Min Jin Lee

Summer Reading Lists - Angela Evancie

Continuing down the path of asking our favorite podcasters for their summer reading lists, we knew we must ask Angela Evancie, the host of Vermont Public Radio’s Brave Little State. If you want to learn more about the great state of Vermont, this podcast is a must-listen. Vermonters across the state ask questions and the Brave Little State team digs in to search for the answers. It’s thoughtful and often fascinating look at topics from old growth forests, to issues of race in Vermont to Vermont’s aging hippies. Don’t miss the episode What Draws So Many Writers and Poets to Vermont? Thank you so much, Angela, for sharing your summer reading list with us!

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I work with sound for a living, and as a result do a lot of listening in my free time. Less so in the summer. Come June weekends, I try to recapture the experience I had as a graduate student at the Bread Loaf School of English, in Ripton: me, an Adirondack chair in the shade of a maple, no cell service, and selection of books just fetched from the library. “[W]hat a morning — fresh as if issued to children on a beach,” Virginia Woolf wrote, and that is exactly what a stack of summer reading feels like.

The Story of a New Name, by Elena Ferrante

Halfway through the first installment of Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, My Brilliant Friend, I concluded that the exalting blurbs were hyperbole. By the time I finished the book, I was in a panicked state, so invested in the lives and the piercing friendship of Lenù and Lila that I had my bookstore special order this, the second book in the series, the very next day. It’s even better than the first, and now I’m on to the third.

Warlight, by Michael Ondaatje

My friend Xander needed to talk about this book with someone, so I picked it up and immediately got lost in it. A narrator, Nathaniel, tries to decipher the odd turns in his childhood in post-war England, after his parents leave his sister and him in the care of a cohort of mysterious drifters. An exquisite rendering of the pain of not knowing, and the canals and switchbacks of memory.

Amy Foster, by Joseph Conrad

A migrant bound for America is shipwrecked, and washes up in a provincial English village that has little tolerance for foreigners. First locked in a shed, and then shunned for singing in his native language, the man Yanko is cast away many times over. Joseph Conrad wrote this short story in 1901, but it demands to be read as a modern parable.

The Far Away Brothers, by Lauren Markham

Also on the theme of migration—this time contemporary, as we follow the epic journey of twin brothers who migrate from El Salvador to California—Lauren Markham’s book is a work of nonfiction that comes to life like the most addictive novels. It’s also the most exacting and sensitive reporting I’ve read on this issue.

Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee

A story that traces the shifting fortunes of four generations of an ethnic Korean family, and one that taught this reader a great deal about Korea and Japan’s intertwined history. Min Jin Lee comes forth with so many deeply feeling, fully formed characters — even minor ones, who appear late in the novel — that you get the sense she can’t help herself.

Outline, by Rachel Cusk

The prose in this book glitters with sunlight off the Mediterranean. A woman travels to Greece to teach a writing class, and falls into a series of very random and strangely engrossing conversations with strangers. “What is it about life?” I was left wondering.

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.