAGfest and the work you did there shape the final creation of Esai's Table?

NY: Getting away from NYC for one week and having a chance to breathe allowed me to see the play from a whole new perspective. I ended up making a significant change to the ending of the play that is much more subtle on some levels but packs an emotional punch and wraps up the themes of the play.

LN: What do you think of the process, in general, of doing staged readings? Have you found it helpful (or essential?) to developing a full production?

NY: Staged readings can be helpful for so many reasons. This day and age, when it is so challenging to get a production, it is beneficial to be able to share your work in a simplified, cost-effective setting. I appreciate readings because I can learn the most when I can hear it. I also find it a great way to introduce people to my work. I can say that over a decade of writing and numerous readings, I am a fan of the process and find it helpful. I have found it useful in the developmental process that leads up to this full production. I have learned so much about the play over the past five years, and each reading I have done, I learned a little more.

LN: Were there things in the staged reading version (themes, characters, scenes, lines, etc.) that you ultimately decided to cut or change for the full production but were sorry to lose? If so, can you tell us about an example?

NY: There was a numerology theme that existed in the staged reading. While I loved it, I felt it was confusing for the audience. I had also not fleshed out the idea enough to warrant its place in the play, so it had to go. I wouldn't say I was sorry to lose it, but it is always a process of letting a creative aspect go. The good thing is that I recycle aspects of my stories that don't make the cut, so I will probably use it in another story one day.

LN: What special gifts do each of the individual actors bring to the production?

NY: First of all, the actors are so amazing, and I love them so much! When Benton Greene, who plays Esai, came into the audition room, he brought this air of mystery and otherworldly energy that was scary, but it was exactly what we wanted for the character! He also brings a lot of compassion and love to the role, which balances out the dark sides of Esai. Benton is also brilliant, and when he comments about something that isn't sitting right, I listen!

Dimitri Carter, who plays Adam, brings a level of optimism and innocence that is crucial to the character. We knew Dimitri was our Adam from the moment he walked into the audition room and melted our hearts.

Marcus Gladney, Jr. IS David. He has this authentic air of self-esteem and self awareness that is so beautiful.

Cornelius Davidson brings both the vulnerability and the sharp edge of Michael into the room. You get the sense that the character has a lot going on deep inside because Cornelius understands the revealing of layers that are required to make Michael believable.

LN: What are you working on next?

NY: I decided a few months ago that I am going to start calling myself a storyteller, and I am launching my own storytelling company, Mercurri. I will be producing a national tour of my play THEA (about Sister Thea Bowman) and an international tour of my play Mother of Pearl, which is a metaphysical love letter to the house music scene. I am also working on a play with music with Larry Waddell, one of the founding members of the R&B group Mint Condition.


Nathan Yungerberg is a Brooklyn-based playwright whose work has been developed or featured by The Cherry Lane Theatre (2017 Mentor Project with Stephen Adly Guirgis), Roundabout Theatre Company, The Playwrights’ Center, JAG Productions, Crowded Fire Theater, American Blues Theater, The Brooklyn Museum, The Nuyorican Poets Café , The Lorraine Hansberry Theater, and many others. Nathan is one of seven black playwrights commissioned by The New Black Fest for HANDS UP: 7 Playwrights, 7 Testaments, which was published by Samuel French.

The Dipper - October 2019

"The Dipper" is our monthly newsletter, where we highlight readings, events, calls for submission, and other literary-related news for the coming month. If you have news or events to share, let us know 

October News

We both adored Sara London’s new poetry collection, Upkeep (out from Four Way Books), so naturally, we just had to ask Sara for an interview. Head on over to our blog to give it a read. You can catch Sara reading from her new collection on Thursday, October 10, at The Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury, Vermont, as part of the NER Vermont Reading Series.

It’s October 1, which means we start our group read of Lucy Ellmann’s Ducks, Newburyport today! We’d love for you to read along with us. Although the book had to be reprinted, copies should be available now or will be in the near future. The comments section of our blog post is open and ready for discussion. We can’t wait to hear what you think of this Booker shortlisted title.

Ben Cosgrove

Ben Cosgrove

We’ve started work on the second chapbook in our Little Dipper series, an essay by composer and musician Ben Cosgrove tentatively titled A Space Filled With Moving. We have a bit of editing to do, but we’re working on the design now! They will be available in a limited edition of 25.

Because of the above projects plus an upcoming event in December that we’re excited to tell you about soon, our Slow Club Book Club is on hiatus until January 2020. Did you miss a title? Well, now you have plenty of time to play catch up. Finished everything? Then we’d love to have you join us for our group read along of Ducks, Newburyport. Would you like to help us plan for SCBC 2020? Send us an email with your thoughts and suggestions.

Those of you who attended JAGFest 2.0 back in February 2018 might remember a riveting staged reading of Nathan Yungerberg’s Esai’s Table. Back then, we volunteered at JAGFest and were able to do a brief interview with this remarkable, thoughtful playwright. This month, Esai’s Table is back as a full production at Briggs Opera House in White River Junction, Vermont, from October 10 to 27. It’s moving, beautiful, powerful, and very worth your time. Tickets are available now.


October Shooting Stars

A cool literary find from each of us to help light up your month!

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  • Did you hear that The Yale Review has a new design and a new editor, Meghan O’Rourke, for their 200th anniversary issue? The lineup for the new issue includes Sheila Heti, Sarah Manguso, Dan Chiasson, Kevin Young, Shane McCrae, Idra Novey, Emily Bernard, and Aria Aber. I know I’ll be getting a copy.—Shari

  • Speaking of new designs and editors, Junction Magazine is back! Junction was founded by our friend James Napoli, a kindred spirit, a great photographer, and the center of so many excellent events and parties. When James moved to Minnesota earlier this year, he left Junction in the capable hands of a new band of editors. Welcome back, Junction! We missed you! —Rebecca


October Highlights

Major Jackson

Major Jackson

On Tuesday, October 1, Major Jackson introduces Didi Jackson, Vievee Francis, Camille Guthrie, and Jane Shore in celebration of The Best American Poetry 2019 at The Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury, Vermont, at 6:30 pm.

