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Friday, April 6
 

7:30am

9:00am

Welcoming Convocation + Keynote: "How to Stay a Writer"
Min Jin Lee quit being a lawyer in 1995 and embarked on a personal “apprenticeship” to learn how to write good fiction. Eleven years later, she published her first novel, after navigating a new life with little money, young children, and the many thrills and difficulties of learning the craft. When she looks back at her literary career, she recognizes her public failures and private growth, which was likely invisible to others. She will share what she focused on in her 22 years as a novelist in order to stay a writer.

Moderators
avatar for Sonya Larson

Sonya Larson

sonya@grubstreet.org, Director of Muse Conference & Advocacy
Sonya Larson joined GrubStreet in 2005, and helped to grow the organization from offering 80 classes a year to over 600. Since then she has managed GrubStreet's many and proliferating programs, and served as Program Director for several years. | Now, as the Director of the Muse... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Min Jin Lee

Min Jin Lee

Author, PACHINKO


Friday April 6, 2018 9:00am - 10:00am
Grand Ballroom - Mezzanine

10:15am

1A: Before You Query Agents: What Fiction Writers Should First Do Online & in Real Life
Limited Capacity filling up

Description coming!

Speakers
avatar for Katherine Fausset

Katherine Fausset

Literary Agent, Curtis Brown, Ltd.
Katherine Fausset began working in book publishing in 1998. First as an assistant at the Watkins/Loomis Agency, then joining Curtis Brown, Ltd. as an agent in 2006. She represents many award-winning and national bestselling authors of literary and upmarket commercial fiction, and... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 10:15am - 11:30am
Whittier Room - 4th Floor

10:15am

1B: Essentials of the Young Adult Novel
Limited Capacity full

Have you ever considered writing a young adult novel? Have you wondered what, exactly, makes a novel young adult? Does the idea of writing an authentic teen voice make you thrilled and/or terrified? How should you decide whether to make the leap? Join young adult author Jennifer De Leon for an informative session that breaks down some of the myths and mystery around this fast-growing publishing category. (Spoiler: it's every bit as challenging--and rewarding--as writing for adults.) They'll share their own reasons for pursuing young adult writing, offer an overview of today's YA industry, and--through creative exercises and discussion--help you discover the young adult novel in you.

Speakers
avatar for Jennifer De Leon

Jennifer De Leon

Author, WISE LATINAS
Jennifer De Leon is the author of the YA novel, Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From, forthcoming from Atheneum/Simon & Schuster (Caitlyn Dlouhy Books), and the editor of Wise Latinas: Writers on Higher Education (University of Nebraska Press, 2014). In 2017 De Leon was selected as a... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 10:15am - 11:30am
Charles River Room - 4th Floor

10:15am

1C: Navigating Your Novel’s Murky Middle
Limited Capacity filling up

Writing the middle of a novel can feel like being lost in the forest with neither a breadcrumb trail nor a compass. You may have a strong idea of where you want to end up – but how do you get there? The answer lies in discovering your novel’s structure, and the kinds of obstacles and complications your main character should encounter on the path toward her desire. If you’ve written 50 or more pages of a novel and feel lost in the murky middle, this seminar – through discussion, examples and in-class exercises –  will help you forge a path toward the story’s climax.

Speakers
avatar for Lisa Borders

Lisa Borders

Author, THE FIFTY-FIRST STATE
Lisa Borders' second novel, The Fifty-First State, was published by Engine Books in 2013. Her first novel, Cloud Cuckoo Land, was chosen by Pat Conroy as the winner of River City Publishing's Fred Bonnie Award, and received fiction honors in the 2003 Massachusetts Book Awards. Li... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 10:15am - 11:30am
Gloucester Room - 4th Floor

10:15am

1D: How to Get Media Attention for Your Book
Limited Capacity filling up

Do you know how to tap into media outlets with compelling pitches to get the word out about your novel, memoir or nonfiction book? Getting exposure on television, radio, print or on heavily trafficked sites can really move the dial in terms of sales. In this session, two seasoned authors will share tips on finding the right hooks for your book, and tailoring your message to your target media and audience. We will do an interactive exercise called “Great Pitch or Strikeout?” to learn which angles work and which ones fizzle. You will learn to begin thinking of yourself as an expert, and putting yourself in a busy producer or editor’s shoes.

Speakers
avatar for Lynne Griffin

Lynne Griffin

Author, Life Without Summer & Girl Sent Away
Lynne Griffin is the author of the novels Girl Sent Away (SixOneSeven Books), Sea Escape (Simon & Schuster) and Life Without Summer (St. Martin's Press), and the non-fiction guides, Let's Talk About it: Adolescent Mental Health (SixOneSeven Books) and Negotiation Generation (Penguin). In addition to teaching at GrubStreet, Lynne teaches in the graduate program of family studies at Wheelock College. She is the family life contributor for Boston's Fox Morning News and writes for Psychology Today. Her short fiction, essays, and articles have appeared in Slate, Brain, Child, Parenting, Scholastic Parent & Child, Psychology Today, The Writer, The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe, The Drum Literary Magazine, Parents Magazine, and more. For more about Lynne's work, visit her website... Read More →
avatar for Katrin Schumann

Katrin Schumann

Author, THE SECRET POWER OF MIDDLE CHILDREN
Katrin Schumann is the co-author of The Secret Power of Middle Children (Hudson Street, 2011), Mothers Need Time-Outs, Too (McGraw-Hill, 2008), and has written and edited numerous other nonfiction titles, both commercially and independently. Her debut novel, The Forgotten Hours, is forthcoming from Lake Union, January 2019. Katrin has been featured multiple times on TODAY, Talk of the Nation, and in The London Times, as well as other national and international media outlets. For the past ten years she has been teaching writing, most recently at GrubStreet, and in the MA prison system through PEN New England. Before going freelance, she worked at NPR, where she won the Kogan Media Award. Katrin has been granted multiple fiction residencies. She has a regular column on GrubWrites and can be found... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 10:15am - 11:30am
Stuart Room - 4th Floor

10:15am

1E: Making the Most of Your Writing Time
Limited Capacity full

Thinking of trying your hand at the official NaNoWriMo in November? Challenging yourself by setting your own deadline for finishing that novel lurking in your drawer? Crunched for time and ready to make the most of your precious writing minutes?

Then this course is for you. In this session, the instructor, a pantser turned plotter, will share the techniques she uses to write first drafts that function more like second or third drafts in half the time. Using these tips and tricks, she cut her writing time down from three years to three months, and she'll show how you can do the same. With advice for managing both your writing life and your personal life, the instructor will give you the tools you need for more efficient writing not just for NaNoWriMo, but for every month of the year.

Speakers
avatar for Lori Goldstein

Lori Goldstein

Author, BECOMING JINN
Lori Goldstein was born into an Italian-Irish family and raised in a small town on the New Jersey shore. She earned her bachelor's degree in journalism from Lehigh University and worked as a writer, editor, and graphic designer before becoming a full-time author and manuscript ed... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 10:15am - 11:30am
Winthrop Room - 4th Floor

10:15am

1F: Networking for Reticent Writers
Limited Capacity full

Networking. The word strikes fear and ugh into writers from all genres and backgrounds. We know it's good for our careers, but we can't bring ourselves to show up for that happy hour or cocktail party or event. But it doesn't have to be so hard.


Building a writing community is one of the best ways to set yourself up for success when the time comes to step into the publishing spotlight. In this session, you'll pick up some strategies for offline and online networking that will help debut—and even experienced—authors break the fear, build confidence, and learn to see networking less as a chore and more as a powerful and rewarding way to build your writing community, which can pay dividends—both for your career and your personal life. You might even have fun in the process. Guiding you is introvert-turned-sometimes-extrovert debut author Kelly J. Ford, whose small efforts brought big rewards on her own journey as a debut author.

Speakers
avatar for Kelly J. Ford

Kelly J. Ford

Author, COTTONMOUTHS
Kelly J. Ford is the author of COTTONMOUTHS, named one of 2017’s best books of the year by the Los Angeles Review. Her work has appeared in Black Heart Magazine, Fried Chicken and Coffee, and Knee-Jerk Magazine, and is forthcoming in Post Road Magazine. She is Framingham State... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 10:15am - 11:30am
Tremont Room - 4th Floor

10:15am

1G: Telling a Story with Your Book Proposal
Limited Capacity filling up

You may have been told that a book proposal is a marketing tool, and it is. But it is also a narrative about why your book should be published. Great proposals use characters, conflict, anecdotes, and memorable details to tell a great story. To write a successful proposal, you’ll need to know how to create a hook, build the tension and offer a satisfying ending. 

In this session, we’ll talk about how to use storytelling elements in every section of a proposal to make it more compelling. We will look at excerpts of successful proposals by several writers to identify the narrative techniques they used to build a case for their books.

Speakers
avatar for Tanya McKinnon

Tanya McKinnon

Literary Agent, The McKinnon McIntyre Agency
Tanya McKinnon is the co-founder of the McKinnon McIntyre Literary Agency where she represents New York Times Bestselling non-fiction, award-winning public intellectuals, award-winning children's books, and New York Times bestselling graphic novels. She specializes in non-fiction... Read More →
avatar for Michelle Seaton

Michelle Seaton

Author, CHANGE YOUR SCHEDULE, CHANGE YOUR LIFE
Michelle Seaton's is the co-author of Change Your Schedule, Change Your Life (HarperWave, 2018), Living with Cancer (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017) and The Way of Boys (William Morrow, 2010). Her short fiction has appeared in One Story, Harvard Review, Sycamore Review, and... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 10:15am - 11:30am
White Hill Room - 4th Floor

10:15am

1H: The Blazing Thing: On Imagination in Fiction
Limited Capacity filling up

In his essay "Not-Knowing," Donald Barthelme writes that "...without the possibility of having the mind move in unanticipated directions, there would be no invention." How can we encourage our own imaginations to move in new and unanticipated directions? This discussion class will aim to engage that ever-pressing question and explore new ways to stretch our imaginations on the page.

Speakers
avatar for Laura van den Berg

Laura van den Berg

Author, THE THIRD HOTEL
Laura van den Berg is the author of the novel Find Me, a TimeOut New York and NPR "Best Book of 2015," and two story collections, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us and The Isle of Youth, both finalists for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 10:15am - 11:30am
Beacon Hill Room - 4th Floor

10:15am

1I: Voice in Nonfiction: What is Your Voice and How Can You Reclaim it?
Limited Capacity full

What do publishers and agents refer to when they say they’re looking for a strong, original, nonfiction voice? Have you found yourself wondering just what your voice is? Do the stories you tell out loud not sound the same when you write them down? Perhaps you’ve been told-- directly or subliminally-- that your voice isn't good enough or that your stories aren't worthy. Or you’ve been taught to write in ways that stunt your writing and expression. Or you’ve been taught to write in a way that negates your cultural influences and verbal tics and everything that makes you you.

I get it. It was done to me too, and it has become one of my missions as a writer and educator to help writers write in our own distinctive voices, because that’s where our power is. In this session-- part craft talk and part generative writing-- we'll lead you through various exercises with the aim of uncovering/re-discovering your voice.

You'll learn how to write in a style that is fluid, honest, and unique to you and your experiences. We will read. We will discuss. We will write. Join us!

Speakers
avatar for Vanessa Mártir

Vanessa Mártir

Non-fiction Writer
Vanessa Mártir is a NYC based writer, educator and mama. She is currently completing her memoir, A Dim Capacity for Wings, and chronicles the journey at vanessamartir.blog. A five-time VONA/Voices and two-time Tin House fellow, Vanessa’s work has appeared in Bitch Media, The B... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 10:15am - 11:30am
Newbury Room - 4th Floor

10:15am

1J: When Your Memoir Goes Public
Limited Capacity filling up

Perhaps you've sat awake for hours worrying over every detail of your memoir's public life. Perhaps you've tried to comb through your draft for any incriminating evidence. Now that it's about to go public, you need to understand the benefits and consequences of publishing a deeply personal account. How do you interface with your audience? How do you protect yourself and your loved (or even hated) ones? As someone who's published a deeply personal account and lived to see it transformed into a major motion picture, I'll walk you through the tips and tricks I wish I'd known before I pushed the send button.

Speakers
avatar for Garrard Conley

Garrard Conley

Author, BOY ERASED
Garrard Conley is the author of a memoir on conversion therapy, Boy Erased, out from Riverhead (Penguin) May 2016. His work can be found in TIME, VICE, CNN, Buzzfeed Books, Virginia Quarterly Review, and others. He has received scholarships from the Bread Loaf, Sewanee, and... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 10:15am - 11:30am
St. James Room - 4th Floor

10:15am

1K: Your First 100 Words: Grounding Readers in Your Fiction
Limited Capacity filling up

You've got 100 words, more or less, to engage someone—editor or reader. Most readers will (only) engage with a story if they feel grounded in some aspect of that story's world. Whether physically grounded in setting, emotionally grounded in character, or logistically grounded in the human situation, it's crucial to establish for readers early on a world they recognize, and to convey what matters in that world. In this advanced craft session, we'll discuss techniques for grounding your stories, analyze published examples, and get principles in practice with take-home application exercises. For writers of both short fiction and novels.

