Carmen Maria Machado

Interview: Miciah Bay Gault

We’re so excited to share our interview with Miciah Bay Gault on the occasion of today’s release of her debut novel, Goodnight Stranger. Goodnight Stranger is a beautifully written novel, a literary thriller that will have you wondering from the start who is telling the truth and who is hiding secrets. Set on an island, it’s the perfect summer escapism novel, perfect to take with you to the beach, but equally satisfying if you’re holidaying on your sofa after a long week of work.

Of Goodnight Stranger, George Saunders says, “Somewhere the ghosts of Shirley Jackson and the Henry James of The Turn of the Screw are smiling, because a wildly talented young writer has joined their lineage. What a taut, keenly intelligent, and provocative debut Goodnight Stranger is.”

Thank you so much, Miciah, for answering our questions so thoughtfully. We’re so happy your book is out in the world!

Miciah teaches in the MFA in Writing & Publishing program at Vermont College of Fine Arts and coordinates the Vermont Book Award. She’ll be celebrating her book’s at launch Bear Pond Books this evening (July 30), and will be reading at several Northern New England locations in the coming months, including Gibson’s Bookstore (August 1), Northshire Books (August 10), The Galaxy Bookshop (August 27), Phoenix Bookstore (September 19), and Vermont College of Fine Arts (September 27).


Literary North: We’re always curious how a story begins and how it changes. Did the story in Goodnight Stranger begin with a specific image or idea? How did you find the plot changing as you wrote? Did anything unexpected arise?

Miciah Bay Gault: I read a personal history in The New Yorker years ago—about one couple’s struggle with infertility, which has nothing in the world to do with Goodnight Stranger. In The New Yorker piece the couple kept losing the pregnancies, over and over. They ended up, after years of hope and heartache, with one daughter, and I found myself wondering about the daughter. Did she, as she got older, think about the brothers and sisters she might have had, did she feel a sense of grief, was she haunted by them?

Then I imagined this image: two grown siblings in a doorway, a stranger facing them across the threshold. The air is charged with surprise, with recognition, hope, and danger. One of the siblings says, “It’s him.”

That premise was the starting point. I knew early on that Lydia and Lucas would by the siblings, twins actually, that they’d be in their late 20s, that their lives would be overshadowed by the death of a third sibling in infancy. I knew a stranger was going to show up, someone handsome and charismatic, and also eerily familiar with their home, their family. From there I had to ask myself all kinds of hard questions to find out what the book was really about.

LN: Let’s talk about your writing process. Do you write a messy first draft or do you tend to go sentence by sentence? How many drafts did you go through while writing this book? Are you the type of writer who works at the same time and place every day, or did you have to grab time whenever and wherever you could?

MBG: I’m laughing as I answer this question. I’m pretty sure I wrote 70 or 80 drafts of this novel over fifteen years. Some drafts were major renovations, removing entire characters, and shuffling chapters from one location to another. Some drafts were more concerned with tightening language. I love sentences and spend an inordinate amount of time working on that level, polishing, carving, chiseling.

I’ve been so lucky to have an agent, Jenni Ferrari-Adler of Union Literary, who’s very hands on and who worked on several drafts with me. And my editor Laura Brown at Park Row Books/ HarperCollins, has an amazing editorial eye. After so many years of working alone on the manuscript, it’s been a dream to have a team working with me on the book.

I prefer to write in the morning, riding that first wave of caffeine. I’m very fond of coffee. Sometimes I still manage to write at this time, if my kids sleep in a little, but mostly I write when I can—when the kids are in school, or napping. When I was working full time at Vermont College of Fine Arts, I wrote during lunch breaks, or first thing in the morning on the picnic tables on the college green.

LN: The character Cole is an outsider. He arrives on the island and then insinuates himself into the lives of Lydia and others who grew up on the island. Can you talk a bit about the role of the outsider in your story?

MBG: Writers love to quote John Gardner (although I’ve never actually found the original quote) that there are only two plot variations in fiction: a man goes on a journey, or a stranger comes to town. Obviously, in Goodnight Stranger, I was interested in the latter. I knew I wanted Lydia and Lucas to have a safe, prescribed life, routines that were interrupted by the arrival of the stranger. I wanted Lydia to see herself through the stranger’s eyes. In many ways Goodnight Stranger is the story of siblings who, so mired in grief and longing for the past, never grew up. They’re frozen in time, in a kind of adolescent limbo. Lydia realizes at one point that they’ve never moved the furniture around in their house, never replaced wine glasses that broke decades ago. Baby B is the sibling who died in infancy almost thirty years ago, and his bedroom is still set up for a baby, with teddy bear knobs on the dresser. Cole, the stranger, challenges all their beliefs, everything they thought was true about their family, and ultimately…unsticks time for Lydia and Lucas.