The Vermont Humanities 1st Wednesdays Lecture Series kicks things off again in October. The series, which goes through May 2020, features authors Alison Bechdel, Mark Dery, David Macaulay, Ilan Stevens, Richard Blanco, David Blight, Melanie Finn, Mitchell S. Jackson, and Annelise Orleck at various locations around Vermont. For more information and a complete schedule of events, please visit the Vermont Humanities website.

Ann Patchett will be in conversation with Peter Biello at the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord, New Hampshire, on Wednesday, October 2, at 7:30 pm to talk about her newest novel, The Dutch House.

On Friday, October 4 at 7:00 pm, poets Janaka Stucky and Samuel Ace are reading at Antidote Books in Putney, Vermont.

Jeff Sharlet

Jeff Sharlet

Also on Friday, October 4, Jeff Sharlet (who was a part of our very first event, The Mud Season Salon) will be at MacDowell Downtown in Peterborough, New Hampshire, to share clips and talk about the making of the Netflix documentary series The Family, which is based on his books The Family and C Street. Not to be missed.

Join Open Fields School on Saturday, October 5 at the Newberry Market in White River Junction, Vermont, for their biennial fundraising extravaganza: The Great Goose Egg Auction. The auction features a slew of decorated and illustrated eggs, many by writers, book illustrators, and cartoonists. It’s always a fun afternoon and all proceeds go directly to this special school.

Ross Gay will be reading and signing books at UVM on Tuesday, October 8, at the Davis Center at 4 pm.

Reuben Jackson reads from his newest collection of poetry, Scattered Clouds, on Tuesday, October 8 at Bear Pond Books in Montpelier, Vermont. The reading begins at 7:00 pm.

On Thursday, October 10 at 7:00 pm, The Vermont Bookshop in Middlebury, Vermont, is hosting the NER Vermont Reading Series, featuring four extraordinary writers: Emily Arnason Casey, Rahat Huda, Sara London, and Sarah Wolfson.

Shira Erlichman. Photo by Hieu Minh Nguyen

Shira Erlichman. Photo by Hieu Minh Nguyen

Poets L.S. McKee, Jennifer Sperry Steinorth, and Shira Erlichman will be reading at The Word Barn in Exeter, New Hampshire, on Friday, October 11, at 7:00 pm.

On Saturday, October 12, Montana author and activist Rick Bass offers a public reading and talk at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center in Craftsbury, Vermont, from 7:00 to 8:00 pm.

David Sedaris returns to the Lebanon Opera House in Lebanon, New Hampshire, on Sunday, October 13, at 7:30 pm for an evening featuring all-new stories, an audience Q&A, and a book signing.

The winners of the Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards will be announced at Filene Auditorium at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire on Wednesday, October 16, from 5:00 to 7:00 pm.

The Brattleboro Literary Festival has a particularly stellar lineup this year for their weekend-long festival October 17 to 20. The 2019 schedule is now live on their website (and our calendar). Here are just a few of the writers we’re looking forward to seeing: Casey Cep, Anna Maria Hong, Miciah Bay Gault, Edgar Kunz, Dorothea Lasky, T Kira Madden, Jess Row, Mary Ruefle, Pitchaya Sudbanthad and Philip B. Williams.

M Jackson

M Jackson

On Tuesday, October 22 at 7:00 pm, geographer, adventurer, explorer, and Green Writers Press author M Jackson will be giving talk at Landmark College in Putney, Vermont, about how an Icelandic community is dealing with the loss of their local glaciers.

Jericho Brown reads as part of the Poetry at Bennington series on Wednesday, October 23, at 7:00 pm. The reading takes place in Tishman Lecture Hall on Bennington College’s campus in Bennington, Vermont.

Catch Peter Orner reading from his latest book of short stories, Maggie Brown & Others, at Dartmouth College’s Sanborn Library in Hanover, New Hampshire, on Thursday, October 24, from 4:30 to 6:00 pm.

Visit our calendar for detailed information about these events and more!

 

Worth a Drive

  • If you’ll be in the Boston area the weekend of October 19 and 20, you should definitely pop over to The Boston Book Festival in Copley Square and Roxbury. Authors include Elizabeth Strout, Richard Blanco, Sarah Broom, Susan Choi, Akwaeke Emezi, Saeed Jones, Jamaica Kincaid, Sandra Newman, Morgan Parker, Kate Walbert, Chris Ware and so many more!

  • We can’t imagine a cooler event to attend than A Night of Poetry at Mount Holyoke College on Tuesday, October 8 at 7:00 pm to celebrate the release of Shira Erlichman’s newest collection, Odes to Lithium. Franny Choi and Ocean Vuong will be joining her to read and discuss. The event takes place at the Gamble Auditorium on Mount Holyoke’s campus in South Hadley, Massachusetts.

 

Worth a Listen

  • “Imagining a New America” with Ta-Nehisi Coates on the On Being podcast.

  • Give us all the Ruefle, all the time. Mary Ruefle is over at Bookworm and WMFA with two fabulous and very different interviews.