Speakers
avatar for Ron MacLean

Ron MacLean

Author, WE MIGHT AS WELL LIGHT SOMETHING ON FIRE
Ron MacLean is author of the novels Headlong and Blue Winnetka Skies, and the story collection Why the Long Face?. His fiction has appeared in GQ, Narrative, Fiction International, Best Online Fiction, and elsewhere. He is a recipient of the Frederick Exley Award for Short Fictio... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 10:15am - 11:30am
Cambridge Room - 4th Floor

10:15am

1L: Your Narrator's Time Signature: Finding the Right Tempo During Dialogue
Limited Capacity filling up

I'm developing a piece that shows the impact that interiority has on the pacing of a dialogue exchange. I want to show how the countermelody, or the second, interior voice, informs the silences--especially those that result from a withholding of a truth in the moment.

The main example comes from Danzy Senna's Triptych, and I'll review three versions of the same scene she includes in the story. All three tell similar stories, but I want to have a conversation about how the changes in timing and rhythm affect the feeling of the moment.

The first example has no interior access other than what's implied through gesture. The second a single line of interiority. The third features an extended riff of a withheld truth. The real-time moments are all the same length, but the interior clocks are different.

I want to present in a way that informs early drafting and revision as the conference writers decide between brevity and elaboration during a conversation or scene.

Speakers
avatar for Ravi Howard

Ravi Howard

Author, DRIVING THE KING
Ravi Howard received the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence in 2008 for the novel Like Trees, Walking, a fictionalized account of a true story, the 1981 lynching of a black teenager in Mobile, Alabama. Howard was a finalist for both the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 10:15am - 11:30am
Franklin Room - 4th Floor

11:45am

2A: A Man Walks into a...: Writing Compelling Scenes in Fiction
Limited Capacity full

The most powerful short stories and novels are built on a foundation of great scenes. Scenes convey the fears and desires of characters in tense, funny, wonderful real-time action—so why are they so difficult to write? In this discussion class, we'll explore the 3 P's of great scenes (person, place, and problem) and discuss how to get in and out of a scene efficiently. We'll discuss the difference between scenes and summary, and why rooting our most emotional moments in scenes is so much more effective than analysis or "habitual time."

Works to examine will include Joyce Carol Oates' "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"; Denis Johnson's "Emergency"; Carver's "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love"; and others.

We will also start a short writing exercise, turning exposition into realtime scenes.

Speakers
avatar for Blair Hurley

Blair Hurley

Author, THE DEVOTED
Blair Hurley received her B.A. from Princeton University and her M.F.A. from NYU. Her stories are published or forthcoming in West Branch, Mid-American Review, Washington Square, Hayden's Ferry Review, Descant, Fugue, and elsewhere. She has received a Pushcart Prize and scholarsh... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 11:45am - 1:00pm
Cambridge Room - 4th Floor

11:45am

2B: All-Conference Read in Fiction: PRIVATE CITIZENS by Tony Tulathimutte
Limited Capacity seats available

“Finally,” writes New York Magazine, “millennial heroes and heroines in a Great American Novel.” Join author Tony Tulathimutte for a discussion of a writer’s choices and strategies through the lens of his debut novel. Private Citizens is 21st century “comedy of manners,” following four estranged friends as they stagger through a maze of tech startups, protestors, gentrifiers, karaoke bars, house parties, and cultish self-help seminars, washing up in each other’s lives once again.

While we strongly encourage reading Private Citizens ahead of time, the conversation will be illuminating and meaningful to all.

Moderators
avatar for Hannah Tinti

Hannah Tinti

Author, THE TWELVE LIVES OF SAMUEL HAWLEY
Hannah Tinti is the author of the bestselling novel The Good Thief, which won The Center for Fiction’s first novel prize, and the story collection Animal Crackers, a runner-up for the PEN/Hemingway Award. Her new novel, The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley, is National bestseller and has been optioned for television. She teaches creative writing at New York University’s MFA program and co-founded... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Tony Tulathimutte

Tony Tulathimutte

All-Conference Read in Fiction, PRIVATE CITIZENS
Tony Tulathimutte’s novel Private Citizens was called “the first great millennial novel” by New York Magazine. A graduate of Stanford University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he has written for The New York Times, VICE, WIRED, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New Repub... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 11:45am - 1:00pm
Emerson Room - 4th Floor

11:45am

2C: Essentials of Characterization
Limited Capacity full

Are you looking for more tools with which to create complex characters in your work? Do you find yourself having difficulty getting close enough to your characters to write intimately about them? Conversely, do you feel you understand something vital about your characters but can’t seem to bring it across on the page? In this seminar, we’ll look at examples of characterization in literature and consider how the authors were able to access and depict their characters’ essential qualities. We will do writing exercises as time allows. Please come with questions about problems you’re trying to solve surrounding characterization in your own work. You’ll take away a wider set of options and/or solutions for bringing your characters to life.

Speakers
avatar for Stacy Mattingly

Stacy Mattingly

Fiction Writer
Stacy Mattingly is coauthor with Ashley Smith of the New York Times best seller Unlikely Angel, an Atlanta hostage story now a feature film, Captive. Stacy’s work has appeared in the Oxford American, EuropeNow, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and elsewhere. In 2012, she lau... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 11:45am - 1:00pm
Stuart Room - 4th Floor

11:45am

2D: Get Your Essay Pitches Noticed
Limited Capacity filling up

It's an incredible time to be a magazine writer, because accessing an editor you want to write for has never been easier. The problem? The fact that accessing editors has never been easier. Everyone's trying to do it.
In a sea of pitches and story ideas, how can yours stand out from the crowd? In this seminar, you will learn how to hone your pitch, contact editors, and generate original content. You'll leave better equipped and less daunted about how to navigate magazine publications and make your pitches stick.

Speakers
avatar for Candace McDuffie

Candace McDuffie

Journalist, Forbes Under 30
Candace McDuffie is a dedicated journalist and teacher who holds a Master's Degree in Education specializing in Critical and Creative Thinking from the University at Massachusetts Boston. She is a monthly contributor for the Under 30 Section at Forbes. Her work has also been feat... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 11:45am - 1:00pm
Charles River Room - 4th Floor

11:45am

2E: Getting Your Nonfiction Book Back on Track
Limited Capacity filling up

It was all going really well: you had a great book idea and a lot of passion, and you've been beavering away writing. But all that energy has drained away and you're left with a mess of notes, a bunch of chapters that don't hang together, and the nagging feeling that you may not even know what your book is really about. This session will show you how to get back control of your project by sharing six important strategies to help you clarify your goals, content, and process.

Speakers
avatar for Katrin Schumann

Katrin Schumann

Author, THE SECRET POWER OF MIDDLE CHILDREN
Katrin Schumann is the co-author of The Secret Power of Middle Children (Hudson Street, 2011), Mothers Need Time-Outs, Too (McGraw-Hill, 2008), and has written and edited numerous other nonfiction titles, both commercially and independently. Her debut novel, The Forgotten Hours, is forthcoming from Lake Union, January 2019. Katrin has been featured multiple times on TODAY, Talk of the Nation, and in The London Times, as well as other national and international media outlets. For the past ten years she has been teaching writing, most recently at GrubStreet, and in the MA prison system through PEN New England. Before going freelance, she worked at NPR, where she won the Kogan Media Award. Katrin has been granted multiple fiction residencies. She has a regular column on GrubWrites and can be found... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 11:45am - 1:00pm
St. James Room - 4th Floor

11:45am

2F: Novels: Writing the Opening Pages
Limited Capacity filling up

In my lecture, I will discuss writing the opening pages of novels, looking at the ways novelists begin to create setting and character, how they start to pose the crucial questions that will be answered later. I will use the opening of one of my own novels and also the opening of Larry McMurtry's classic novel The Last Picture Show as examples.

Speakers
avatar for Steve Yarbrough

Steve Yarbrough

Author, THE UNMADE WORLD
Steve Yarbrough is the author of eleven books, most recently the novel The Unmade World, due out in January 2018. His other books are the non-fiction title Bookmarked: Larry McMurtry’s The Last Picture Show, the novels The Realm of Last Chances, Safe from the Neighbors, The E... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 11:45am - 1:00pm
Tremont Room - 4th Floor

11:45am

2G: Politics and Prose: Tackling the Issues of Our Time Through Fiction and Narrative Nonfiction
Limited Capacity full

In a time of political upheaval, amidst a saturated media landscape saturated with tweets and news feeds, deeply imagined narratives of individual lives are more important than ever. In this session, we will explore on the craft considerations in creating fiction and narrative nonfiction that gives a human face to the charged political debates of this moment in history. How does the writer depict the realities of place and time while maintaining allegiance to the desires and complexities of individual lives? How do we convey strongly held beliefs without becoming didactic and boring? We will analyze excerpts from authors ranging from Isaac Babel to Junot Díaz, Toni Morrison to Merce Rodoreda, reading as writers and isolating techniques for use in our own work, which we will practice through a series of brief writing exercises. By the end of the session, you will have an enhanced tool box for building stories that engage with the pressing issues of our time.

Speakers
avatar for Adam Stumacher

Adam Stumacher

Fiction and Non-Fiction Writer
Adam Stumacher's fiction has appeared in Granta, Narrative, The Kenyon Review, The Sun, TriQuarterly, and others, was anthologized in Best New American Voices, and has won the Raymond Carver Short Story Award and a Nelson Algren Award. His nonfiction has appeared in The New York... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 11:45am - 1:00pm
Newbury Room - 4th Floor

11:45am

2H: Productive Revision, Or How to Stop Perfecting Paragraphs and Strengthen Your Story: Section A
Limited Capacity full

What leads writers of fiction and narrative nonfiction, long or short, to get bogged down in the revision process? Sometimes the problem is polishing too soon or, exasperated and wanting to be done, making desperate "fixes." Often what's needed are ways to back off and re-see what's there in order to develop and structure the material. This workshop will offer strategies for finding opportunities in a messy draft, identifying habits that can limit you, tackling what you're afraid of, and using your writing time well. We'll discuss methods to get some distance in order to evaluate drafts, including examples of ways to look at scenic structure, time and pace, presentation of characters, and measurable change, to help you find your way on the path to a complete and satisfying story.

Speakers
avatar for Lynne Barrett

Lynne Barrett

Author, MAGPIES
Lynne Barrett's most recent story collection is Magpies (Gold Medal, Florida Book Awards), and her handbook What Editors Want guides writers through the submissions process. Her recent fiction and nonfiction can be found in Necessary Fiction, Mystery Tribune, The Miami Rail, The... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 11:45am - 1:00pm
Whittier Room - 4th Floor

11:45am

2I: Race, Identity & Craft in Fiction and Nonfiction
Limited Capacity full

This session will focus on the question of identity: How writing is an exploration of who one is and one's place in the world; how such exploration entails challenges both to familial, cultural, social, or political norms, and to one's own psychic defenses and blind spots. Thus, in any genre, a writer's journey often requires investigating one's past and present selves in order to create a truer and more complex articulation of the self. In interrogating identity, race provides an essential lens to interpreting and evaluating the work of writers of color. But beyond this, the failure to question the ways whiteness has traditionally been defined and practiced both in our literature and society can lead to failures in craft. Thus, a consideration of race in writing and reading literature is an invaluable pursuit for all writers—not just writers of color but white writers, too.

Speakers
avatar for David Mura

David Mura

Author, A STRANGER'S JOURNEY: RACE, IDENTITY & NARRATIVE CRAFT IN WRITING
David Mura is a poet, creative non-fiction writer, fiction writer, critic, and playwright. A Sansei or third generation Japanese American, Mura has written two memoirs: Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei which won an Oakland PEN Josephine Miles Book Award and was a New York Ti... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 11:45am - 1:00pm
Franklin Room - 4th Floor

11:45am

2J: Shut Up and Listen: Crafting Literary Voice from Literal Voices
Limited Capacity filling up

Fiction writers talk endlessly about voice, using terms like syntax and point-of-view and diction, likely pointing to their favorite authors or texts for examples of the most distinctive. But most of us spend far more hours of our days away from the page, where we're surrounded by actual voices: those with whom we converse, those on whom we eavesdrop, those of our friends and those of complete strangers. Instead of thinking about the wait in line at the grocery store as a waste of time, why not think of it as an opportunity? In this discussion and guided writing panel, we'll work on transforming snippets of disembodied dialogue—from our memories, from found audio, and from transcripts of recorded conversations—into lively fictional creations.