LN: Have you always been an avid fan of literary suspense? Can you share some of your favorite authors—past or present—in the genre?

MBG: I wouldn’t actually say that I’m a fan of literary suspense, and to be honest I’m more than a little surprised that I ended up writing a literary thriller!

I do like page-turners, but that term can be subjective. I consider Pride and Prejudice a page-turner (and I know how it ends because I’ve read it a dozen times!). That said, I’m a devoted fan of Shirley Jackson, whose sentences are exquisite, and whose horror is rich and intricate. Another favorite author is Wilkie Collins, who I would classify as literary suspense.

I respond to books with beautiful sentences and a strong emotional core, and sometimes those books happen to be literary thrillers. Fiction I’ve loved lately include Donna Tartt’s A Secret History, Crystal Hana Kim’s If You Leave Me, Melanie Finn’s The Underneath, and Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties.

LN: What was the most memorable thing you read in the past month?

MBG: I’m riveted by Christina Thompson’s Sea People: The Puzzle of Polynesia, a nonfiction exploration of how people came to inhabit the Polynesian islands. It’s beautifully written, impeccably structured, and fascinating.

 
Photo by Daryl Burtnett

Photo by Daryl Burtnett

 

The Dipper - January 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

 

January News

Hello and welcome to 2019! We hope you all had a peaceful holiday season and had some time to read new or favorite old books between feasts, walks in the snow, movie watching, or however you celebrated the days. Did you get any books on your wish list for gifts? Or books you didn’t even know existed that you’re excited about? We sure did, and hope you did too!

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This month marks the start of the second year of the Slow Club Book Club and we’re incredibly excited to be devoting the entire year to women in translation.

Our first book for 2019 is The Emissary, by Yoko Tawada, translated by Margaret Mitsutani. This novel recently won the National Book Foundation’s prize for Translated Literature and is one of Library Journal’s Best Books of 2018.

If this book sounds interesting to you, we hope you’ll join as as we slowly read it from now through March. If you’re not already a member of SCBC, you can join by subscribing to the newsletter. And if you have suggestions for books written and translated by women (remember, they don’t have to be recent books; we love reading books from the past), drop us a line. We have a list of ideas already, but we always love suggestions from our faithful readers.

Now that we’ve turned the corner into the new year, the calendar of events for January is starting to really fill out. In particular, January seems to be a good time for workshops and classes. Check out the long list of upcoming workshops at the end of this newsletter. It’s a positive blizzard of choices!

Speaking of events, we’re setting aside a morning later this week for our first annual Literary North Retreat, where we’ll drink tea, eat something delicious, review our notes from 2018, and go through our wish lists to figure out the events and projects we want to pursue in 2019. We already have a couple of exciting ideas percolating, and we can’t wait to figure it all out and share our plans with you in the coming months.

Here’s to 2019! May it be a year of good health and good books for you all.


January’s Shooting Stars

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

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  • New year, new literary journal subscription? Last year I subscribed to The Sewanee Review and loved every issue. In the past, I’ve subscribed to Zyzzva and One Story. This year I’m thinking about subscribing to The White Review, but I’m open to other suggestions. It’s a great way to keep up with contemporary fiction. —Shari

  • The end of the year always brings a deluge of Best Of lists. One of my particular favorites is Glass Poetry editor Anthony Frame’s Recommended Reading list, an annual tradition since 2015. The list highlights Anthony’s favorite poems of the year that appeared in journals and magazines. It’s always a terrific collection, and it’s nicely accessible: you can just click and read a poem without having to buy a new book or leave your house. —Rebecca

January Highlights

For the month of January, if you donate blood at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire, they will buy a children’s book from The Norwich Bookstore to donate to the kids at CHaD (Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock). So, you can do two good deeds at once: help save someone’s life, and give a kid a book. Get all the details and schedule your donation on the DHMC website.

The Visiting Writers for the Winter Residency at VCFA in Montpelier, Vermont, will be giving readings January 3 through 5 at the chapel in College Hall at 7:00 pm. Carmen Maria Machado will read on January 3, Terrance Hayes on January 4, and Liara Tamani on January 5.

Start your new year off right with Bennington College’s Writers Reading Series in Bennington, Vermont, which begins on Thursday, January 3 with Douglas Bauer and Carmen Gimenez Smith. The series wraps up on Friday, January 11 with Garth Greenwell and Mark Wunderlich. All readings are held at the College’s Tishman Lecture Hall, from 7:00 to 8:00 pm (except for the January 10 reading, which begins at 7.30 pm).