 

We're Looking Forward to These October Releases


Calls For Submission and Upcoming Deadlines

NHIA Storytelling Festival
This year’s Festival (November 2) calls for entries from artists based on ‘growing-up.’ Writers, storytellers, illustrators, graphic novelists, creatives working in a wide variety of other media (both professional or amateur), are invited to participate in this Moth Radio Hour-style event. The stories can be true or embellished and each presenter will be limited to five minutes.
Deadline: October 11 | Details

Hunger Mountain Issue 24: Patterns
General submissions are open in prose and poetry on the theme of patterns. Work must not have been published before, including online.
Deadline: October 15 | Details

Lifelines Magazine
Accepting submissions of original and unpublished short stories, nonfiction, poetry, and artwork for their 2020 issue. While they consider a broad spectrum of subject matter for publication, they are looking for pieces that speak to the experience of medicine in some way.
Deadline: October 31 | Details

Tupleo Press’s Sunken Garden Chapbook Poetry Prize
Now accepting submissions for the annual poetry prize for adult writers. This year’s prize is judged by Cornelius Eady. The Sunken Garden Chapbook Poetry Prize includes a cash award of $1,000 in addition to publication by Tupelo Press, 25 copies of the winning title, an introductory reading at the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, a book launch, and national distribution with energetic publicity and promotion.
Deadline: October 31 | Details

Bloodroot Literary Magazine
Submissions are open for Bloodroot, Volume 12. Send three to five pages of poetry or 10 to 12 pages of fiction and nonfiction in Microsoft Word format. For other work, like an experimental form or digital project, please send a one-page proposal and they will be in touch if they want to see more. They are looking for new, unpublished work.
Deadline: December 31 | Details

Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards
Submissions are open for the Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards for Speculative Fiction, Debut Speculative Fiction, and Playwriting. For fiction, any work published or under contract to be published no earlier than January 1, 2019 and no later than December 31, 2019 is eligible. For plays they invite submissions of full-length plays addressing the question “What does it mean to be a human in a computerized world?” The fiction awards come with an honorarium of $5,000 to be received at an event at Dartmouth College. The playwriting award comes with a $5,000 honorarium as well as a support for a two-stage development process with table readings at local arts festivals.
Deadline: December 31 | Details

MacDowell Colony Summer 2020 Residency
Applications for the summer residencies (June 1 to September 30, 2020) open in mid October. The MacDowell Colony provides time, space, and an inspiring environment to artists of exceptional talent. A MacDowell Fellowship, or residency, consists of exclusive use of a studio, accommodations, and three prepared meals a day for up to eight weeks. There are no residency fees.
Deadline: January 15, 2020 | Details

Center for Cartoon Studies, MFA Degree and Certificate Programs
Now accepting applications for the MFA, one- and two-year certificate programs, and low-residency second-year option. Learn all you need to know about making comics and self-publishing in a prolific and dynamic environment and community. $50 application fee.
Deadline: rolling admissions until programs are filled | Details

Junction Magazine
Junction Magazine founder James Napoli has moved to Minneapolis. With his blessing, a local collective has decided to re-launch the magazine, and they invite you to contribute. Pitches and submissions should fit into one or several categories/subject areas: arts and culture, food and farm, people, wild, photo essays, and the calendar.
Deadline: rolling submissions | Details


Upcoming Workshops and Classes

Writing Personal Essays with Rebecca Jamieson
October 5, 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

How do we write a stirring essay from the raw materials of our own lives, desires and curiosities? In this class, we’ll delve into the rich realm of the personal essay, looking at work from other writers and deepening our own craft through guided exercises.
Location: Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier, Vermont | Cost: sliding scale | Details

Read Like a Writer/Write Like a Reader with Riki Moss
Six-part series starting October 5, 10:30 am to 12:30 pm

In this six-part series, you’ll be reading contemporary, short fiction that suggests a craft strategy, a theme to explore with prompts. Fiction writers, and those writers interested in fiction, on all levels, are welcome. Open to Burlington Writers Workshop members.
Location: n/a | Cost: n/a | Details

Comics Workshop with Marek Bennett
October 5, 1:00 to 5:00 pm
Join New Hampshire teaching artist Marek Bennett for a hands-on comics creation lab, featuring basic techniques of cartooning, comics creation, and self-publishing. Learn to create and publish original comics based on primary sources of social justice activism in Vermont and elsewhere. No experience required.
Location: Billings Library at UVM, Burlington, Vermont | Cost: free | Details

In Change: Writing for Healing Workshop with Laurie McMillan
Saturday, October 5 and 12
There will be in-class exercises and sharing in a supportive lively environment. No writing experience necessary. You will gain insight, writing tools to keep focused, to let go and to process life's transitions.
Location: River Arts, Morrisville, Vermont | Cost: $55 | Details

Writing with Spirit with Nancy Kilgore
October 7, 6:30 to 8:30 pm

This is a group to practice spontaneous writing from-the-heart, creativity as play. To let it flow, not knowing what’s coming next, we just let ourselves write for 45 minutes, trusting the creativity that is within. This is a modification of the Amherst Method developed by Pat Schneider and is perfect for people just entering the writing life or for experienced writers needing to break out of a rut or block.
Location: The Burlington Writers Workshop, Burlington, Vermont | Cost: free | Details

Poetry Workshop with Kate Gibbel
Tuesdays October 8 to November 5, 6:15 to 8:15 pm
Are you having trouble making time and space to write poems? Are you new to poetry and want a structured environment where you can explore? Are you a seasoned poet looking for new approaches to writing? In this workshop we will experiment with new forms and techniques. Over the course of five weeks, we will strengthen our work and take risks in our writing. Through a combination of in-class writing exercises, workshops, and discussion of outside poems, we will develop reading and writing practices that will make us more attentive, generative, and generous poets. Participants will be expected to read three short poems and hand in one new poem each week.
Location: The Writer’s Center of White River Junction, Vermont | Cost: $100 | Details

Writer’s Workshop with Rick Bass
October 11 to October 13
Writer and activist Rick Bass leads an intensive weekend workshop for up to eight writers who seek to improve their craft. Hands-on group sessions, both mornings and afternoons, will include active workshopping of individual manuscripts and craft-focused discussion. Writers at all levels will find support and challenge for their work. To apply, e-mail up to 15 pages of a manuscript—fiction, poetry or non-fiction—to landskeinfarm@gmail.com. Manuscripts will be reviewed and accepted on a rolling basis. A non-refundable deposit of $375 is due upon acceptance.
Location: Craftsbury Outdoor Center, Craftsbury Commons, Vermont | Cost: $1,250 | Details