Speakers
avatar for Xhenet Aliu

Xhenet Aliu

Author, BRASS
Xhenet Aliu is the author of the novel Brass (Random House, 2018) and the short fiction collection Domesticated Wild Things and Other Stories (Univ. Neb. Press, 2013), winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction. Her stories and essays have appeared in journals such as G... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 11:45am - 1:00pm
Cabot Room - 4th Floor

11:45am

2K: Subversion: Writing YA Novels That Upend Expectations
Limited Capacity filling up

Good writers know to avoid formulaic writing, but there’s something to be said for traditional plot devices. Readers look for familiar guideposts—the love triangle, the hero’s journey, the happy ending—as they decide whether or not to keep reading. But the freshest and best Young Adult novels subvert formula. These novels set readers’ expectations, only to send them crashing down. The results are satisfying, well-executed stories that stand on their own—and in some cases, can start whole new traditions.

We’ll look at the works of John Green, Caleb Roehrig and Angie Thomas, among others. Then, we’ll expand our examination of formula to look at YA tropes: think invisible parents, “the chosen one,” and manic pixie dream girls. Tropes will launch our writing exercise, where each attendee will be assigned a YA trope and tasked with brainstorming how to subvert it, through character, plot, setting: the choice is yours. Expect to leave with fresh ideas for new stories, or new perspectives on your works in progress, as well as a comprehensive reading list of recommended titles where formula and tropes are subverted.

Speakers
avatar for Kim Savage

Kim Savage

Author, IN HER SKIN
Kim Savage is the author of three critically acclaimed young adult novels, After the Woods, Beautiful Broken Girls, and In Her Skin (releasing March 27, 2018), all with Farrar, Straus, Giroux/Macmillan. Her novels have been published in Spain, Brazil, and Turkey, and In Her Skin... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 11:45am - 1:00pm
Beacon Hill Room - 4th Floor

11:45am

2L: The Dark Art of Description
Limited Capacity full

"Know thyself," the Delphic oracle instructed, perhaps making memoir an inevitable and ancient narrative form, and not as modern as we sometimes think.  But does this focus on self lead to the sorry dead-end of what has been called the "me-moir?"  In this talk, including excerpts from her forthcoming book, The Art of the Wasted Day (a book about leisure and daydream), Patricia Hampl will talk about the virtues and pleasures of descriptive writing, and how dynamic it can be, enlivening to the whole enterprise of first-person narration.  Plenty of time for discussion with audience members. 

Speakers
avatar for Patricia Hampl

Patricia Hampl

Author, THE ART OF THE WASTED DAY
Patricia Hampl first won recognition for A Romantic Education, her Cold War memoir about her Czech heritage. This book and subsequent works have established her as an influential figure in the rise of autobiographical writing in the past 30 years. The Art of the Wasted Day (Vikin... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 11:45am - 1:00pm
Gloucester Room - 4th Floor

11:45am

2M: The 3-Step Formula for Building an Author Platform
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Every author's online platform is his or her biggest asset, and creating one is vitally important for your long-term success. However, there has never been more demands on an author's time than today. In this session geared towards the new author, you will learn which efforts are worth your time and which ones are a distraction. Whether you're an author or someone who advises authors (publisher, agent or publicist), this session will be relevant. You will learn through examples and case studies how to connect all the elements of online marketing (website, mailing list, blogging, social media, advertising and publicity) into a cohesive, successful and sustainable author platform.

Speakers
avatar for Fauzia Burke

Fauzia Burke

Consultant, FSB Associates
Fauzia Burke is the founder and president of FSB Associates, an online publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. She’s also the author of Online Marketing for Busy Authors (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, April 2016). Fauzia worked for W... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 11:45am - 1:00pm
White Hill Room - 4th Floor

1:00pm

Lunch Break
Friday April 6, 2018 1:00pm - 2:15pm
TBA

2:15pm

3A: A Rockstar Editor's Perspective on Revision
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When a seasoned editor looks at a manuscript, what does she see? How does she know how to best shape a story, or help find its heart? How does she know where to cut, or expand? And what moves her to acquire a particular novel, anyway?
In her more than twenty-five years at Penguin, Pamela Dorman has acquired and edited numerous #1 bestsellers, including The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards, and Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding. Her recent bestselling debut titles include Natalie Baszile's Queen Sugar, J. Ryan Stradal's Kitchens of the Great Midwest, and Gail Honeyman's Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine.
Join two of Pam's newest authors, Louise Miller and Mira T. Lee, as we discuss debut novels, revision, and what a modern-day editor's role really is when it comes to shepherding new books into today's marketplace.

Speakers
avatar for Pamela Dorman

Pamela Dorman

Editor, Pamela Dorman Books / Viking Penguin
Pamela Dorman is Vice President and Publisher of Pamela Dorman Books, Viking Penguin. In her more than twenty-five years as an editor, she has acquired and edited numerous multi-million copy #1 bestsellers, including The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, Me Before You by Joj... Read More →
avatar for Mira T. Lee

Mira T. Lee

Author, EVERYTHING HERE IS BEAUTIFUL
Mira T. Lee's debut novel, Everything Here is Beautiful, was selected as a Top 10 Debut title for 2018 by the American Booksellers Association, and named a Top Winter/2018 Pick by more than 30 news outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, O Magazine, Poets & W... Read More →
avatar for Louise Miller

Louise Miller

Author, THE LATE BLOOMERS CLUB
Louise Miller is the author of The City Baker's Guide to Country Living (Viking/Penguin 2016) and the forthcoming The Late Bloomers Club (Viking/Penguin/2018). She is a graduate of GrubStreet's Novel Incubator program, a yearlong workshop for novelists. Louise is a professional p... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 2:15pm - 3:15pm
White Hill Room - 4th Floor

2:15pm

3B: Dreams, Visions, and Hallucinations in Fiction
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As an art form, fiction's true canvas isn't the blank page—it's the individual human imagination. The inner landscape is a fiction writer's proprietary domain, and because our stories unfold primarily as refracted through our characters' minds, we're uniquely positioned to push against the outer limits of objective reality. In other words, we have the freedom to play around with space and time and perception in interesting ways—including via dreams, visions, and hallucinations. In this craft session we'll look at successful passages of hallucinatory fiction from such authors as Arundhati Roy, Cormac McCarthy, and Denis Johnson, interrogating their function in the context of the story, breaking them down to see how they work, and discussing how we might apply what we've learned to our own fiction.

Speakers
avatar for Tim Weed

Tim Weed

Author, A FIELD GUIDE TO MURDER & FLY FISHING
Tim Weed's first novel, Will Poole's Island (2014), was named one of Bank Street College of Education's Best Books of the Year. His short fiction collection, A Field Guide to Murder & Fly Fishing (2017), has been shortlisted for the International Book Awards, the New Rivers Press... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 2:15pm - 3:15pm
Tremont Room - 4th Floor

2:15pm

3C: Essentials of Submitting Your Work
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The first step to getting published is understanding how the whole process works. Publishing in literary magazines is a different ball-game than publishing a book, and successful writers ought to have a strong overview of the submission process for both. In this session, novelist Marjan Kamali and Fifth Wednesday Journal book reviews editor Angie Chatman will walk you through the similarities and differences of submitting work to literary magazines and to literary agents. We will cover submission ins and outs, pitfalls and preferences. You'll walk away with a realistic game plan for how to submit your work in both areas of the publishing business.

Speakers
avatar for Angie Chatman

Angie Chatman

Book Reviews Editor, Fifth Wednesday Journal
Angie Chatman climbed the volunteer ladder at Fifth Wednesday Journal from fiction reader to Book Reviews Editor. She writes both fiction and creative non-fiction; her essays and short stories have appeared in Blood Orange Review, Hippocampus Magazine, and elsewhere. Angie earned... Read More →
avatar for Marjan Kamali

Marjan Kamali

Author, TOGETHER TEA
Marjan Kamali is the author of the novel Together Tea (EccoBooks/HarperCollins) which was a Massachusetts Book Award Finalist, an NPR/WBUR Good Read, and a Target Emerging Author Selection. She has lived in seven countries across five continents and earned an MBA from Columbia U... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 2:15pm - 3:15pm
Beacon Hill Room - 4th Floor

2:15pm

3D: Getting Noticed, Read and Understood on Sensitive Topics
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How to take the heat and take charge when taking a stand on hot button issues, such as politics, culture, gender and race. Silence is always a strategy when choosing whether or not to weigh in with op-eds and reported commentary. That may be the temptation, especially in 2017 and beyond when there is no such thing as a non-controversial topic.

So how do you add your voice, and perhaps change the narrative, to the never-ending debate on the issues that matter, while keeping your sanity and the worst of the critics at bay. Yes, there are tips and tricks that may not get readers to agree, but may lead them to grudging respect.

Bring an idea and be prepared to explain it, defend it and get readers to care.

Speakers
avatar for Mary C. Curtis

Mary C. Curtis

Political Columnist, Roll Call
Mary C. Curtis, columnist at Roll Call, is an award-winning journalist and educator based in Charlotte, N.C. She has contributed to NBC News, NPR, The Washington Post, The Root, ESPN's The Undefeated, and talks politics on WCCB-TV in Charlotte. Curtis has worked at The New York T... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 2:15pm - 3:15pm
Newbury Room - 4th Floor

2:15pm

3E: Hybrid Publishing: How It Works and What It's Like
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Hybrid Publishing is hotter than ever, giving authors more control over their destiny. But what happens after the books are printed? Learn how Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg, author of EDEN: A Novel (She Writes Press, May '17) to hybrid publishing to assemble a team to create buzz, find traction, and achieve her dream of connecting with readers. She'll teach you how to evaluate a hybrid press, what to look for in a publicist, and what you’ll have to do on your own. Coming off a one-year journey, she'll also discuss her strategies for social media, breaking into book stores, and getting reviewed...and whether she’d do it again for Novel Number Two. 

Speakers
avatar for Jeanne Blasberg

Jeanne Blasberg

Author, EDEN: A Novel
A graduate of Smith College, Jeanne began her career in finance, making stops on Wall Street, Macy’s and eventually Harvard Business School where she wrote case studies and business articles. In order to nurture her creative impulses, Jeanne turned to memoir writing and later f... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 2:15pm - 3:15pm
Emerson Room - 4th Floor

2:15pm

3F: Imagining the Gaps in Memoir: How to Write a Story When the Story Runs Out
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Have you ever wanted to uncover the story behind your family's silences and secrets? Ever longed to fill holes in overheard rumors and cryptic tales? As creative nonfiction writers, autobiographical novelists, and gossip lovers of all kinds, what do we do when we try to tell a story but the story runs out? And what do we do when the gap becomes so large that it forces us to question our genre choices?

Two writers of personal narrative whose work uses imagined scenes and fictionalized moments to address "gaps" in history will discuss how to turn what might, at first glance, seem like a limitation into a source of possibility. We'll provide specific examples from authors like Garth Greenwell, Loung Ung, and Nobel Prize-winner Svetlana Alexievich, and we'll also provide specific tips and take-home prompts for advancing narratives while engaging daringly with the complex boundaries of genre.

Speakers
avatar for Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Author, THE FACT OF A BODY
Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich is the author of THE FACT OF A BODY: A Murder and a Memoir, named one of the best books of the year by Entertainment Weekly, Audible.com, Bustle, Book Riot, The Times of London, and The Guardian. An Indie Next Pick and a Junior Library Guild selection... Read More →
avatar for Caitlin McGill

Caitlin McGill

Nonfiction Writer
Caitlin McGill is a 2016 St. Botolph Emerging Artist Award winner and Bread Loaf Writers’ conference scholarship recipient. She was also the 2014 winner of the Rafael Torch Nonfiction Literary Award. Her essays and flash fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Blackbird, Consequence, Crab Orchard Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Vox, War, Literature, & the Arts, and several other magazines. She teaches at Emerson College and is a workshop facilitator for Writers Without Margins, a non-profit organization dedicated to expanding access to literary arts. Currently, she is working on a memoir about her family’s hidden past, intergenerational trauma, inherited survival mechanisms, immigration, race, class, addiction, and the cost of ignoring our histories. One essay from her book was named a Notable Essay in The Best American Essays 2016. For more information, follow Caitlin on Twitter @caitlindmcgill or visit... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 2:15pm - 3:15pm
Stuart Room - 4th Floor

2:15pm

3G: Query Letter 101
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Two seasoned literary agents present the dos and don’ts of query letters, including what to include, what not to include and the rules every writer should know.  They will discuss what makes a query letter stand out, and read examples of the best and worst letters they’ve received.  Time permitting, they will respond to query letters read aloud by attendees.