Chana Porter. Photo by Stella Kalinina

Chana Porter. Photo by Stella Kalinina

Hannah Tinti and Chana Porter will be reading at the Haybarn Theater at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont, on Monday, January 7 and Tuesday, January 9, respectively. Both readings begin at 7:00 pm.

On Thursday, January 17, Jonathan Miles will be in conversation with New York Times book critic, Dwight Garner, at The Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, Vermont. The event begins at 6:00 pm.

Thomas Christopher Greene, president of VCFA, will be at Phoenix Books, in Essex, Vermont, on Tuesday, January 22 at 6:30 pm and at The Northshire Bookstore, in Manchester, Vermont, on Thursday, January 24, at 6:00 pm with his latest novel, The Perfect Liar. The official book launch will take place at Bear Pond Books in Montpelier, Vermont, on Tuesday, January 29.

Kevin Young

Kevin Young

On Sunday, January 27, Dartmouth College celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a multi-faith celebration featuring the Dartmouth Gospel Choir and poet Kevin Young. The celebration begins at 3:00 pm at Rollins Chapel in Hanover, New Hampshire.

Emily Bernard, author of Black is the Body, will launch her book on Tuesday, January 29, at 6:30 pm at Phoenix Books in Burlington, Vermont.

Cognitive psychologist and linguist, Steven Pinker, will be discussing his new book, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress at The Music Hall in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on Wednesday, January 30, at 7:00 pm as part of the Writers on a New England Stage series. Tickets are $13.75 (plus $18 book voucher).

Alex Mar is reading from her new memoir, Witches of America, on Thursday, January 31 at 4:30 pm at Dartmouth College’s Sanborn Library in Hanover, New Hampshire. This reading is part of the Cleopatra Mathis Poetry & Prose Reading Series.

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

 

Worth a Drive

Daisy Johnson, whose novel Everything Under, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, will be at the Harvard Bookstore in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Thursday, January 31 at 7:00 pm.

 

Worth a Listen

I really enjoyed listening to John Wray talk about his reading life on episode 15 of The Spine. —Shari

 

We're Looking Forward to These January Releases

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Calls For Submission and Upcoming Deadlines

The Frost Place is accepting submissions for their annual Chapbook Competition until January 5. The competition is open to any poet writing in English. The submission fee is $28. For more information, please visit the Chapbook Competition page.

Applications are being accepted through January 5 for the Dartmouth Poet in Residence program at The Frost Place. This is a six-to-eight-week residency in poet Robert Frost’s former farmhouse in Franconia, New Hampshire. The residency begins July 1 and ends August 15, and includes an award of $1,000 from The Frost Place and an award of $1,000 from Dartmouth College. The recipient will have an opportunity to give a series of public readings across the region, including at Dartmouth College and The Frost Place. For more information, please visit the Residency page.  

Every summer, the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire, awards residency Fellowships to artists in seven disciplines, including literature. A Fellowship consists of exclusive use of a private studio, accommodations and three prepared meals a day for two weeks to two months. The deadline for the 2019 Summer MacDowell Literature Fellowship is January 15. The application fee is $30. For more information, please visit the Residency Application 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

On January 4 from noon to 1:00 pm, Joni B. Cole will be discussing how to foster wellness through expressive writing at Open Door Integrative Wellness in White River Junction, Vermont. Expressive writing, also known as reflective or introspective writing, invites individuals to respond to a “prompt” as a means of exploring their thoughts and feelings, and tapping into the unconscious. At this free “Lunch and Learn” session, Joni will discuss the value of expressive writing to you and to your organization. She’ll also facilitate a brief hands-on demonstration, so bring something to write on/with. For more information or to RSVP, email Joni at jonibethcole@gmail.com.

Learn simple bookbinding at a DIY Bookbinding class from 6:00 to 8:00 pm on January 8 at Words & Pictures in Essex, Vermont. This class will demonstrate simple techniques for binding small DIY-ed books, including saddle stitch (stapled) binding, perfect binding, and a couple different types of sewn binding. $15, includes materials. For more information and to register, please visit the Words & Pictures Workshop page.

Writing can be a powerful, cathartic means of coping with life's greatest hardships, including the illness and death of loved ones. In the Writing Group for People Experiencing Loss workshop, discover ways that writing may allow grief to move and evolve. Co-Facilitated by Jenny Gelfan, MAed & Jessica Stout, MSW, this workshop will meet Thursdays at 12:00 pm from January 10 through February 14 at the Jack Byrne Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Enrollment space is limited. For more information or to RSVP, please email Amanda M. Reinemann or call her at (603) 308-2447.