Writing Intensive: Drafting, Developing, and Revising Your Work with Joni Cole
October 13, 9:30 am to 12:30 pm

Writers face a lot of very real challenges, from the intimidation of a blank page, to a sense of staleness during the drafting process, to a dearth of quality feedback. Fortunately, there are very real solutions to these challenges—which is the focus of this 3-hour intensive. During this interactive workshop, we’ll cover techniques of narrative craft essential to empowering your prose. You’ll find your muse (and likely not where you expected). And you’ll get instructive feedback to help you write forward productively. Bring 3-4ish double-spaced pages to read aloud. Open to new and seasoned writers serious about making progress.
Location: The Writers Center, White River Junction, Vermont | Cost: $115 | Details

Tiny Book Workshop
October 13, 2:00 to 4:00 pm

Make a tiny book in recognition of National Book Month. Wear it as a necklace or give to a book loving friend!
Location: The Howe Library, Hanover, New Hampshire | Cost: free | Details

One Story at a Time: A Writing Workshop with Joni Cole
October 15 and November 5, 6:30 to 8:00 pm

In appreciation for the Everyone is Reading selection Walking to Listen by Andrew Forsthoefel—and in appreciation of all our stories—please join us in this fun and meaningful workshop. You will be invited to write from a “prompt” as a means of mining material from your own life story. You also will have the opportunity to read aloud what you wrote and, equally powerful, listen as others share their voices, memories, and perspectives. Absolutely no writing experience is required, but aspiring authors in the workshop will pick up narrative techniques and tips on how to effectively craft memoirs or personal essays. Please bring a ready pen (or laptop) and an open mind.
Location: Howe Library, Hanover New Hampshire | Cost: free | Details

Aspects of Creative Writing with Beth Stickney
Tuesdays, October 15 to November 19, 12:30 to 2:30 pm

Over the course of six two-hour sessions, we will explore the elements of showing and telling, characterization, setting, point of view, plot, and theme. Each session will include both reading and writing. We will look at models from classic and contemporary works for inspiration. The format will encourage sharing and feedback.
Location: Village Square Booksellers, Bellows Falls, Vermont | Cost: $100 | Details

Poetry Workshop with Marie Harris and Deborah Brown
October 20, 2:00 to 3:00 pm

This workshop is designed to combine lessons and exercises on aspects of craft (image, diction, metaphor) with a small amount of critique and in-group writing. Open to the novice and to the published.
Location: MainStreet BookEnds & Gallery, Warner, New Hampshire | Cost: free | Details

Magic in the Kettle: Writing Magical Realism in Fiction with Bianca Viñas
November 2, 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

Transport yourself from the ordinary into the realm of the fantastic. In this workshop, writers develop an eye for the bewitching, secretly hidden world of magic. We start with the ordinary and make the leap into the extraordinary. Hone the senses, pinch the nerves. Prepare to be immersed with live audioscapes, videos, and, of course, writing exercises. Equal measures mediation and imagination, this workshop will give you the eye for magic in fiction.
Location: Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier, Vermont | Cost: sliding scale | Details

Gentleheartedness: A writing and Yoga Retreat with Deb Heimann and Joni Cole
November 3, 12:30 pm to 8:30 pm

As we ready ourselves for the various end-of-year holidays and cold starkness of the coming winter, many of us feel anxious, overwhelmed, and even grumpy. In this 8-hour retreat we welcome all who wish to cultivate gentleheartedness as a means of dissipating fear and anger and channeling the potency of kindness toward peace within ourselves and the world. We will call on ceremony to support our hearts; write from prompts that explore our relationship to peacefulness, gratitude, and tenderness; breathe and move in ways that nurture us; and share ourselves, our writing, and a meal.
Location: Good Commons Retreat Center, Plymouth, Vermont | Cost: $110 | Details

Travel Blogging and Web Design with Virginia Booth
Sundays, November 3, 10, and 17, 2:00 to 3:30 pm

Join Virginia Booth as she delves into a three-week series exploring the ins and outs of the various marketing strategies that we are exposed to daily, step by step on how to build your own website and the depths of travel blogging.
Location: Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier, Vermont | Cost: sliding scale | Details

Vermont Humanities Council Fall Conference
November 15 to 16

Registration is open for the 2019 Fall Conference, “Searching for Home: Journeys, Quests and Migrations.” The conference includes talks and breakout sessions on the topic of “the search for home.” This year’s plenary speakers include essayist and novelist Kiese Laymon, clarinetist Kina Azmeh, Dr. Hasia Diner from New York University, and professor Carol Dougherty from Wellesley College.
Location: University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont | Cost: $149; $99 for students | Details

Writing Fiction with Ukamaka Olisakwe
November 16, 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

In this workshop, writers will pay attention to how they consciously or unconsciously shape their character’s interiority, or what is also referred to as a character’s mental process, and the reader’s access or lack of access to them. We will consider some short stories/novel excerpts by some of my favorite writers and how they pay attention to the characters’ mental processes, as well as doing some writing of our own. You’ll leave the workshop with more insight into how to create complex characters, as well as new tools to bring into your own writing. Bring something to write with.
Location: Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier, Vermont | Cost: sliding scale | Details

NaNoWrMo Rally: An Expressive Writing Workshop
November 18, 6:30 to 8:00 pm
The pressure’s on if you’re participating in National Novel Writing Month, the creative writing project that challenges participants to write a 50,000 word manuscript in November. Let us take some of that pressure off, with this fun expressive writing workshop that invites you to write from a prompt to develop a character….add a plot twist…or discover a scene that’s just been waiting to burst onto the page. Facilitator, Joni B. Cole, founder of the Writer’s Center of White River Junction. (For more info, visit www.jonibcole.com) Bring a notebook or laptop, and leave all self doubts at the door.
Location: Norwich Public Library, Norwich, Vermont | Cost: free | Details

Poetry of Protest with Rebecca Jamieson
December 7, 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