Speakers
avatar for Allison Hunter

Allison Hunter

Literary Agent, Janklow & Nesbit
Allison Hunter began her publishing career in 2005 working for the Los Angeles-based literary publicity firm Kim-from-L.A, and was an agent at InkWell Management and the Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency before joining Janklow & Nesbit in 2016. Allison's clients include novelists... Read More →
avatar for Eric Smith

Eric Smith

Literary Agent, P.S. Literary Agency
Eric Smith is an associate literary agent with P.S. Literary, focusing mostly on Young Adult fiction, with a bit of non-fiction and literary fiction in the mix. He loves YA books that make him cry, non-fiction that challenges him, and literary novels that are hard to define.He al... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 2:15pm - 3:15pm
Whittier Room - 4th Floor

2:15pm

3H: Keynote "Carryover" Conversation: On How to Stay a Writer
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Continue the conversation about "how to stay a writer" with keynote speaker Min Jin Lee in a smaller, more intimate setting. Bring your thoughts, ideas, and questions about developing your craft amidst financial obstacles, raising a family, and the task of learning itself. Bring books for signing too; part of this session will include a book-signing after the morning's keynote talk!

Speakers
avatar for Eson Kim

Eson Kim

Fiction & Non-Fiction Writer
Eson Kim serves as Youth Programs Manager at GrubStreet, and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. Her stories have appeared in Calyx Journal, Denver Quarterly, The Massachusetts Review, among others. She received a Writing Fellowship from the New Jersey State Co... Read More →
avatar for Min Jin Lee

Min Jin Lee

Author, PACHINKO


Friday April 6, 2018 2:15pm - 3:15pm
Franklin Room - 4th Floor

2:15pm

3I: Saying the Unsayable
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How do we get beyond merely describing a character's state of mind and instead evoke how that character thinks and feels? In this session, we will use two very short stories by Lydia Davis to explore some of the ways that we as writers can allow the reader to inhabit the consciousness of our narrators. We will look not only at what is said or noticed within the frame of the story, but at the unspoken world that is suggested by the tone, rhythm, and preoccupations of the narrator. Even the most maximalist writers will benefit from close attention to Davis's lean, supple fiction.

Speakers
avatar for Brendan Mathews

Brendan Mathews

Author, THE WORLD OF TOMORROW
Brendan Mathews is the author of The World of Tomorrow, published by Little, Brown & Co. His fiction has twice appeared in The Best American Short Stories and in Glimmer Train, Virginia Quarterly Review, Salon, Cincinnati Review, and other publications in the US and UK. He was a... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 2:15pm - 3:15pm
Cabot Room - 4th Floor

2:15pm

3J: Simultaneity (or Queering Time)
Limited Capacity seats available

Even the most dogged linear writer must sometimes have a desire to explode chronology, to escape the clock, and complicate the ways to tell a story. We’ll look to other artistic forms—music, for one—as a way into thinking about simultaneity and/or finding structures that feel authentic to how our minds move in 2018. Virginia Woolf, Alison Bechdel, E.M. Forster, David Foster Wallace, and a host of others will be making guest appearances along the way.

Speakers
avatar for Paul Lisicky

Paul Lisicky

Author, THE NARROW DOOR
Paul Lisicky is the author of five books: The Narrow Door, Unbuilt Projects, The Burning House, Famous Builder, and Lawnboy. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, BuzzFeed, Conjunctions, Fence, The New York Times, Ploughshares, Tin House, and in many other magazines and antholo... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 2:15pm - 3:15pm
Gloucester Room - 4th Floor

2:15pm

3K: When the Universal is Just Mainstream: Writing Rules That Fail Queer Authors
Limited Capacity seats available

A rarely discussed problem for queer authors, particularly when writing queer content, is some of the writing rules they have been taught are only applicable for cisgender/heterosexual authors. In this lecture, we'll discuss how some so-called "universal" writing rules don't apply for queers, including "show don't tell," "the reader's misunderstanding is the author's fault," "realistic" queer trauma, and when (or whether or not) you should make comfort edits for your cis/het readers. Bonus! If we have time, we'll also discuss whether or not you "should" out yourself as queer in your bio.

Speakers
avatar for Milo Todd

Milo Todd

Fiction Writer
Milo Todd has seven years of experience as a freelance writer, editor, and manuscript consultant. He specializes in LGBTQ content in both fiction and non-fiction, and additionally works as a sensitivity reader. His work has been shown on such sites as Everyday Feminism, Grub Writ... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 2:15pm - 3:15pm
Winthrop Room - 4th Floor

2:15pm

3L: Write in the Feels: Fictional Emotion
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For fiction writers, emotion is both essential and tricky territory. Overplay it and we risk melodrama; neglect it and our stories have little impact, low stakes, no heart. This session will look at how various authors have effectively approached "the feels" in fiction. We'll identify strategies for when to show and when to tell, how to access emotionally detached or inarticulate characters, and how to capture emotional changes over time; as well as what other literary forms/genres can teach us about evoking fictional feelings. Attendees will leave with exercises, prompts, and suggestions for further reading on this topic.

Speakers
avatar for Mia Alvar

Mia Alvar

Author, IN THE COUNTRY
Mia Alvar's collection of short stories, In the Country, won the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction, the University of Rochester's Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize, and the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award. | | Mia has been a writer in residence at the Cor... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 2:15pm - 3:15pm
Cambridge Room - 4th Floor

2:15pm

3M: Writing the Past to Speak of the Present
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Our present may be a moving target, but the debates and injustices we face today have deep roots in history. What can the lives of our ancestors teach us? What research methods are the most useful? What are the ethical concerns involved in telling the stories of others? What debts do we owe to the dead? Who are we answerable to in the present? 

In this discussion and guided writing class, we will examine the different techniques and methods used to create vivid stories set in the past. We will focus on writers who reconstruct, reexamine and, often, rewrite the past in order to speak to urgent concerns of the present. After a discussion of examples, we will segue into writing prompts for accessing the past in expansive and generative ways, with an aim toward writing a deeper understanding of our current times.

Speakers
avatar for Gabrielle Lucille Fuentes

Gabrielle Lucille Fuentes

Author, THE SLEEPING WORLD
Gabrielle Lucille Fuentes is the author of The Sleeping World (Touchstone, 2016). She has received fellowships from Yaddo, the Millay Colony, Willapa Bay AiR, and the Blue Mountain Center. Her work has appeared in One Story, Cosmonauts Avenue, Slice, Pank, and elsewhere. Her stor... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 2:15pm - 3:15pm
Charles River Room - 4th Floor

3:15pm

Break
Friday April 6, 2018 3:15pm - 3:45pm
TBA

3:45pm

4A: Essentials of Humor
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Do you enjoy reading humorous writing and want to make your own work funnier? What are the building blocks of humor? And how do we incorporate humor into our writing without making it too "jokey"? We'll look at examples from the masters in fiction and nonfiction, explore what makes them succeed, identify their techniques and learn how to incorporate these techniques into our own work. Come with a short excerpt of writing (500 words or less) that you'd like to improve. We'll do an in-class exercise then pick one or two to workshop as a group.

Speakers
avatar for Steve Macone

Steve Macone

Non-fiction Writer
Steve Macone is a former headline contributor at The Onion. His essays, humor writing, and reporting have also appeared in the American Scholar, New York Times, Atlantic, New Yorker, Boston Globe Magazine, Morning News, and Salon. His work has been featured on NPR, Longreads, an... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 3:45pm - 5:00pm
Stuart Room - 4th Floor

3:45pm

4B: Essentials of Style
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Vladimir Nabokov once remarked, “style and structure are the essence of a book. Great ideas are hogwash.”

This session will begin by posing the questions, “What is style?" and "How does the writer cultivate it?" Is style 'le mot juste,' the elegant turn of phrase, the startling epithet, the apt figure of speech? What about pauses, predicates, parallel structures, and punctuation? Is adherence to the "House style" a blessing or curse? How and when does style become manifest: through imagining, close listening, composing, or editing? What does it mean to the long form, the short? Can the writer 'improve' her style or only suffer the style she was born with? What is the role of influence-those authors we admire-and absorb, deliberately or unknowingly? If style emanates from your own being, as Katherine Anne Porter wrote, then variations are infinite.

We will examine some of the most vivid examples of prose style from the literary stars of our time, as well as the bright and wavering constellations of ages gone by; I’ll then introduce methods and exercises that writers can use to tease out their individual styles, when simple “emanations” elude us.

Speakers
avatar for Nicole Miller

Nicole Miller

Fiction and Non-fiction Writer
Nicole Miller has published essays in New Letters (Dorothy Cappon Prize, 2014; Best American Essays, Notable 2016) and Arts & Letters. Her fiction has appeared in The May Anthologies, edited by Jill Paton Walsh and Sebastian Faulks, and Abundant Grace, ed. Richard Peabody.  Aft... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 3:45pm - 5:00pm
Gloucester Room - 4th Floor

3:45pm

4C: Find the Skeleton of Your Story: Using Structure to Gain Propulsion
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Using an example created by the group in an on-the-spot exercise, we will discuss techniques for setting up plot points and playing them out, and what makes those tricks successful. Examples from well-known stories will briefly dissected and reverse-engineered in order to demonstrate these points. Attendees are expected to be vocal participants!

Speakers
avatar for Emily X.R. Pan

Emily X.R. Pan

Author, THE ASTONISHING COLOR OF AFTER
Emily X.R. Pan is the author of The Astonishing Color of After. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, but was originally born in the Midwestern United States to immigrant parents from Taiwan. She received her BS in marketing and international business from the NYU Stern Scho... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 3:45pm - 5:00pm
Cambridge Room - 4th Floor

3:45pm

4D: Geography, Climate, Interiors, & History: Creating Rich Worlds for Memoir & Essays
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One of the reasons people read memoir is to enter and experience a different world. As you write, it’s your job to create that world, making sure to include both your internal space—your emotional state when the story takes place—and the world that is the backdrop to your story, including geography, climate, interiors, and historical context. Setting is the wallpaper of your story: It should neatly fit into the larger work, enhancing the narrative themes and characters, but not be so dominant that it overwhelms the people in the room.

In this seminar we will look at the many ways we can develop the external worlds of our personal stories. We will read examples of the role of setting in successful memoir and essays and do in-class writing to help the worlds of our memoirs come to life. You will leave this seminar with new writing and a new perspective on existing work.

Speakers
avatar for Alysia Abbott

Alysia Abbott

Author, FAIRYLAND
Alysia Abbott is the author of Fairyland, A Memoir of My Father, which was a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice and an ALA Stonewall Award winner and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards. She grew up in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury, the only child of gay poet and... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 3:45pm - 5:00pm
Beacon Hill Room - 4th Floor

3:45pm

4E: How to Pitch Young Adult Novels to Agents & Publishers
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Description coming!

Speakers
avatar for Regina Brooks

Regina Brooks

Literary Agent, Serendipity Literary Agency LLC
Regina Brooks is the founder and president of Serendipity Literary Agency LLC, in New York, New York. Her agency has represented and established a diverse base of award-winning clients in adult and young adult fiction, nonfiction, and children's literature. The agencies authors h... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 3:45pm - 5:00pm
Charles River Room - 4th Floor

3:45pm

4F: How to Write Long—But Not Long-Winded—Sentences
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In our attention-span-challenged times, it takes a certain nerve to write long sentences, yet the 2017 Man-Booker Longlist includes Mohsin Hamid's Exit West, which revels in them, and Mike McCormack's Solar Bones, which consists of a single book-length sentence. How do we explain this? Sentence length can seem almost accidental, a byproduct of style or point of view. In this session, though, we'll bring them to center stage and seek to cultivate sentences that are long but not annoying. Such sentences sustain the reader's interest as though we are watching a tightrope-walking friend—every step's essential, the stakes couldn't be higher, and we are riveted (we might even gasp at the daring). By examining acrobatic writers ranging from Hamid to Elizabeth Tallent, Garth Greenwell to Arundhati Roy, we'll see how they use them to bask in the nuances of consciousness, to control time, rhythm, and perspective, and to convey the complexity of our times. And naturally, you'll walk away from this session with a new long sentence or two of your own.

Speakers
avatar for Tim Horvath

Tim Horvath

Author, UNDERSTORIES
Tim Horvath is the author of Understories (Bellevue Literary Press) and Circulation (sunnyoutside). His stories have appeared in Conjunctions, Harvard Review, Fiction, and many other journals, and he is the recipient of a Yaddo Residency. He teaches in the BFA and MFA programs in... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 3:45pm - 5:00pm
Cabot Room - 4th Floor

3:45pm

4G: Introducing Unforgettable Characters
Limited Capacity full

One of the most exciting experiences in reading fiction is meeting an intriguing new character—a figure who instantly enchants us. All too often, though, we open books to find generic, dull characters or—even worse—a slew of indistinguishable people, none of whom stand out as individuals. How can writers ensure that their characters are both distinct and fascinating, from the first moment when they arrive on the scene? This session will answer that question through a detailed look at how to shape and distinguish characters, how to present them effectively, and how to make sure that their appearances, desires, and personalities leap off the page. We will look at brief samples from published authors and also complete an exercise in developing a fully formed character. By the end of the session, you will feel greater confidence in your ability to create and introduce unforgettable figures in your fiction.