On January 13, Carly Winn will lead Writing Ecospsychology: A Writing and Meditation workshop from 2:30 to 4:00 pm at Open Door Integrative Wellness in White River Junction, Vermont. This workshop is an introduction to writing ecopsychology, the interaction of the psyche and the landscape. You will learn to tell the story of your own interaction with the natural world. The workshop will include a discussion of craft, a brief analysis of some samples of ecopsychology writing, a short free-write exercise, and guided meditation. For more information or to register, please email Carly at carly3ski@gmail.com.

The OSHER@Dartmouth winter term is offering several courses for writers and readers, including “Completing Your Manuscript,” “Four Women Poets of Northeast Scotland,” “Poems from the 20th Year of Seven Centuries,” “Renaissance Classics,” “Sherlock Holmes,” “The Poetry of T.S. Eliot & Wallace Stevens,” and “Writing in Circles.” Tuition ranges from $40 to $80. Classes are open only to members ($70 fee). Courses begin the week of January 14 and meet at various locations in Hanover, New Hampshire. For more information and to register, please visit the OSHER@Dartmouth website.

The League of Vermont Writers’ annual business meeting and winter writing craft workshop will take place at Trader Duke’s Hotel in South Burlington, Vermont, on January 19, 2019. This year’s theme, “Honing Your Craft: Writing that Sizzles,” features workshops and discussions led by two well-published Vermont authors: Julia Shipley and Sean Prentiss. $46 for League members; $56 or non-members (includes morning refreshments and lunch). The deadline to register is January 6. Fore more information and to register, please visit the League’s Gatherings page.

The New Hampshire Writers’ Project is hosting a Travel Writing workshop, led by author Dan Szczesny on the campus of SNHU in Manchester, New Hampshire, from 10:00 am to noon on January 19, 2019. Registration is $50 for NHWP members; $70 for non-members. For more information and to register, please visit the NHWP Workshops page.

Sick of using the cut and paste method for creating your zines? In this InDesign: Make a Zine workshop held on January 22, from 6:00 to 9:00 pm at Words & Pictures in Essex, Vermont, you will learn how to design a simple eight-page, half-letter zine in InDesign. This is a beginner level class, which will cover setting up a document, adding text and images, and exporting the document for print or online distribution. $50. For more information and to register, please visit the Words & Pictures Workshop page.

Also at Words & Pictures, learn how to make a one-sheet comic or zine that can be easily reproducible and attributable at the One Sheet Comic/Zine Jam on January 26 from 6:00 to 8:30 pm in Essex, Vermont. All experience levels welcome! $5 suggested donation for use of space and materials, but no one will be turned away. For more information or to register, please visit the Words & Pictures Workshop page.

Learn to hand-bind a journal for writing or drawing at a Bookbinding Journals workshop on Saturday, January 26, from 1:00 to 5:00 pm, at River Arts in Morrisville, Vermont. The workshop covers everything from selecting handmade papers to sewing the open-spine binding using traditional techniques. $85, including materials. For more information and to register, please visit the River Arts Adult Classes page.

The AVA Gallery and Art Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire, is offering an Expressive Arts workshop, on Monday evenings from January 28 through February 18. Expressive Arts offers an engaging experience with different modes of art making and materials—clay, painting, stitching, moving, sound, and writing—to understand your potential for insight, creative curiosity, self care, and deep connection. $136 for members; $160 for non-members. For more information and to register, please visit the AVA Gallery website.

Poet James Crews will be offering his four-week Mindfulness and Writing Online workshop from February 2 to March 9. In this generative online writing workshop, we'll 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 session. For more information and to register, please visit the Northshire Books events 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 ue 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, are 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 - March 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!

March News

We hope many of you made it out to JAGFest 2.0 last month. Each of the staged readings was wonderful, but it was the accumulated power of the entire weekend—the writing, the performances, the emotions, the discussions, and the feeling of community—that really made the festival special. If you missed the festival this year, you'll get another chance next February!

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Continuing our collaboration with JAG Productions, we're thrilled to announce the Lady Sings the Blues book group. This one-meeting book group will read and discuss Billie Holiday's autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues, in preparation for attending a performance of JAG Productions' presentation of Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill. We'll meet at Yankee Bookshop in Woodstock, Vermont, on Tuesday, May 15, at 7:00 pm. Local author and fantastic question-asker Julia Cooke will lead our discussion. Want to join us? Visit our event page to sign up.