What can poetry offer in times of political crisis? How have writers used their poetry as a form of resistance, and how might we follow their lead? In this class, we’ll explore these questions through discussion, writing prompts, and reading the diverse and powerful ways that other poets have approached these subjects in their work. You’ll leave the class with a better understanding of protest poetry, the beginnings of fresh poems of your own, and connection to a community of other writers. Bring something to write with.
Location: Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier, Vermont | Cost: sliding scale | Details

Quiecence: A Yoga and Writing Workshop with Deb Heimann and Joni Cole
December 7, 9:00 am to noon

In this intimately-sized 3-hour “retreat” we welcome all who wish to revitalize their spirit through a combination of yoga and expressive writing. As part of the yoga practice, we will refresh through breathing exercises, poses to open channels of vitality, and heart-centered intention. We also will write from a “prompt” as a means of exploring our thoughts and feelings on the page, and sharing our journey forward. Absolutely no yoga or writing experience is required to attend this retreat.
Location: Central Street Yoga, Taftsville, Vermont | Cost: $55 | Details

The Dipper - February 2019

"The Dipper" is our monthly newsletter, where we highlight readings, events, calls for submission, and other literary-related news for the coming month. If you have news or events to share, let us know

 

February News

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Save the date! Literary North is proud to partner with our friends at the Brownsville Butcher & Pantry for Poetry & Pints in Brownsville, Vermont, on Sunday, March 10, from 5:15 to 7:00 pm. Doors open at 4:30 pm. Admission is by donation. The evening features poets Colin McKraig, Peter Money, and Ruth Antoinette Rodriguez; fabulous food, beer, and wine; plus an open mic so we can hear YOUR original work. Chef Peter Varkonyi is creating a cozy a la carte menu for the evening. Beer, food, poetry! It’s what you need to survive the end of winter. We hope you’ll join us. Visit the Poetry & Pints page on our website for full details.

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If you haven’t gotten tickets yet for this year’s JAG Fest—JAG Production’s annual festival of new in-process plays by African-American playwrights—what are you waiting for? This year’s festival shines the spotlight on black female poets. Four staged readings will take place the weekend of February 9 to 10 at Briggs Opera House in White River Junction, Vermont. Each performance features a post-show conversation with the artists, moderated by Dartmouth scholars. Tickets are $20 per performance, or $50 for a weekend pass that includes access to all presentations. Last year’s performances were stunning. You don’t want to miss this! (Note: You can meet this year’s playwrights for conversation and lunch at Dartmouth College on Tuesday, February 5.)

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Are you already a member of the Slow Club Book Club? If not, here are five reasons you might want to join us for our first pick of the year, Yoko Tawada’s The Emissary, translated by Margaret Mitsutani:

  1. It’s short. 138 pages!

  2. It won the National Book Award for Translated Literature.

  3. New Directions, a fantastic small press, published it!

  4. It takes place in a world of giant dandelions where only crows and spiders are thriving. (Aren’t you intrigued?)

  5. In Yoko Tawada’s author photo, she is posing with a pomegranate.

If you’re reading along, let us know! And if you post about it to Instagram or Twitter, be sure to tag us with #slowclubbookclub or #literarynorth.

Several of our friends are hosting workshops or events soon that we wanted to bring to your attention. Full details for all of these are in the Deadlines and Workshops sections later in this newsletter:

  • Poets, please consider applying for the Free Verse Farm Residency in the hills of Chelsea, Vermont. The location is stunning and we can’t imagine better hosts than Taylor and Misha. Applications are due April 1.

  • James Crews is hosting his online Mindfulness and Writing workshop beginning on February 2. James was a featured poet at our first Poetry & Pie event. His poetry is outstanding, and he’s such a kind person. You’re sure to enjoy his class.

  • Jo Knowles and Tillie Walden will be teaching their “Creating Graphic Novels for the YA Market” workshop at The Center for Cartoon Studies this summer. We interviewed this dynamic duo last year about the class. Registration for CCS Summer 2019 classes is open now.

To make room on our site for new events, we’ve collected information and links for all of our past events and projects on a single page. We hope this makes it easier for you to find out what we’re up to and what we’ve done before. We have some really fun ideas for 2019 and can’t wait to add them to the list. As subscribers, you’ll hear about all of it first! Thank you, as always, for your support, kind words, and enthusiasm. Your energy helps fire up this two-woman team!



February’s Shooting Stars

A cool literary find from each of us to help light up your reading life:

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  • Need a brush-up on your grammar? Look no further than Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style by Benjamin Dreyer, the copy chief of Random House. Witty grammar lessons? Yes, please. —Shari

  • This amazing and moving essay in The New Yorker by Gregory Pardlo about his father and the 1981 air-traffic controller strike includes beautiful sentences like this: “All your delicate ideas have to remain perfectly clear and distinct in your mind at all times.” —Rebecca


February Highlights

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Thursday, February 7 at 4:30 pm, Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, celebrates the life and work of Andre Dubus II in Sanborn Library with readings and discussion about Dubus’ work. The event features the editor of his re-issued series of Collected Stories, Joshua Bodwell, and the distinguished publisher David R. Godine.

The Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury, Vermont is holding A Celebration of Vermont Poets on Saturday, February 9, at 4:00 pm. The great lineup includes Dede Cummings, Chard deNiord, Karin Gottshall, Syd Lea, Gary Margolis, Julia Shipley, and Bianca Stone. With chocolate!

The Center for Cartoon Studies’ own James Sturm is on tour for his new graphic novel, Off Season. Catch him at the CCS in White River Junction, Vermont, on Thursday, February 14 at 4:00 pm. James’ presentation will also touch upon the drawing of dogs, crooked contractors, LSD, and 4 x 6 index cards.

Jane Brox. Photo by Luc Demers

Jane Brox. Photo by Luc Demers

The lovely Jane Brox will be at The Toadstool Bookshop in Peterborough, New Hampshire, on Saturday, February 16, at 11:00 am to read from her latest non-fiction work, Silence.