Speakers
avatar for Ursula DeYoung

Ursula DeYoung

Author, SHORECLIFF
Ursula DeYoung is a novelist and editor living Cambridge, MA. Her first novel, Shorecliff, a family drama set in 1920s Maine, was published by Little, Brown in 2013. In 2017, she founded the literary journal Embark, which features the openings of unpublished novels. She has great... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 3:45pm - 5:00pm
White Hill Room - 4th Floor

3:45pm

4H: Queerer Than Fiction: The Importance of Realistic, Integral LGBT Characters
Limited Capacity seats available

Are you wary of introducing queer characters or themes into your fiction for fear of offending, falling into clichés, or simply "doing it wrong"? If you're a children's book author, have you ever been told that your representation isn't "age-appropriate" for your readers?Although LGBT rights' political spotlight translates to a literary one, queer characters still often feel like an afterthought, if present at all--and readers are still not all finding the positive representation they're looking for. In a market working towards realistic depiction of a diverse society in fiction, queer characters are more important than ever to reach a wider audience, diversify the world of the work, and provide representation to a marginalized community.

In this session we'll talk about the strategies and pitfalls of writing LGBT story lines, in books for adults as well as children's literature. We will cover everything from "queer baiting" to modern retellings of classic stories, and look at examples of it being done well—or missing the mark. We'll discuss recent trends and current gaps in the YA and children's book markets in particular, and you'll get an inside look at how a publishing company makes decisions about representation and what editors are looking for.

Speakers
avatar for Karina van Berkum

Karina van Berkum

Poet
Before Karina van Berkum was an instructor at Grubstreet, she was a Poetry Teaching Fellow at Boston University where she was awarded the 2016 Hurley Prize in Poetry. She was also the co-organizer for Brookline Booksmith’s Breakwater Reading Series and has worked to teach young... Read More →
avatar for Lisa Rosinsky

Lisa Rosinsky

Author & Senior Editor, INEVITABLE AND ONLY / Barefoot Books
Lisa Rosinsky was selected as the 2016-2017 Associates of the Boston Public Library Writer-in-Residence. Once upon a time, she was half of a two-person traveling production of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe–which was almost as fun as her current job, Senior Editor at Bar... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 3:45pm - 5:00pm
Winthrop Room - 4th Floor

3:45pm

4I: Rebel, Rebel: Writing Rules that Can—and Sometimes Should—Be Broken
Limited Capacity filling up

Write every day. Show, don't tell. Don't use adverbs. Don't write a prologue. The best-known rules for writers often sound like they were written by a Dickensian headmaster: a series of punishments, a collection of "don'ts" designed to make writing the most deadly dull chore imaginable. Yet the breaking of these rules is common in some of the most dynamic writing by some of our greatest authors. The goal of this session will be to examine the conventional wisdom surrounding writing, and, through use of published excerpts and discussion, to help writers decide when, and how, to break the rules.

Speakers
avatar for Lisa Borders

Lisa Borders

Author, THE FIFTY-FIRST STATE
Lisa Borders' second novel, The Fifty-First State, was published by Engine Books in 2013. Her first novel, Cloud Cuckoo Land, was chosen by Pat Conroy as the winner of River City Publishing's Fred Bonnie Award, and received fiction honors in the 2003 Massachusetts Book Awards. Li... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 3:45pm - 5:00pm
Newbury Room - 4th Floor

3:45pm

4J: The Changing Face of Publishing: What All Authors Need to Know
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In this illuminating workshop, Literary Change Agent and author advocate April Eberhardt examines the state of publishing today along with the implications and opportunities for authors. She presents five different paths to publication, including a candid discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of each approach from an author’s perspective. Discover what partnership publishing is, along with hybrid authorship, and collaborative (also known as cooperative) publishing. Learn how to choose the right path for you and your work, which sometimes involves different paths for different projects, and how to develop a publishing strategy and approach that meets your goals, dreams, timetable and budget.

Speakers
avatar for April Eberhardt

April Eberhardt

Literary Agent, April Eberhardt Literary
April Eberhardt is literary change agent and author advocate passionate about helping authors be published in the most effective and satisfying way. After 25 years as a corporate strategist and consultant, April joined the literary world. She advises and assists authors worldwide... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 3:45pm - 5:00pm
Whittier Room - 4th Floor

3:45pm

4K: Who Am I Really: Reporting the Self in Writing
Limited Capacity full

You want to write about yourself and you think you have no material. Or you want to, and you think you have a great deal of material. Whether you identify with the first or second statement, you're a bit right and a bit wrong. Your memories are unreliable guides to offer anyone else on their own, without context, research, and background. When writing about the self in memoir and personal essays, it is important to construct a persona in relationship to the topic, but then you must remember to treat yourself as your own subject. This course will teach a variety of ways to do this. We will begin with the traditional methods of reporting, and then move on to the unprecedented amount of data about our history and interactions we all have now, and learn to conduct a forensic review of the self much like we might if we were a private investigator, investigating ourselves--from our internet histories and Google histories, to our emails, to our social media likes, our chat and text records, our photo streams, and much more. You will find the ways you lie to yourself and others about who you are, and study the real footprint of your life for clues as to how to write about it.

Speakers
avatar for Alexander Chee

Alexander Chee

Author, HOW TO WRITE AN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL NOVEL
Alexander Chee is the bestselling author of the novels Edinburgh and The Queen of the Night, and the essay collection, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel. He is an associate professor of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College. He is a recipient of the Whiting Award... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 3:45pm - 5:00pm
Tremont Room - 4th Floor

3:45pm

4L: World Building in Historical Fiction
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To give the reader of historical fiction a rich and immersive experience, the writer needs to build a world both utterly convincing yet surprisingly strange. In this session, Kim van Alkemade will use a few brief passages from her novels to open a conversation about the ways in which specific primary resources informed scenes, settings and diverse characters in her historical fiction. She will then outline strategies all writers can use to seek out sources and incorporate research that draws readers into the story while resisting clichéd notions of the past. Attendees will be invited to discuss the historical periods in which they are writing, and the session will conclude with a list of practical resources that can help writers ground fiction in fact while still inspiring the imagination.

Speakers
avatar for Kim van Alkemade

Kim van Alkemade

Author, BACHELOR GIRL
Kim van Alkemade is the author of two historical fiction novels, Orphan #8 (William Morrow 2015) and Bachelor Girl (Touchstone 2018). Her creative non-fiction essays have appeared in literary journals including Alaska Quarterly Review, CutBank, and So To Speak. Born in New York... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 3:45pm - 5:00pm
Franklin Room - 4th Floor

3:45pm

4M: Writing Great Artist Statements for Fellowships, Residencies, MFA programs, & More
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Whether you want to enhance your craft or win more writerly time and support, chances are that someday you'll face a competitive application process. At such times, a well-written artist statement can go a long way to make you stand out from the pack. In this session, we'll discuss the key components that every artist statement should include, as well as other ways to make your application as strong as can be.

Speakers
avatar for Jonathan Escoffery

Jonathan Escoffery

Fiction Writer
Jonathan Escoffery is the recipient of a 2017 Somerville Arts Council Artist Fellowship, the 2017 Ivan Gold Fellowship from The Writers' Room of Boston, a 2017 Kimbilio Fiction Fellowship, and a 2017-2018 Wellspring House Fellowship. His fiction publications include Passages Nort... Read More →
avatar for Shubha Sunder

Shubha Sunder

Fiction Writer
Shubha Sunder's fiction has appeared in numerous journals, among them Crazyhorse, where it won the 2015 Crazyhorse Fiction Prize; Narrative Magazine, where it was a winner of "30 Below," Michigan Quarterly Review, and The Bangalore Review. Two of her stories were named "Distingui... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 3:45pm - 5:00pm
St. James Room - 4th Floor

5:00pm

Lit Lounge
Friday April 6, 2018 5:00pm - 6:00pm
TBA

5:30pm

Shop Talk Happy Hour
Friday April 6, 2018 5:30pm - 6:45pm
TBA

6:45pm

Dinner Break
Friday April 6, 2018 6:45pm - 7:45pm
TBA

7:00pm

Spotlight: Race and Power in Boston
Friday, April 6th

In a highly publicized seven-part series published in late 2017, the Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team dug into one of the city’s most pervasive and troubling issues: the marginalization of the black community. The series exposed the insidious impact of racism on all levels of city life from housing to healthcare to education.    In their live event, "Spotlight: Race and Power in Boston," the Boston Literary District and GrubStreet invite the story’s writers to the stage where they will share their reporting, what didn’t make it into print, and engage with the audience on these pressing issues that strike at the core of the city’s identity.

This event takes place at the Boston Park Plaza in the Arlington Room (Mezzanine Level). Free and open to the public. No pre-registration necessary, though seating is limited.

Moderators
avatar for Latoyia Edwards

Latoyia Edwards

Morning Anchor & Host of THIS IS NEW ENGLAND, NBC10 Boston
Latoyia Edwards is an Emmy Award-winning anchor on NBC 10 Boston and necn. She joined the NBC Boston and necn family as a morning reporter in 2005, arriving from WWLP-22 in Springfield, Massachusetts, where she had been a weekday anchor. A native of Boston's Dorchester neighbor... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Andrew Ryan

Andrew Ryan

Reporter, Boston Globe Spotlight Team
Andrew Ryan joined The Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team in 2017. His previous work for the newspaper included collaborating with a team of reporters and editors in 2012 on a five-part series about the Bowdoin-Geneva neighborhood of Boston. He was part of the metro staff that won t... Read More →
avatar for Adrian Walker

Adrian Walker

Columnist, Boston Globe
Adrian Walker is a Boston Globe columnist, focusing on politics and social issues. He began at the paper in 1989 as a general becoming a columnist in 1998. A native of Miami, he attended Florida International University and began his career at the Miami News. Walker was a general... Read More →
avatar for Patricia Wen

Patricia Wen

Editor, Boston Globe Spotlight Team
Patricia Wen is the editor of the Boston Globe Spotlight Team. She took over this six-member investigative unit after several decades as a reporter at the Globe, with a special emphasis on social service, legal and medical issues. Her work focused largely on investigative and lon... Read More →


Friday April 6, 2018 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Arlington Room - Park Plaza Hotel, Mezzanine Level
 
Saturday, April 7
 

7:30am

9:00am

Mid-Muse Keynote: "Appropriation: Uh-oh, No-no, or #Appropro?"
Appropriation can feel like the "third rail" of our current cultural discourse. In this talk we'll try to offer some personal experiences and reflections on the topic in the hope of furthering and complicating our conversations about this important issue.

Moderators
avatar for Celeste Ng

Celeste Ng

Author, LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE
Celeste Ng is the author of the New York Times bestselling novels Little Fires Everywhere and Everything I Never Told You. The recipient of a Pushcart Prize, the Massachusetts Book Award, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, she earned an MFA from the University of Michigan (now the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan) and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. To learn more about her and her work, visit... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Peter Ho Davies

Peter Ho Davies

Author, THE FORTUNES
Peter Ho Davies is the author of four books. His most recent novel, The Fortunes, was a New York Times Notable Book, winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Award and the Chautauqua Prize, and a finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. His first novel, The Welsh Girl, was long-listed f... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 9:00am - 10:15am
Grand Ballroom - Mezzanine

10:30am

5A: 7 Key Questions to Answer to Successfully Publish Your Nonfiction Book
Limited Capacity filling up

It's a truism by now that it's harder than ever to get books published. But if you're writing narrative nonfiction, self-help, or memoir, do you really have to be Bruce Springsteen or the Dalai Lama to beat the odds? No—truth is, agents and editors are eager for great nonfiction stories because they sell. In this session, we'll address seven key questions that will improve your likelihood of finding success. In so doing, we'll look at what understanding your readers (and how to reach them) really entails. We'll see why it's important to have one main conflict or theme, and what that means in terms of developing an entire book. We'll ask ourselves: "So what?," and discover what tricks to employ to make your story more compelling. There will be have plenty of time for Q&A and some on-the-spot exercises that will help you avoid common pitfalls.

*Please note that due to a scheduling constriction, this presenter will have to leave 15 minutes early. You will have the opportunity to complete exercises during this time.