 

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We're kind of blown away by how many of you have already joined our Slow Club Book Club and we hope you enjoyed the first selection as much as we did. We've selected our Spring book and will announce it to members in early March. Not a member yet? It's never too late to join us!

 

Pie

In other big news, we've got most of the details worked out for Poetry & Pie II! Once again we'll be meeting at Sweetland Farm, in Norwich, Vermont, to listen to and read poems, eat pie, and enjoy a perfect summer afternoon. We'll reveal the fantastic lineup of poets soon. In the meantime, circle Saturday, July 21, 3:00 to 5:00 pm, on your calendar. You won't want to miss this.

Finally, we want to take a paragraph here to thank our community, near and far, for supporting Literary North. So many of you have said such kind things about our work, sent us your literary news, met with us to discuss events and venues, encouraged us, volunteered for us, cheered us on, donated to us, and helped make Literary North better. We truly couldn't do this work without you. Thank you!

 

March's Shooting Stars

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

  • Thanks to the Vermont Humanities Council, I'm finally reading Moby-Dick. And yes, I'm loving it. If you read it long ago and want a refresher, or if you're daunted by reading it at all, I highly recommend listening to Moby Dick Big Read, a project conceived by Plymouth University. Different voices—some famous, some not—read the book to us chapter by chapter. It's wonderful. For a taste, listen to Nigel Williams' terrific reading of Chapter 3: The Spouter-Inn. —Rebecca
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  • Do you know about The Book Jam? Lisa Christie and Lisa Cadow, both of the Upper Valley, have a blog where they pass on book recommendations of all stripes. Their latest blog post features Norwich Bookstore bookseller, Carin Pratt. Carin's recommendations can't be beat. I always look forward to visiting Carin at the bookstore to hear which books she's raving about. —Shari

March Highlights

The Snapdragon Inn in Windsor, Vermont, is hosting author Ruth Porter, granddaughter of Maxwell Perkins, for their first Author's Book Club weekend on Saturday, March 3. Ruth will be leading a book discussion of her latest novel beginning at 3:00 pm. The discussion will be preceded by afternoon tea and followed by a book signing and a wine and cheese tasting.

Victor LaValle

Victor LaValle

On Thursday, March 1, Victor LaValle will be reading as part of the Cleopatra Mathis Poetry & Prose Series at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. The reading will be held at Sanborn Library and begins at 4:30 pm.

AVA Gallery's quarterly live storytelling event, The Mudroom, returns on Thursday, March 15 in Lebanon, New Hampshire. This quarter's theme is "The First Time." Food at 6:30 pm and the storytelling begins at 7.00. Purchase advance tickets online, $7.50 to $10. Ages 21 and over. Get your tickets soon as this event usually sells out!

On Sunday, March 11, Pam Houston will be giving a reading at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont, at 7:00 pm.

Morgan Jerkins

Morgan Jerkins

Morgan Jerkins reads from her critically acclaimed book of essays, This Will Be My Undoing, on Wednesday, March 14, at 7:00 pm at Bennington College.

On Friday, March 16, Dartmouth Professor of History Annelise Orleck will read from and discuss her newest book, We Are All Fast-Food Workers Now, at Water Street Bookstore in Exeter, New Hampshire. The reading begins at 7:00 pm. If you miss this reading, you can also catch Annelise's reading at Phoenix Books in Burlington, Vermont, on Thursday, March 22, at 6:30 pm.

Robin Coste Lewis will be at Bennington College on Wednesday, March 21 as a part of the "Poetry at Bennington" series. Evie Shockley reads on Wednesday, March 28. Both of these readings start at 7:00 pm in Tishman Lecture Hall.

Multi-talented writer Rita Banerjee will read from her debut poetry collection, Echo in Four Beats, on Tuesday, March 27, at 5:30 pm at the New Hampshire Institute of Art in Manchester, New Hampshire.

 

Worth a Drive

Photo by Tom Hines

Photo by Tom Hines

Poet Ocean Vuong—recent winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize—will be reading at the Alumnae House Conference Hall at Smith College, in Northampton, Massachusetts, on Tuesday, March 27. The reading begins at 7:30 pm. Meet you there?!

Amherst College Lit Fest begins Thursday, March 1 and goes through Saturday, March 3. Writers include Carmen Maria Machado, Min Jin Lee, Junot Diaz, and Masha Gessen. Visit Amherst College's website for more information.

 

We're Looking Forward to These March Releases

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Calls For Submission and Upcoming Deadlines

The 2018 Frost Farm Prize for Metrical Poetry is open for entries through March 30. The winner receives $1,000 and an invitation, with honorarium, to read in June 2018 as part of The Hyla Brook Reading Series at the Robert Frost Farm. For more information and to enter, please visit the Frost Farm Prize page.