Poet Gabrielle Calvocoressi reads at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, on Thursday, February 21, at 4:30 pm in the Sanborn Library.

You’ve got two great chances to see Pam Houston read from her recent book, Deep Creek. On Sunday, February 24 at 6:00 pm, she’ll be at the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, Vermont; she’ll be at Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord, New Hampshire, on Tuesday. February 26.

Emily Bernard

Emily Bernard

Emily Bernard, a professor of Critical Race and Ethnic Studies at the University of Vermont, reads from her book, Black Is The Body, at 6:00 pm on Friday, February 22 at the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, Vermont.

The Painted Word Poetry Series is back at The Fleming Museum of Art in Burlington, Vermont. Stephanie Burt reads on Wednesday, February 27 at 6:00 pm.

Visit our calendar for detailed information about these events and more!

 

Worth a Drive

LitFest 2019 begins on Wednesday, February 27 and goes through Sunday, March 3 at Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts. Jamel Brinkley—whose amazing collection of short stories, A Lucky Man, was nominated for a National Book Award and for The Story Prize—will be reading on Thursday, February 28 along with fellow NBA nominee Brandon Hobson. Other writers in attendance will be Jennifer Egan, Elizabeth Kolbert, and Cullen Murphy.

 

Worth a Listen

  • What a treat to hear Zadie Smith and her husband Nick Laird speak about their books, both titled Feel Free, on the Shakespeare & Co. podcast.

  • Every single episode of the Slowdown podcast with Tracy K. Smith. Period.

We're Looking Forward to These February Releases:

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Calls For Submission and Upcoming Deadlines

It’s PoemCity and PoemTown season again! Submit your poems for consideration to be displayed in downtown windows in Montpelier, Randolph, and St. Johnsbury, Vermont, during the month of April. The submission deadline for Montpelier and Randolph is February 4. The submission deadline for St. Johnsbury is February 28. For more information about Montpelier and St. Johnsbury submissions, please visit the PoemCity Submission page and the PoemCity website. For Randolph submissions, please send 1-3 original poems as Word attachments to musbird@gmail.com. Include your contact information in the email (name, mailing address, email address and telephone number). Then attach each poem separately with the title of the poem as the document name and no identifying information other than the poem’s title on each document.

The Upper Valley Fiction group is accepting new members. The group meets monthly, September though June, to offer honest feedback on each other’s work. An MFA or publication is not required, but comparable writing expertise is preferred. To apply, submit one short story or one chapter (no longer than 20 pages) by February 11 to uppervalleyfiction@gmail.com.

The Poetry Society of Vermont is accepting submissions to its publication, The Mountain Troubadour, until February 14. You can submit up to three poems, of 40 lines or less. You must be a PSOV member to submit. For more information, please visit the Mountain Troubadour Submission page.

Applications for the next round of Vermont Studio Center residency fellowships for artists and writers are due by February 15 (for residencies scheduled between May and December 2019 in Johnson, Vermont), including the James Merrill Poetry, ALSCW, VSC/Callaloo, Helen Zell Residency, and Voices Rising fellowships. Every VSC residency includes private room, private studio space, all meals, and full access to the VCS’ schedule of evening programs and events. For more information, please visit the VSC Fellowships page.

The Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program is seeking nominations for the 2019-2021 Poet Laureate. The Laureate is the PPLP’s main bridge to the community, a role model and recruiter for future generations of poets and sets the tone for two years in the life of the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program. Nominees should live in Portsmouth, Dover, Durham, Eliot, Greenland, Kittery, Madbury, New Castle, Newfields, Newington, Newmarket, North Hampton, Rye, or Stratham, or work at least half time in Portsmouth. To make a nomination, send an email about your nominee to info@pplp.org by February 20.

The AVA Gallery in Lebanon, New Hampshire, is looking for storytellers for its next Mudroom event (March 14). Selected storytellers will be awarded an AVA membership and may bring a guest to enjoy the evening. Please include a very brief summary of your story (no more than 300 words) and a short bio (no more than 150 words) by February 24. For more information, please visit the Mudroom page.

Applications are open for Free Verse Farm’s week-long poetry residencies. Residents will stay in an off-grid small vintage camper on the farm in Chelsea, Vermont. The residence fee is $250/week, which includes coffee and tea, but all other groceries must be provided by the resident, with meal preparation occurring in the camper. Poets are welcome to bring a partner at no extra charge. The application deadline is April 1. For more information and to apply, please visit the Free Verse Residency page.

The Juniper Summer Writing Institute in Amherst, Massachusetts (June 16 to 22) is accepting applications. The institute includes manuscript consultations, craft sessions, workshops, readings, and other events, led by a wide range of instructors, including CAConrad, Gabriel Bump, Ross Gay, Khadijah Queen, Bianca Stone, Ocean Vuong, Dara Weir, and Joy Williams. The non-refundable application fee is $40. For more information and to apply, please visit the Juniper Institute website.


Upcoming Workshops and Classes

Poet James Crews is offering his four-week Mindfulness and Writing Online workshop from February 2 to March 9. This generative online writing workshop will examine connections between the practice of meditation/mindfulness and the act of writing fearlessly from the heart. Though not required, attendees will be invited to share their work via email with each other. Beginners and all skill levels are welcome. You do not need any previous experience with mindfulness, meditation, or online courses; all you need is an internet connection, email, and an open mind. $295 for four sessions. For more information and to register, please visit the Northshire Books events page.

On February 9 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm, join the New Hampshire Writers’ Project and romance author Ana E. Ross at SNHU in Manchester, New Hampshire, for “So You Think You Know Me?” This workshop focuses on three vital elements of characterization in storytelling: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict (GMC). This interactive workshop invites you to bring a character you’re working on. $65 for members; $80 for non-members. For information and to register, please visit the NHWP Workshops page.