Speakers
avatar for Katrin Schumann

Katrin Schumann

Author, THE SECRET POWER OF MIDDLE CHILDREN
Katrin Schumann is the co-author of The Secret Power of Middle Children (Hudson Street, 2011), Mothers Need Time-Outs, Too (McGraw-Hill, 2008), and has written and edited numerous other nonfiction titles, both commercially and independently. Her debut novel, The Forgotten Hours, is forthcoming from Lake Union, January 2019. Katrin has been featured multiple times on TODAY, Talk of the Nation, and in The London Times, as well as other national and international media outlets. For the past ten years she has been teaching writing, most recently at GrubStreet, and in the MA prison system through PEN New England. Before going freelance, she worked at NPR, where she won the Kogan Media Award. Katrin has been granted multiple fiction residencies. She has a regular column on GrubWrites and can be found... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 10:30am - 11:45am
Beacon Hill Room - 4th Floor

10:30am

5B: The Motivated Writer: Using Athletes' Techniques to Keep Yourself Going: Section A
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If you're the rare writer who hasn't ever wrestled with motivation, confidence, and time-management skills, then stop reading right now. But if you've had trouble sitting down at the desk, or staying there, or concentrating on your own words, or if you've been struck by a bad case of imposter syndrome, then this session is for you. You'll learn how to push yourself into more productive and challenging work, through motivation-boosting techniques borrowed from sports. No matter what your experience with exercise, you'll learn how to use an athlete's tools like interval training, periodization, and the concept of training zones to help you embark on and complete your writing project. You'll leave the session with a plan for how to accomplish your short-term and long-term goals.

Speakers
avatar for Henriette Lazaridis

Henriette Lazaridis

Author, THE CLOVER HOUSE
Henriette Lazaridis' debut novel The Clover House was published by Ballantine Books in 2013 and was a Boston Globe bestseller and a Target Emerging Authors pick. Her work has appeared in publications including ELLE, Narrative Magazine, Salamander, New England Review, The Millions... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 10:30am - 11:45am
Charles River Room - 4th Floor

10:30am

5C: Conjuring Mystery in Fiction
Limited Capacity full

Fiction writers talk a lot—for good reason, and to good end—about character, point of view, dialogue, scene, and summary, but in my experience, we don’t talk enough about mystery, that elusive yet essential element of fiction. It’s not easy to talk about something that, even as it encourages us to seek it, resists explanation. But if stories are one of the ways we make sense of the world, they are also how we experience whatever doesn’t make sense, whatever cannot be fully understood. They are how we stand in the presence of mystery. Flannery O’Connor describes that “extra ingredient,” which she suggested is created when “a writer puts us in the middle of some human action as it is outlined and illuminated by mystery.” So where is this ghostly electricity located, and how do you conjure it? How do we create inclusive, compelling mystery and avoid the kind that leaves a reader confounded to the point of throwing her out of the dream of the story? This will be part lecture, part discussion, and part writing. We'll take a close look at examples of the ways writers make room for mystery on the page, and you are welcome to bring an excerpt of something in progress.

Speakers
avatar for Maud Casey

Maud Casey

Author, THE ART OF MYSTERY
Maud Casey is the author of three novels, most recently The Man Who Walked Away; and a short story collection, Drastic. Her book of non-fiction, The Art of Mystery: The Search for Questions, was published by Graywolf Press in January 2018. Her stories and essays have appeared in... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 10:30am - 11:45am
Whittier Room - 4th Floor

10:30am

5D: Don't Get Stuck in the Slush! 10 Pitfalls to Avoid When Submitting to Literary Magazines
Limited Capacity full

Using the death or abuse of an animal as an objective correlative? Maybe those ellipses in your dialogue should be em-dashes? Describing a location or a moment using an adjective-adjective-noun construction (e.g. the big, beautiful lake)? Some of our writerly ticks and tendencies are so ubiquitous that an editor may pass over a story or essay simply for the fact that they've seen the same missteps time and again. In this session, we'll examine some of the most common contemporary writerly cliches and discuss strategies for editing them out of work prior to submitting them to journals and publishers. 

Speakers
avatar for Nate Brown

Nate Brown

Literary Magazine Editor, American Short Fiction
Nate Brown is a Baltimore-based fiction writer and editor whose stories and essays have appeared in the Iowa Review, Mississippi Review, Five Chapters, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Publisher's Weekly, Lithub, and Barrelhouse. He has received scholarships and fellowships from... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 10:30am - 11:45am
Franklin Room - 4th Floor

10:30am

5E: Essentials of Dialogue
Limited Capacity full

Dialogue is the human voice on the page. What purpose does dialogue have in prose? We will examine invented dialogue for fiction, interviews and quotes for nonfiction, and remembered dialogue for memoir writing. In this one hour session, learn tips and tools for writing effective dialogue in fiction and nonfiction.

Speakers
avatar for Grace Talusan

Grace Talusan

Author, THE BODY PAPERS
Grace Talusan is a writer and writing teacher. As a child, she immigrated to the United States from the Philippines with her parents. She grew up in New England with a strong Boston accent and enjoyed an all-American childhood. She has published essays, longform journalism, fiction, and book reviews in Brevity, Creative Nonfiction, Boston Magazine, The Boston Globe, The Rumpus, and many others. She has degrees in English from Tufts University and the University of California, Irvine. Her writing has been supported by the Fulbright, Hedgbrook, Ragdale, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and others. She teaches writing at Tufts University and... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 10:30am - 11:45am
Newbury Room - 4th Floor

10:30am

5F: Keynote "Carryover" Conversation on Cultural Appropriation
Limited Capacity full

Continue the conversation about cultural appropriation with keynote speaker Peter Ho Davies and author Celeste Ng in a smaller, more intimate setting. Bring your thoughts, ideas, and questions, and a curious and open mind. Bring books for signing too; part of this session will include a book-signing after the morning's keynote talk!

Speakers
avatar for Peter Ho Davies

Peter Ho Davies

Author, THE FORTUNES
Peter Ho Davies is the author of four books. His most recent novel, The Fortunes, was a New York Times Notable Book, winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Award and the Chautauqua Prize, and a finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. His first novel, The Welsh Girl, was long-listed f... Read More →
avatar for Celeste Ng

Celeste Ng

Author, LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE
Celeste Ng is the author of the New York Times bestselling novels Little Fires Everywhere and Everything I Never Told You. The recipient of a Pushcart Prize, the Massachusetts Book Award, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, she earned an MFA from the University of Michigan (now the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan) and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. To learn more about her and her work, visit... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 10:30am - 11:45am
Cabot Room - 4th Floor

10:30am

5G: Multilingual Writing: Code Switching and Language Games
Limited Capacity seats available

Writing with an awareness of multiple languages allows writers to use language in powerful ways. Craft issues around dialogue, orality, hybridity, and specific cultural experiences often involve a multilingual consciousness. For example, sometimes we need to stretch English so as to recognize or embody the languages in which we or our characters live, think and speak. During this session we’ll look at work by writers who may include Monica de la Torre, Grace Paley, Junot Díaz, and Patrick Chamoiseau; and we’ll talk about code switching, experiment with separating form from meaning, and play with translation. Expect to walk away with a richer understanding of how to deliberately manipulate language(s) to develop voice, dialogue, texture and meaning in your prose.

Speakers
avatar for Denise Delgado

Denise Delgado

Fiction & Non-fiction Writer
Denise’s fiction and critical essays have appeared in Inch; Dossier; Hinchas de Poesía; the anthology Florida Flash; edited by Lynne Barrett; Gean Moreno & Ernesto Oroza's Tabloid Project; Jai-Alai Magazine; the artist’s monograph Frances Trombly: Paintings; Fiction Writers... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 10:30am - 11:45am
St. James Room - 4th Floor

10:30am

5H: Problem Solving for Novels-in-Progress
Limited Capacity full

Do you have a shelved novel gathering dust? Are you stuck writing your current book? Do your characters sound flat or are your plot-lines beginning to unravel? This workshop will teach you new and practical tips to expand and enhance your existing novel ideas. Come prepared for exercises, periods of writing, and interspersed discussion to open your imagination. You'll learn how to rely upon your own knowledge and intuition to solve your book's problems. This session is specifically geared for writers with novels-in-progress.

Speakers
avatar for Crystal King

Crystal King

Author, FEAST OF SORROW
Crystal King is the author of Feast of Sorrow, about the ancient Roman gourmand, Apicius. A culinary enthusiast and marketing expert, her writing is fueled by a love of history and a passion for the food, language, and culture of Italy. She has taught classes in writing, creativi... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 10:30am - 11:45am
Cambridge Room - 4th Floor

10:30am

5I: Query Clinic: Live Feedback on Query Letters
Limited Capacity filling up

Important: Please read this description carefully before signing up, and bring all necessary materials to the session. 

Most agencies receive at least a hundred query letters each week, yet respond positively to a very select few. Do you know the secrets to writing a winning query? Do you want to know the most common reasons for rejection? In this session, agents Sorche Fairbank and Ayesha Pande will give direct feedback on audience query letters and use them as examples to discuss both effective and ineffective strategies for getting an agent or editor interested in your work. The goal will be to make your query letters as powerful as possible. If you want your query letter considered, please bring a ONE-PAGE hard copy to the session. Query letters will be chosen at random by a volunteer and put on an overhead projector. After your query letter is read by the agents and the audience, the agents will discuss it, troubleshoot, and offer advice that is both specific to your project and general enough for the rest of the audience to benefit. Given the volume of submissions, we cannot guarantee that your query letter will be read. The point is not to get through as many queries as possible, but to thoughtfully evaluate your ideas and offer concrete suggestions from which all will benefit.

Speakers
avatar for Sorche Fairbank

Sorche Fairbank

Literary Agent, Fairbank Literary Representation
A small, selective agency and member of AAR, the Author's Guild, the Agents Round Table, PEN, and Grub Street's Literary Advisory Council, Fairbank Literary Representation is happily in its fifteenth year. Clients range from first-time authors to international best-sellers, prize... Read More →
avatar for Steve Macone

Steve Macone

Non-fiction Writer
Steve Macone is a former headline contributor at The Onion. His essays, humor writing, and reporting have also appeared in the American Scholar, New York Times, Atlantic, New Yorker, Boston Globe Magazine, Morning News, and Salon. His work has been featured on NPR, Longreads, an... Read More →
avatar for Ayesha Pande

Ayesha Pande

Literary Agent, Pande Literary
Ayesha Pande has worked in the publishing industry for twenty-five years. Before launching her boutique agency, Ayesha held editorial positions at Farrar Straus & Giroux, HarperCollins, and Crown Publishers. She is a member of AAR (Association of Author's Representatives), PEN, t... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 10:30am - 11:45am
White Hill Room - 4th Floor

10:30am

5J: The Fine Art of Investigation
Limited Capacity full

We all know good writing depends on rich sensory details to bring a story alive. Those details may be easy enough to come by when writing fiction, when you can just "make them up," but how can you find them when writing non-fiction and memoir, where you need details that are specific enough to make a story pop, but that also must be accurate and true? In this session, investigative reporter Michael Blanding shares sources and techniques on how to uncover facts from public records, online databases, interviews, and even weather archives, and work them into narratives to craft richly detailed scenes. In addition, he will discuss how to use investigative techniques in memoir, turning the lens on oneself to corroborate memories and offer new avenues for self-exploration. The session will include a brainstorming exercise and a Q&A to address specific investigative challenges.

Speakers
avatar for Michael Blanding

Michael Blanding

Author/Journalist, THE MAP THIEF
Michael Blanding is a Boston-based investigative journalist whose work has appeared in WIRED, Slate, The Nation, The Boston Globe Magazine, and Boston Magazine. His latest book, The Map Thief: The Gripping Story of an Esteemed Rare-Map Dealer Who Made Millions Stealing Priceless... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 10:30am - 11:45am
Tremont Room - 4th Floor

10:30am

5K: Working with a Publicist: Understanding the Relationship and Getting the Most Out of It
Limited Capacity full

With an infinite number of moving pieces, the often make-or-break process of publicizing a book can be daunting for authors. This can create confusion, missteps and missed opportunities when partnering with the pros who will help, whether they're your publisher's in-house team, an independent publicist, or both.

In this discussion with both an in-house and an independent publicist, you'll learn what opportunities for visibility are out there, which ones really move the needle, and what that implies about how you should focus your time, energy and conversations with your publicist. You'll also hear what steps your publicist(s) should be taking, what your expectations should be and what you can do to help make the working relationship as productive as possible. It may not be what you think.