Applications are 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 Fleming Museum of Art at UVM is seeking original poetry based on the art on view in the museum for their Ekphrastic Poetry Reading (on April 18, at 6:00 pm). Submissions must be received by March 16. For more information, please visit the Fleming Museum's event 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.

The Odyssey Writing Workshop (June 4 to July 13) is accepting applications until April 7. The Odyssey workshop, for writers of fantasy, science fiction, and horror, is held on the campus of Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. Prospective students must include a 4,000-word writing sample with their application. For more information, please visit the Workshop page.

Registration is open for the VCFA Novel Retreat (May 15 to 21). 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 Bennington Review is open for submissions through May 15 with no reading fee. For more information, please visit the Bennington Review Submissions page.

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

Registration is open for the 3rd Annual Poetry Festival at the Fine Arts Work Center (August 5 to 10) in Provincetown, Massachusetts. The Festival includes poetry and songwriting workshops. Faculty includes Traci Brimhall, Cornelius Eady, Nick Flynn, Vievee Francis, Ross Gay, Rebecca Gayle Howell, Patty Larkin, and Patrick Rosal. For information on tuition, housing, and registration, please visit the FAWC Festival page.

Registration is open for 603: The Writers' Conference (April 14) on the SNHU campus in Manchester, New Hampshire. The keynote speaker is novelist Richard Russo. The conference includes master classes, workshops, panel discussions, lunch, and a reception. $85 to $135. For more information and to register, please visit the Conference page.

The Summer Writing Intensive at Marlboro College is accepting applications on a rolling basis through July 5. The intensive is open to anyone 18 years or older. Military veterans are particularly encouraged to apply. For more information, please visit the Summer Writing Intensive page.


March Workshops and Classes

Poet Karin Gottshall is leading three Master Classes: "Figuration Smorgasbord: Roll up Your Sleeves and Get Messy with Metaphor," Saturdays, March 3, 10, and 17, from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm at the Burlington Writers Workshop in Burlington, Vermont. Note: These workshops do not need to be taken as a series. For more information and to register, please visit the Workshop page.

On Saturday, March 10, from 12:30 pm to 4:30 pm, the League of Vermont Writers is offering "Sacred Marriage: The Writer and Their Critic," a workshop that will help you understand and explore the relationship between our writer-self and your inner critic. $60 for League members; $80 for non-members. To attend, you must register and pay in full by March 5. For more information and to register, please visit the Gatherings page.

Are you looking for quality feedback on a work-in-progress but have no time for a weekly class? Joni Cole's one-session "Fast Feedback" workshop on Saturday, March 10, provides writers of fiction and creative non-fiction with a quick fox of feedback, instruction, and collective inspiration. The workshop meets from 9:30 to 10:30 am at the Writer's Center in White River Junction, Vermont. The cost is $45. For more information and to register, please visit the Writer's Center Workshops page.

On Monday, March 12, from 7:00 to 8:00 pm, Catherine Deiley is offering an online workshop titled, "Online Tools to Track Your Submissions." Learn to use tools such as Submittable and Duotrope to stay organized and keep your submissions rolling. $10 for New Hampshire Writers' Project members; $25 for non-members. For more information and to register, please visit the NHWP Workshops page.

Also sponsored by the New Hampshire Writers' Project, Tracy Hahn-Burkett, writer and former DC public policy advocate, will be teaching a "Political Writing: Advocacy" workshop. The workshop will be held at The Ford House on the campus of SNHU, on Wednesday, March 14, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. $50 for NHWP members; $75 for non-members. For more information and to register, please visit the NHWP Workshops page.

Join the Vermont Folklife Center for their "Storytelling for Social Change" workshop on Saturday, March 17, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. This workshop is intended for anyone interested in developing collaborative documentary storytelling skills, including students, community members, and staff members of organizations doing cultural, community, and social-service work. The workshop will be held at the Helen Day Art Center in Stowe, Vermont. Tuition for the day is $95. For more information or to register, please visit the Workshop page.

On Friday, March 23 and Saturday, March 24, join the Vermont Folklife Center for a "Digital Storytelling for Community Engagement and Sustainability" workshop. This two-day workshop, held at Shelburne Farms in Shelburne, Vermont, is a deep dive into tools and techniques for digital storytelling to engage students and communities in sustainability. $250, includes meals and accommodations. A limited number of partial scholarships are available. For more information and to register, please visit the Workshop page.