The New Hampshire Writers’ Project is hosting a six-week “Preparing Your Manuscript for an Agent’s Eyes” workshop, where you can work your manuscript into a polished version ready for agents, professional review, and publishing consideration. You will work directly with Amanda Forbes Silva, a professional writer and editor who will help you better evaluate your writing and determine how to edit your work for clarity and concision. All genres are welcome! The workshop meets on Saturdays, February 16 through March 23, 1:00 to 4:00 pm at SNHU in Manchester, New Hampshire. $390 for NHWP members; $510 for non-members. For information and to register, please visit the NHWP Workshops page.

On March 9, from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm, the AVA Gallery and Art Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire, is offering a “One Photo, Four Stories” writing workshop where you will use a photo of your choice as a prompt for four separate stories. This class is open to all levels. $68 for members; $80 for non-members. For more information and to register, please visit the AVA Gallery website.

Already dreaming of summer? Registration for Summer Workshops at The Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, Vermont, is already open. This year’s workshops include Graphic Memoirs with Melanie Gillman, Creating Graphic Novels for the Young Adult Market with Jo Knowles and Tillie Walden, and a Graphic Novel Workshop with Paul Karasik. For all the details and to register, please visit the CCS 2019 Summer Workshops page.

The Dipper - January 2018

"The Dipper" is our monthly newsletter, where we highlight readings, events, calls for submission, and other literary-related news for the coming month. If you have news or events to share, let us know

 

January News

Happy New Year!

2018 has barely begun and it's already shaping up to be a very exciting year for Literary North and our friends. We have a lot of plans and we can't wait to share them all with you. But first we'll let you in on some great events happening in just the first few weeks of the new year.

We hope this fresh year brings you many good things, including good books, good friends, and good health.

—Shari & Rebecca

 

Start Your Year at the Right Pace with the Slow Club Book Club

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As many of you know, we're announcing the Slow Club Book Club* for 2018! Over the course of the coming year, we'll read four books we've chosen to appeal to the quiet and unhurried in us. We'll start reading our first book this month. If this sounds appealing to you, subscribe to our TinyLetter newsletter to find out more and learn the title of our first book. We really hope you'll join us.

*Shout out to Robin MacArthur for our club name!

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Be the first to hear a Reading from Heart Spring Mountain

Speaking of Robin, our first event of 2018 is the celebration of Robin MacArthur's new novel Heart Spring Mountain, which is being released on January 9Join us at the Norwich Bookstore on Wednesday, January 10 at 7:00 pm for her first official reading. We'll be there to celebrate and provide the refreshments. Reservations are strongly recommended, as seating is limited. Please contact the Norwich Bookstore to reserve your seat.

 

Support Emerging African-American Playwrights at JAGFest 2.0

And finally, mark your calendars for JAGFest 2.0, February 9 to 11 at Brigg's Opera House in White River Junction, Vermont! JAGFest is a performing arts festival put on by Jarvis Green's production company, JAG Productions. The festival features new works that celebrate the talents of African-American playwrights and performing artists. 

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Over the course of three days, JAG will present four staged readings of new works that are written, directed, and performed by Black theatre artists. The weekend-long festival of play readings celebrates and explores diverse, new voices in American theater. Each performance features a post-show conversation with the playwrights, actors, directors and Dartmouth scholars.

Tickets are on sale now. Single tickets are $15 per performance, or buy a weekend pass that includes access to all presentations for $50!

We're huge fans of Jarvis Green and JAG Productions, and are honored to be a sponsor of this incredible festival. We'll be sharing more information with you about the playwrights and their plays in January, so stay tuned!


January Highlights

Lauren Markham

Lauren Markham

Lauren Markham reads from her non-fiction book, The Faraway Brothers, at VCFA in Montpelier, Vermont, on Wednesday, January 3, at 7:00 pm.

Jenny Boully and Jill McCorkle read at Bennington College's Tishman Lecture Hall, in Bennington, Vermont, on Thursday, January 4, at 7:00 pm, as a part of Bennington's Writers Reading series. Other authors in the series include Claire Vaye Watkins, Major Jackson, Stuart Nadler, Clifford Thompson, Alexander Chee, and Allan Gurganus. See our calendar for more details.

Francisco Cantú will be at the New Hampshire Institute of Art in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Sunday, January 7, at 7:00 pm, to read from his upcoming book, The Line Becomes a River.

Francisco Cantú

Francisco Cantú

Jelani Cobb will give a talk on free speech on college campuses at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, on Wednesday, January 10, at 4:30 pm.

Dan Chaon will be reading at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont, on Wednesday, January 24, at 8:00 pm.

Jeffrey Lent will lead a tribute to Howard Frank Mosher at the Norwich Bookstore on Wednesday, January 31, at 7:00 pm. Come out and celebrate Mosher's final book, Points North.

 

Worth a Drive

Fiona Mozley

Fiona Mozley

Fiona Mozley, whose novel, Elmet, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, will be at the Harvard Bookstore, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Tuesday, January 16 with Hallgrimur Helgason. The reading begins at 7:00 pm.

 

 

We're Looking Forward to These January Releases

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Calls For Submission and Upcoming Deadlines

In neighboring Amherst, Massachusetts, applications open on January 1 for the Juniper Summer Writing Institute (July 17 to 24) and the Juniper Institute for Young Writers (July 22 to 29) at the University of Massachusetts. Faculty for the Juniper Summer Writing Institute includes Eileen Myles, Dorothea Lasky, Rickey Laurentiis, Dara Wier, Noy Holland, Mitchell S. Jackson, and Joy Williams. A non-refundable application fee for the Summer Writing Institute is required. There is no application fee for the Young Writers Institute. For more information about both institutes and to apply, please visit the Juniper Summer Writing Institute website.