Speakers
avatar for Sharon Bially

Sharon Bially

Founder, BookSavvy Public Relations
Sharon Bially is founder and president of the BookSavvy Public Relations, named a "Best Firm for Book Launches, Publicity and Authors" by Everything PR. A lapsed novelist, she's the author of Veronica's Nap (SixOneSeven Books, 2011).In an earlier life, Sharon was an economic poli... Read More →
avatar for Taryn Roeder

Taryn Roeder

Publicist, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Taryn Roeder is the Associate Director of Publicity at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. She manages Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's Boston-based publicity team and works on the publicity campaigns for dozens of books a year. Her favorite part of the process is figuring out how to translate... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 10:30am - 11:45am
Stuart Room - 4th Floor

10:30am

5L: Writing Like a Parent, Parenting Like a Writer
Limited Capacity seats available

"Taking care of ourselves, we give ourselves the energy and clarity to take care of our children." ~Julia Cameron
It can be hard to balance book babies with *actual* babies. How do creatives find the time and mental energy to continue artistic pursuits when parenting demands so much of both? How do we hold space in our lives for these dual identities of "writer" and "parent"? One way is to use tools from each identity to inform the other. We will explore how other writers and artists have dealt with this issue and talk about our own challenges as parenting writers/writing parents. Through writing exercises and discussion, we'll brainstorm fresh approaches to time management, staying inspired, re-aligning expectations, and being artistic role models for our kids.

Speakers
avatar for Allison Hoch

Allison Hoch

Fiction Writer & Marketing Coach
Allison Pottern Hoch is a writer and event coach with over eight years of experience in marketing, publicity, sales, and event planning. She spent four years promoting academic titles at The MIT Press before she went to work for Wellesley Books as a bookseller and event coordinator. She organized, hosted, and promoted over 150 events during her tenure, ranging in size from intimate workshops and lunches to multi-media events with over 700 attendees. She worked with veteran authors, celebrities, and debut authors alike. She has a B.A. in Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon University where she coordinated the Adamson Visiting Writers series. Allison is currently working on her first novel, drinking many cups of tea, and chasing after her two young children. You can visit her website for more information on her workshops and coaching services at... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 10:30am - 11:45am
Winthrop Room - 4th Floor

10:30am

5M: Stick Figure Structure: A Quick & Easy Way to Finding Your Missing Plot Points
Limited Capacity full

The number one place where writers need help is structure. Over the years, working as the editor of ONE STORY and a fiction teacher, Hannah Tinti has developed a simple system that explains each step and how to build a solid structure so that the story won't collapse. This session will begin with a fun and engaging lecture (with pictures! and stories!) and end with each student creating their own 5 sentence outline.

Speakers
avatar for Hannah Tinti

Hannah Tinti

Author, THE TWELVE LIVES OF SAMUEL HAWLEY
Hannah Tinti is the author of the bestselling novel The Good Thief, which won The Center for Fiction’s first novel prize, and the story collection Animal Crackers, a runner-up for the PEN/Hemingway Award. Her new novel, The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley, is National bestseller and has been optioned for television. She teaches creative writing at New York University’s MFA program and co-founded... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 10:30am - 11:45am
Gloucester Room - 4th Floor

11:45am

Lunch Break
Saturday April 7, 2018 11:45am - 12:45pm
TBA

12:45pm

6A: "But You're So Inspirational!" Writing Authentically About Disability
Limited Capacity seats available

From Very Special Episode Syndrome to magical disability, inspiration porn (inspoporn for short), and inevitable cures and disappearances, ableist disability tropes abound in poetry, fiction, and screenplay alike. In this session, we will discuss common ableist tropes and metaphors across multiple types of disabilities (mental and physical, hidden and apparent, born and acquired), as well as alternatives to those ableist tropes and turns of phrase. We sick, mad, disabled, and neurodivergent people can be bitter, resentful, happy, sexual, radical, passionate, angry as hell, and complicated human beings in real life. Yet we rarely find authentic representations of our own messy, multi-faceted selves (especially of disabled people at multiple margins) in literature. Join a disabled fiction writer and community organizer in learning how—and why—to undo ableism in the writing world, while supporting disabled writers in telling our own stories.

Speakers
avatar for Lydia X. Z. Brown

Lydia X. Z. Brown

Literary Magazine Editor, All the Weight of Our Dreams
Lydia X. Z. Brown is an advocate, organizer, and writer whose work has focused on violence against disabled people in schools, institutions, prisons, and by police. They have especially worked to support disabled people at many margins, including people of color with disabilities... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 12:45pm - 2:15pm
Winthrop Room - 4th Floor

12:45pm

6B: Agents and Editors of Color Roundtable
Limited Capacity filling up

Join a lively and vital discussion among prominent authors, literary agents, and editors of color as we share experiences of issues we've uniquely encountered in our projects and our careers. Get advice on what you might expect in your own career and how to navigate it. The talk will build on ideas discussed in last year's vibrant Writers of Color Roundtable, but all attendees are welcome!

Moderators
avatar for Jennifer De Leon

Jennifer De Leon

Author, WISE LATINAS
Jennifer De Leon is the author of the YA novel, Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From, forthcoming from Atheneum/Simon & Schuster (Caitlyn Dlouhy Books), and the editor of Wise Latinas: Writers on Higher Education (University of Nebraska Press, 2014). In 2017 De Leon was selected as a... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Patricia Engel

Patricia Engel

Author, THE VEINS OF THE OCEAN
Patricia Engel is the author of Vida, which was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Fiction Award and the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award,  winner of Colombia’s national prize in letters, the Premio Biblioteca de Narrativa Colombiana, and named a New York Times... Read More →
avatar for Christine Pride

Christine Pride

Editor, Simon & Schuster
Christine Pride joined Simon & Schuster in 2016. She spent more than a decade as an editor at various corporate imprints including Doubleday, Broadway, Crown and Hyperion, and then, most recently, struck out on her own for a wonderful three year stint as a freelance editor and gh... Read More →
avatar for Asata Radcliffe

Asata Radcliffe

Editorial Director, 2040 Review
Asata Radcliffe is a writer and independent filmmaker. She is the founder and Editor for the 2040 Review. She writes fiction, speculative & science fiction, essays, and is a reviewer for Kirkus Reviews. Asata has writing that has appeared or is forthcoming in anthologies and li... Read More →
avatar for Eric Smith

Eric Smith

Literary Agent, P.S. Literary Agency
Eric Smith is an associate literary agent with P.S. Literary, focusing mostly on Young Adult fiction, with a bit of non-fiction and literary fiction in the mix. He loves YA books that make him cry, non-fiction that challenges him, and literary novels that are hard to define.He al... Read More →
avatar for Jennifer Chen Tran

Jennifer Chen Tran

Literary Agent, Bradford Literary
Jennifer Chen Tran has been an agent at Bradford Literary since September 2017. She represents both fiction and non-fiction. Originally from New York, Jennifer is a lifelong reader and experienced member of the publishing industry. Prior to joining Bradford Literary, she was an A... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 12:45pm - 2:15pm
Stuart Room - 4th Floor

12:45pm

6C: Consider the Sentence: A Love Story
Limited Capacity filling up

As writers we are accustomed to making sentences, trying to forge a language shapely enough to express that which is often resistant to both shapeliness and expression, if not language itself. Generally it turns out to be harder than it looks. No doubt much of what we know about the sentence we don’t even quite realize we know: like ex-lovers, we tend to be made more aware of its qualities by their absence than their presence.

So it's bracing to consider exactly what a sentence does, and what it requires of us, and what is the difference between a good one and a bad one and a great one, and how cosmically unfair it is that even on those world historic occasions when we somehow manage to come up with a really good sentence, we’re not allowed to repeat it. We're not allowed to repeat it. And still we have to go on making more. So there may be some benefit to looking at the process and the product of all this sentence-making together, and seeing what useful conclusions we might draw from that. Who knows, we may even write some of our own.

Speakers
avatar for Robert Cohen

Robert Cohen

Author, AMATEUR BARBARIANS
Robert Cohen's books include the novels Amateur Barbarians, Inspired Sleep, The Here and Now, and The Organ Builder, as well as a collection of stories, The Varieties of Romantic Experience, and a recent anthology, The Writer's Reader. His awards include a Whiting Writers Award... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 12:45pm - 2:15pm
Charles River Room - 4th Floor

12:45pm

6D: First Page Clinic: Making the Most of It
Limited Capacity full

Important: Please read this description carefully before signing up, and bring all necessary materials to the session if you wish to have your work read aloud.

In this session, four seasoned authors -- who, among them, have published over twenty-five books of fiction and non-fiction -- will offer on-the-spot concrete advice on the first page of your novel, short story, memoir, or personal essay. First pages will be chosen randomly and read aloud by a volunteer. 

Over the course of the hour, each author will also read an published first page (possibly one of his/her own) and discuss what makes it work, and/or the decisions they made to get it to its final form. 

Please bring FIVE COPIES of THE FIRST 250 WORDS of your manuscript double-spaced, to the session, TITLED, with its GENRE marked clearly at the top. STAPLE the copies together into a packet. You will leave the packet in a box at the front of the room, and it will be chosen randomly by the reader. (Unfortunately, given the volume of submissions, we can not guarantee that yours will be read aloud).

Speakers
avatar for Michael Borum

Michael Borum

Social Media Consultant, OXFAM
Michael Borum has been working in digital media since 1994, holding in leadership positions at agencies and non-profits in technical, marketing, and creative roles. In addition to his extensive corporate experience, he established his own digital marketing agency, etherweave, in... Read More →
avatar for Elinor Lipman

Elinor Lipman

Author, THE VIEW FROM PENTHOUSE B
Elinor Lipman is the author of 13 books of fiction and nonfiction, including The Inn at Lake Devine, Isabel's Bed, The Family Man, and most recently The View From Penthouse B and I Can't Complain: (All Too) Personal Essays. Her rhyming tweets were collected and published by... Read More →
avatar for Stephen McCauley

Stephen McCauley

Author, MY EX-LIFE
Stephen McCauley is a Cambridge-based award-winning author of four novels and numerous short stories, articles and essays.
avatar for Mameve Medwed

Mameve Medwed

Author, OF MEN AND THEIR MOTHERS
Mameve Medwed--Bangor, Maine's other writer--is the author of five novels, Mail, Host Family, The End of an Error, How Elizabeth Barrett Browning Saved My Life, Of Mn and Their Mothers. Her short stories, essays, book reviews have appeared in, among others, the New York Times, Bo... Read More →
avatar for Sebastian Stuart

Sebastian Stuart

Author, THE MENTOR
Sebastian Stuart's novels include: The Mentor, a Book of the Month Club selection; The Hour Between, winner of the Ferro-Grumley Award and an NPR Season's Reading selection; and To the Manor Dead. He has co-written a national bestseller published in 8 languages, 24-Karat Kids; an... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 12:45pm - 2:15pm
White Hill Room - 4th Floor

12:45pm

6E: How to Get *Really* Personal in Your Personal Essay
Limited Capacity filling up

Personal essays are, by their nature, about the personal, about you. But often, in personal narrative, despite one's best intentions, a narrator's voice can feel generic, superficial, or at an emotional remove; or, even worse, preachy, whiny or sentimental. In this session, we'll discover how to do the opposite: how to create a voice and technique that feels truly personal, one that is individualistic, honest, vulnerable, with a clear three-dimensional sense of the "I" character (you), and one that delves deeply into your deeply personal stories. This is what, in "The Situation and the Story," Vivian Gornick calls the presence of a "mind puzzling its way out of its own shadows—moving from unearned certainty to thoughtful reconsideration to clarified self-knowledge." Our method will read work by exemplary essayists, ranging from Jaquira Díaz, Cheryl Strayed, Lee Martin, and Brian Doyle, and then to try writing prompts that will force us to be daring, brutally candid, and create an intimate bond with our readers. You'll leave having written a few passages and stretched your voice.

Speakers
avatar for Ethan Gilsdorf

Ethan Gilsdorf

Author, FANTASY FREAKS AND GAMING GEEKS
A GrubStreet instructor since 2005, Ethan Gilsdorf is a journalist, memoirist, essayist, critic, poet, teacher, performer and nerd. He is the author of the travel memoir investigation Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, a... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 12:45pm - 2:15pm
St. James Room - 4th Floor

12:45pm

6F: Lessons from the Novel Incubator
Limited Capacity filling up

Now in its seventh year with nine book contracts under its belt (and counting), the GrubStreet Novel Incubator program has helped dozens of students turn their drafts into true novels. Join the instructor in an introduction to the most important revision tactics from the early explorations of your manuscript to its final stages. From the ways in which character creates structure, through the art of establishing mystery, tension, setting, and scene, this seminar offers a practical overview of what your novel needs in order to fulfill your hopes for it.

Speakers
avatar for Michelle Hoover

Michelle Hoover

Author, BOTTOMLAND
Michelle Hoover is the Fannie Hurst Writer-in-Residence at Brandeis University and teaches at GrubStreet, where she leads the Novel Incubator program. She is a 2014 NEA Fellow and has been a Writer-in-Residence at Bucknell University, a MacDowell Fellow, and a winner of the PEN/N... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 12:45pm - 2:15pm
Cambridge Room - 4th Floor

12:45pm

6G: Matching Your Work to Literary Magazines: What Do They *Really* Want?
Limited Capacity filling up

Editors say that before submitting to their literary magazine, you should read a recent issue. But why? How exactly will that help?