Join Mimi Schwartz for "Beyond the I: When Memoir Meets History," a workshop that focuses on the ways that personal narrative is enriched by history—be it family legacies, neighborhood landmarks, or the social history that shapes us. Through readings, discussion, and in-class exercises, participants will discover new strategies for writing their life stories in ways that friends, family or strangers will want to read on. The workshop, held on Saturday, March 24, from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, will take place at The Ford House on the campus of SNHU, in Manchester, New Hampshire. $50 for NHWP members; $75 for non-members. For more information and to register, please visit the NHWP Workshops page.

On Sunday, March 25, author and writing coach Annalisa Parent will walk workshop attendees through the elements of a publishable manuscript. Participants will have the opportunity to share their writing andget meaningful feedback. The workshop will be held at the Toadstool Bookshop in Keene, New Hampshire, from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. For more information and to register, please visit the Event page.

Join poet Hannah Fries on Wednesday, March 28, at Court Street Arts in Haverhill, New Hampshire, for a joyful exploration of what makes a poem leap off the page and into our hearts. Participants will spend part of the day looking at their own favorite poems and other examples, and part of the day using loose, fun exercises to jump start their own writing. $60 for members; $65 for non-members. For more information and to register, please visit the Classes page.

The Dipper - October 2017

"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

Maybe this newsletter is arriving in your inbox on an otherwise quiet Sunday at the beginning of Autumn. Maybe you have plans to go apple picking, or maybe the garden needs putting to bed, or maybe you have a notion to go for a hike and then relax with a new book. Those are all really good ideas. But if you happen to find yourself at a loss for something to do, we suggest the Free Verse Festival, happening today (October 1) at Free Verse Farm in Chelsea, Vermont.

What's in it for you? Here's what: Poetry readings by Major Jackson, Taylor Mardis Katz, Didi Jackson, Hal Coughlin, Julia Shipley, and Megan Buchanan. Plus live music, wood-fired pizza, tacos, artwork, beer, tea, and coffee. And we'll be there, checking folks in and handing out Summer Reads postcards to help you fill up your autumn TBR. Stop by and say hello!

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You may wonder how we get so many great events on our calendar. The truth is, we keep our ears open, talk to a lot of people, and spend a lot of hours scanning through online event calendars for venues far and wide to find readings and events we're excited to share with you.

More and more, kind people are contacting us directly to tell us about events they're participating in or organizing. But we know we're still not capturing all the great events this literary community is putting on. If you know of an event, a series, a conference, a workshop, or a venue in Vermont or New Hampshire that we're missing, please drop us a line. We want to make this the best literary calendar you've ever seen.


October Highlights

The Talk of the Porch hosted by Julia Shipley and Stark Biddle will be taking place the first two Mondays in October, November, and December. Join these local writers at the Craftsbury Commons Library in Craftsbury, Vermont, at 7:00 pm to discuss current and classic short stories from The New Yorker. All are welcome. For more information or to find out the reading schedule, call (802) 586-9683.

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Alice McDermott will be reading from her critically acclaimed new novel, The Ninth Hour, at the University of New Hampshire-Durham on Tuesday, October 3 at 5:00 pm.

The Burlington Book Festival Celebrity Series presents Saudi Arabian novelist, Mohammed Hasan Alwan—winner of the 2017 International Prize for Arabic Fiction and the 2015 Prix de la Littérature Arabe—for a reading at Echo Revision Lakeside Pavilion in Burlington, Vermont, on Friday, October 6 at 7:00 pm. The reading will be followed by conversation, book signing, and a reception. This event is free, but seats are limited. To reserve a seat, RSVP at sevendaystickets.com.

Brattleboro Literary Festival is taking place October 13 to 15 at various locations in downtown Brattleboro, Vermont. We are particularly excited to see Hannah Tinti, John Freeman, Nicole Sealey, Carolyn Forché, Min Jin Lee, Carmen Maria Machado, Major Jackson, Claire Messud, and David Tomas Martinez.

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Hisham Matar will be reading at Middlebury College on Thursday, October 19 at 4:30 pm. His book, The Return, was Shari's favorite non-fiction read of 2016.

Also on Thurday, October, 19, Kaitlyn Greenidge will be at the Sanborn Library at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, at 4:30 pm. We both enjoyed Kaitlyn's reading as part of Phoenix Books - Misty Valley's New Voices reading in January.

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Jacqueline Woodson will be at Burlington High School for a talk and signing on Monday, October 23 at 6:00 pm.

Kaveh Akbar will be at Bennington College on Wednesday, October 25 at 7:00 pm to read from his just-released book of poetry, Calling A Wolf A Wolf. Note: If you don't follow Kaveh on Twitter (@KavehAkbar), you are missing out! 