Applications are currently open until March 31 for two scholarships at The Frost Place:

  • The Gregory Pardlo Scholarship for Emerging African American Poets is open to African American Poets writing in English who have published up to one book of poetry. The winner will receive a full scholarship to attend the Poetry Seminar, including room and board, and will give a featured reading at the Seminar. For more information, please visit the Gregory Pardlo Scholarship page.
  • The Latin@ Scholarship is open to applicants that self-identify as Latin@, have a strong commitment to the Latin@ community, and are at least 21 years of age. The winner will receive tuition, room and board, and travel for The Frost Place Conference on Poetry. For more information and to apply, please visit the Latin@ Scholarship page.

The Frost Place is accepting submissions for its 2018 Chapbook Competition until January 5. The competition is open to any poet writing in English. Entries must be accompanied by a $28 entry fee. For details about submitting your manuscript and more information about the competition, please visit their Competition page.

Also until January 5The Frost Place is accepting applications for the Dartmouth Poet in Residence program, a six-to-eight-week residency in Robert Frost's former farmhouse. The residency is July 1 to August 15, and includes an award of $1,000 from The Frost Place and $1,000 from Dartmouth College. For more information and to apply online, please visit their Residency page.

Applications for the 2018 MacDowell Colony Summer Residency (June 1 to September 30, 2018)  are being accepted through January 15.  A residency consists of exclusive use of a studio, accommodations, and three prepared meals a day for up to eight weeks. For more information, please visit the Application Guidelines page.

Registration is open for the League of Vermont Writers' Winter Program and Annual Business Meeting (June 27). The theme of the meeting is "New Directions, New Journeys: Writing Resources for Vermont Writers" and will be held at Trader Duke's Hotel in South Burlington, Vermont. $45 for members; $55 for non-members. Registration is open until January 24. For more information and to register, please visit the Meeting page.

Hunger Mountain, the literary journal from VCFA, holds four annual contests: The Howard Frank Mosher Short Fiction PrizeThe Hunger Mountain Creative Nonfiction PrizeThe Ruth Stone Poetry Prize, and The Katherine Patterson Prize for Young Adult and Children's Writing. All contests are open to submissions through March 1. For more information, please visit their Contests page.

Vermont Literary Review is taking submissions of creative work about New England until March 31. For more information, please visit Castleton University's website.

Registration is now open for the VCFA Writing Novels for Young People Retreat (March 23 to 25, 2018). Faculty includes Donna GephartNova Ren SumaAmanda MacielMaggie Lehrman, and Sarah Aronson. A $200 deposit is required (refundable if the retreat is able to fill your spot). For more information please visit the Writing Novels for Young People Retreat page.

Registration is also open for the VCFA Novel Retreat (May 15 to 21, 2018). Faculty includes Connie May FowlerJeff KleinmanRichard McCann, and Crystal Wilkinson. A $200 non-refundable deposit is required. For more information, please visit the Novel Retreat page.

The New England Review is open for poetry and digital submissions through May 31. For more information, please visit the NER Submissions page.

The Bennington Review is open for submissions through May 15, 2018 with no reading fee. For more information, please visit the Bennington Review Submissions page.


January Workshops and Classes

Joni Cole leads "Sunday Surges," a four-session, weekly workshop for fiction and creative non-fiction writers. This workshop, which meets Sundays, January 7 to 28, from 4:00 to 6:00 pm, is a great way to generate material, revise with direction, and make solid progress on your prose project. Each meeting provides you with a deadline to assure you are producing consistently. You will be asked to read aloud excerpts from a work-in-progress (three or so double-spaced pages, given time constraints) at each of our meetings. The discussion of these “surges” allows for quality feedback, and fosters teachable moments that benefit every participant in the group. $145 (minimum 4 participants; maximum 6). Preregistration is required. For more information and to register, email jonibethcole@gmail.com.

Join science fiction author and 2014 NH Flash Fiction winner Ed Ting for an hour-long “Introduction to Flash Fiction” webinar on Tuesday, January 9. This webinar will take a peek at what Flash Fiction is, how you can get started writing it, and how to craft elements to make your story work. You will walk away with the tools you need to tell your three-minute story. Then, when you have your story written, join your writing peers at one of the 2018 Three-Minute Flash Fiction competitions held statewide. $10 for NHWP members, $25 for nonmembers. The event is nonrefundable. For more information and to register, please visit the New Hampshire Writer's Project Workshops page.

Poet James Crews will lead a two-week, online workshop titled "Mindfulness and Writing" from Sunday, January 14 to Sunday, January 28. Examine connections between the practice of meditation/mindfulness and the act of writing fearlessly from the heart. Using quotes and other written works as prompts, we will complete several exercises each week that invite us to pay closer attention to ourselves, our lives, and the world around us as we do our best to define the term, "mindfulness," and what it means for each of us. Beginners and all skill levels are welcome. You do not need any previous experience with mindfulness, meditation or online courses; all you need is a reliable internet connection and an open mind. The cost is $95. For more information and to register, please visit the event page at the Northshire Bookstore website.

Join Vermont poet laureate Chard deNiord for a Poetry Master Class on Monday, January 8, from 6:30 to 8:00 pm at the Burlington Writers Workshop in Burlington, Vermont. This workshop will focus on reading and writing poems whose speakers place another before them, and then make charged figurative connections to what Walt Whitman called “the other I am.” We will read each other’s poems line by line, examining line breaks, poetic strategy, form, intention, imagery, tropes, verbal music, and what John Keats described in his definition of “negative capability” as the ability to “exist in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.” In addition to writing poems with transpersonal speakers, we will also write a few persona poems as class exercises. For more information and to RSVP, please visit the Burlington Writers Workshop Meetup page.

On Monday, January 22, from 6:30 to 8:00 pm, join poet Gary Margolis for a Poetry Master Class at the Burlington Writers Workshop in Burlington, Vermont. This workshop will reflect on the poetic line by looking at examples, including those we'll write in this workshop. Workshop participants should bring three original poems to this class. We'll also write new ones during the workshop. For more information and to RSVP, please visit the Burlington Writers Workshop Meetup page.