Please visit our calendar for detailed information about each event and to see more event listings for October and beyond.

 

Worth a Drive

Boston Book Festival

The Boston Book Festival is on Saturday, October 28, at Copley Square in Boston, Massachusetts. This year's festival features over 30 authors—writing in genres from fiction to memoir to YA to poetry—as well as several special events. The event is free and open to the public. The full schedule will be available on the BFF website in early October. 

At Mass MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts, the Mastheads' five writing studios, designed by architects Tessa Kelly and Chris Parkinson, spatially interpret the Berkshire work and homes of American Renaissance writers Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. The studios are available for three-hour appointments during the week, and are open to the public on weekends, through October 30.

We're Looking Forward to These October Releases


Calls for Submission and Upcoming Deadlines

The editors of the anthology Birchsong: Poetry Centered in Vermont, vol. I (2012) are pleased to announce the forthcoming publication of a second volume in the spring of 2018. Poets living in Vermont and neighboring states (New Hampshire, New York, and Massachusetts) are invited to submit, by regular mail, one to three poems for consideration through October 31, 2017. Poems, no longer than 70 lines each, must be written since Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011, and sent to Editors, The Blueline Press, PO Box 706, East Dorset, Vermont 05253. Please email thebluelinepressvt16@gmail.com for complete submission guidelines or if you have questions.

The Frost Place is accepting submissions for its 2018 Chapbook Competition. The submission period is October 1, 2017 to January 5, 2018. The competition is open to any poet writing in English. Entries must be accompanied by at $28 entry fee. For details about submitting your manuscript and more information about the competition, please visit the Competition page.

Also from October 1, 2017 to January 5, 2018, The 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 the Residency page.

Alice James Books is accepting submissions of poetry manuscripts to the Alice James Award, postmarked through November 1, 2017. The Alice James Award welcomes submissions from emerging as well as established poets who reside in the United States. The entry fee is $30. For submission guidelines and more information, please visit the Alice James Award page.

It's a bit out of our immediate region, but Provincetown is only a few hours' drive. If that's no barrier to you and you can commit to living full-time in Provincetown, Massachusetts, for seven months, and you have not yet published a full-length work, you can apply for a Writing Fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center. Applications are being accepted now through December 1, 2017. For details, please visit the Writing Fellowship page.


October Workshops and Classes

Are you interested in typesetting poetry interlined with its translation in a second language and typeface? If so, this Letterpress Intensive Workshop is for you. To join, attend the introductory session on Sunday, October 1, at Baker Library in Hanover, New Hampshire. Attendees can register for the workshop, which will be held on Sunday afternoons through the term. The workshop is limited to six, with priority given to Dartmouth students. For more information, visit the Event page.

Ina Anderson continues her series of poetry workshops on October 18, and November 15 at Seven Stars Art Center, in Sharon, Vermont. The workshops are for beginning through experienced poets, and provide feedback in a friendly, supportive setting. A $10 donation for each session is suggested. Pre-registration is not required. For more information, please see the Event page.

Poet and teacher Sarah Anderson is offering the "Beyond the Ship's Log" workshop on Sunday, October 22. Chronicling a sea voyage has always been part of what happens on board a boat and these written narratives are the basis for much of our understanding of maritime related history. This workshop will equip each participant with tips and techniques for writing about your impressions and thoughts along the way and a framework for transforming those notes into a lasting memoir of your adventure. The workshop will be held at the Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The cost is $130-$145. Space is limited. Register by October 10. For more information and to register, please visit the Workshop & Events page.

Geoffrey Douglas, non-fiction author and adjunct professor of creative writing at the University of Massachusetts, is offering an eight-session workshop in the Upper Valley called "The Well-Told Story," on Tuesdays from 6:00 to 8:00 pm, October 24 through December 12. This workshop will help you address questions regarding how best to tell your story. Do you begin at the beginning and go forward, or at the end and circle back? How do you move your narrative along its round-about path without becoming entangled in it? If your story is a memoir, how personal should you let yourself be? If it’s fiction, how do you develop a cast of characters your reader can believe in?  The cost is $280. For more information or to register, email Geoffrey at geoffreyd@earthlink.net.

Burlington Writers Workshop in Burlington and Montpelier, Vermont, offers an ongoing series of free writing workshops. Upcoming workshops include creative writing (any genre), poetry, and creative nonfiction. For a complete list of upcoming workshops and to register, visit the workshop Meetup page. Workshop leaders in October and November include Julia Shipley and Jensen Beach.