In this session, we'll do a close reading of four prominent literary magazines to unearth their unwritten submission guidelines-- meaning what they really publish in terms of style and subjects. From the editors of those magazines, we'll share publishing statistics, break-in genres, as well as personal pet peeves and guilty pleasures. Bring a page of your writing, and as a group, we can decide which of the magazines may be the best fit.

Speakers
avatar for Jenn Scheck-Kahn

Jenn Scheck-Kahn

Founder, Journal of the Month
Jenn Scheck-Kahn is a prose writer, teacher, and founder of Journal of the Month, a service that delivers a different print literary magazine on a regular basis. Her prose has placed in contests hosted by the Atlantic Monthly and Glimmer Train, and appeared in a number of literar... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 12:45pm - 2:15pm
Franklin Room - 4th Floor

12:45pm

6H: Productive Revision, Or How to Stop Perfecting Paragraphs and Strengthen Your Story: Section B
Limited Capacity seats available

What leads writers of fiction and narrative nonfiction, long or short, to get bogged down in the revision process? Sometimes the problem is polishing too soon or, exasperated and wanting to be done, making desperate "fixes." Often what's needed are ways to back off and re-see what's there in order to develop and structure the material. This workshop will offer strategies for finding opportunities in a messy draft, identifying habits that can limit you, tackling what you're afraid of, and using your writing time well. We'll discuss methods to get some distance in order to evaluate drafts, including examples of ways to look at scenic structure, time and pace, presentation of characters, and measurable change, to help you find your way on the path to a complete and satisfying story.

Speakers
avatar for Lynne Barrett

Lynne Barrett

Author, MAGPIES
Lynne Barrett's most recent story collection is Magpies (Gold Medal, Florida Book Awards), and her handbook What Editors Want guides writers through the submissions process. Her recent fiction and nonfiction can be found in Necessary Fiction, Mystery Tribune, The Miami Rail, The... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 12:45pm - 2:15pm
Newbury Room - 4th Floor

12:45pm

6H: Productive Revision, Or How to Stop Perfecting Paragraphs and Strengthen Your Story: Section B
Limited Capacity full

What leads writers of fiction and narrative nonfiction, long or short, to get bogged down in the revision process? Sometimes the problem is polishing too soon or, exasperated and wanting to be done, making desperate "fixes." Often what's needed are ways to back off and re-see what's there in order to develop and structure the material. This workshop will offer strategies for finding opportunities in a messy draft, identifying habits that can limit you, tackling what you're afraid of, and using your writing time well. We'll discuss methods to get some distance in order to evaluate drafts, including examples of ways to look at scenic structure, time and pace, presentation of characters, and measurable change, to help you find your way on the path to a complete and satisfying story.

Speakers
avatar for Lynne Barrett

Lynne Barrett

Author, MAGPIES
Lynne Barrett's most recent story collection is Magpies (Gold Medal, Florida Book Awards), and her handbook What Editors Want guides writers through the submissions process. Her recent fiction and nonfiction can be found in Necessary Fiction, Mystery Tribune, The Miami Rail, The... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 12:45pm - 2:15pm
Newbury Room - 4th Floor

12:45pm

6I: Reppin': Minority Writers on Responsibility, Hypocrisy & the Voices in Our Heads
Limited Capacity seats available

How do writers of color reconcile their art and identity? How do we keep from losing our own voices beneath the burden of "representing" our cultures? How do we craft and hone narratives that accentuate the uniqueness of our experiences WITHOUT bowing to appropriation or stereotypes? How do we silence critics, old and new, familiar and foreign, in order to persist in our art? How do we become commercially viable, without succumbing to the fallacies of "selling out?" How do we keep the old neighborhood, its conflicting stories, hypocrisies and anxieties, from sabotaging our flow? Attendees will be challenged to confront, reflect, discuss and then write about these complexities unique to writers of color. Thoughtful works (by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Roxanne Gay, Junot Díaz and July Westhale), along with ground-rules for "open sharing," will help facilitate an engaging format—part provocative discussion, part reflective writing workshop and share around.

Speakers
avatar for Joe Costal

Joe Costal

Fiction Writer & Poet, CHALLENGES FOR THE DELUSIONAL PART 2
Joe Costal fell in love with all things #Muse as one of the 2017 GrubStreet Visiting Writer scholarship winners. He is an Assistant Editor at Barrelhouse. His writing has appeared in dozens of magazines and journals, most recently in The Maine Review, Ponder Review, and Pif Magaz... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 12:45pm - 2:15pm
Emerson Room - 4th Floor

12:45pm

6J: Social Media Hack: Utilizing Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to Authentically Engage (But Not Annoy) Readers
Limited Capacity filling up

Whether you love it, loathe it, or have yet to even join it, social media is a necessary, effective, and FREE tool you can use to meet and connect with readers. Having a solid platform on social media and a legion of loyal followers will not only make you more attractive to agents and publishers, it will also ultimately help you sell more books regardless if you go the indie or traditional path. Join authors (and self-confessed social media addicts) Jenna Blum and Sara DiVello as they share their favorite hacks on how to build your author brand on all three social platforms (Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter) and authentically engage with your community and followers. They will share the unique pros of cons of each platform, and demystify how you can powerfully leverage each to best meet your professional goals.

Speakers
avatar for Jenna Blum

Jenna Blum

Author, THE LOST FAMILY
Jenna Blum is The New York Times and # 1 international bestselling author of novels Those Who Save Us (Harcourt, 2004) and The Stormchasers (Dutton, 2010); novella “The Lucky One” in the postwar anthology Grand Central (Penguin, 2014); and audio course “The Author At Work... Read More →
avatar for Sara DiVello

Sara DiVello

Author, WHERE IN THE OM AM I?
Sara DiVello is the author of the best-selling book, Where in the OM Am I? One Woman's Journey from the Corporate World to the Yoga Mat, NIEA winner for Best Memoir, selected by Shape Magazine as a best book, and chosen by Working Mother Magazine as a must-read for anyone conside... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 12:45pm - 2:15pm
Beacon Hill Room - 4th Floor

12:45pm

6K: The Nonfiction Narrator
Limited Capacity filling up

The writer of personal narrative, whether essays or memoir, is asked to play many roles: simultaneously that of the author, the narrator, and the character. And while those of the author (you, who sits at the keyboard) and the character (younger you, in the scenes you are recollecting) may be easily understood, that of the narrator is both the slipperiest and perhaps the most important. 

The narrator is the one who both makes sense of and problematizes life. As Vivian Gornick writes, “we pull from ourselves the narrator who can shape better than we can the inchoate flow of events into which we are continually being plunged.” Philip Lopate reminds us that the narrator must deliver to the reader what they’ve come to the page for: the sense that an active, searching mind lies behind the storyteller’s inquiry. 

So much for the narrator to do! But who is this crucial construct, and how do you find yours? Together, we’ll discover what a strong narrator can give the writer—and how to define and strengthen your own.

Speakers
avatar for Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Author, THE FACT OF A BODY
Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich is the author of THE FACT OF A BODY: A Murder and a Memoir, named one of the best books of the year by Entertainment Weekly, Audible.com, Bustle, Book Riot, The Times of London, and The Guardian. An Indie Next Pick and a Junior Library Guild selection... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 12:45pm - 2:15pm
Tremont Room - 4th Floor

12:45pm

6L: The Novelist as Dramatist: Action in Fiction
Limited Capacity full

At the core of both fiction and drama is the telling of the plot, and the plot, as Aristotle teaches, is the expression of an action. Dramatists have no choice but to know this because action is one of the few tools available to them. Fiction writers have far more tools at their disposal — voice, tense, internal monologue, summation, and so on. But too many fiction writers forget that an understanding of "action" — a truly deep, in the bones understanding of it — can be a powerful tool in helping them to tell the story. 

In this session, we'll discuss the Aristotelian idea of an "action," and will sit down to write brief scenes. We'll then analyze what we've written-- not in a critical way, but to examine how "action" has found its way into your scenario, without your even intending it.

Speakers
avatar for Stuart Spencer

Stuart Spencer

Author, THE PLAYWRIGHT'S GUIDEBOOK
Stuart Spencer is a playwright and novelist. His play Resident Alien was originally produced at the Humana Festival of New Plays, and has had numerous productions in regional theatres across the country. A three-play anthology (Plays By Stuart Spencer) is published by Broadway P... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 12:45pm - 2:15pm
Cabot Room - 4th Floor

12:45pm

6M: Your Book Starts Here: Build a Successful Structure for Your Manuscript in Any Genre
Limited Capacity full

"You should write a book!" Maybe you've heard that for years. Maybe you've even begun to write it. Maybe you're realizing that book manuscripts get unwieldy, fast. One out of ten writers never finish their manuscript, because most first-time book writers get lost without good structure and planning. Learn the key ingredients to build a successful book structure in any genre—memoir, fiction, or nonfiction—via the simple three-act system. Learn why Aristotle called it the "perfect structure" and why humans need a beginning, middle, and end for emotional catharsis. Mary Carroll Moore has helped over 2,000 writers get to the finish line using this method. Moore's Your Book Starts Here won the 2011 NH Literary Award for People's Choice; she is the author of twelve other published books in three genres and a PEN/Faulkner nominee. This simple and successful book-writing process can take your book idea to publication.

Speakers
avatar for Mary Carroll Moore

Mary Carroll Moore

Author, YOUR BOOK STARTS HERE
Mary Carroll Moore is the author of 13 books in three genres, including a YA novel, two memoirs, and many nonfiction books. Her writing craft book, Your Book Starts Here (Riverbed Press) won the New Hampshire Literary Awards People's Choice and her novel, Qualities of Light, was... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 12:45pm - 2:15pm
Whittier Room - 4th Floor

2:15pm

Break
Saturday April 7, 2018 2:15pm - 2:45pm
TBA

2:45pm

7A: All-Conference Read in Non-Fiction: ANIMALS STRIKE CURIOUS POSES by Elena Passarello
Limited Capacity filling up

Author Pagan Kennedy will discuss Animals Strike Curious Poses from the writer’s perspective -- structure, inspiration, process. Writes The New York Times Book Review of Passarello’s book, "I’ve spent decades reading books on the roles animals play in human cultures, but none have ever made me think, and feel, as much as this one. It’s a devastating meditation on our relationship to the natural world. It might be the best book on animals I’ve ever read. It’s also the only one that’s made me laugh out loud…. This is a book with burning current relevance.”
While we strongly encourage reading Animals Strike Curious Poses ahead of time, the conversation will be illuminating and meaningful to all. 


Moderators
avatar for Pagan Kennedy

Pagan Kennedy

Author, INVENTOLOGY
Pagan Kennedy tells stories about iconoclasts, humanitarian inventors, and scientific visionaries. Her eleven books include The First Man-Made Man, a study of the transgender pioneer Michael Dillon.  Kennedy's journalism has appeared in dozens of publications including The Ne... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Elena Passarello

Elena Passarello

All-Conference Read in Non-Fiction, ANIMALS STRIKE CURIOUS POSES
Elena Passarello is an actor, writer, and recipient of a 2015 Whiting Award. Her first collection Let Me Clear My Throat (Sarabande, 2012), won the gold medal for nonfiction at the 2013 Independent Publisher Awards and was a finalist for the 2014 Oregon Book Award. Her essays on... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 2:45pm - 4:00pm
Emerson Room - 4th Floor

2:45pm

7B: Dare to Break the Ultimate Writing Rule: Why "Show Don't Tell" Is a Crock
Limited Capacity full

Show don't tell has become the cornerstone of creative writing workshops, a slogan cited like scripture. It is also the single most destructive piece of advice aspiring writers ever receive. In this session, we'll look at concrete examples of how the "show don't tell" mantra too often wreaks havoc on our storytelling, by creating confusion, sapping our work of suspense, and causing us to write disjointed scenes. In short, by leaving the reader bewildered rather than dazzled. We'll also discuss how writers can transform their work by following a much more useful creed: Tell the reader just enough to feel what she's being shown. We'll also do a quick writing exercise to bring the lesson home. If you're ready to break the ultimate writing rule sign up and come ready to take your work to the next level.

Speakers
avatar for Steve Almond

Steve Almond

Author, BAD STORIES
Steve Almond is the author of ten books of fiction and non-fiction, including The New York Times Bestsellers Candyfreak and Against Football. His most recent short story collection, God Bless America won the Paterson Prize and his short stories have been widely anthologized in T... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 2:45pm - 4:00pm
Whittier Room - 4th Floor

2:45pm

7C: Editing: Love It, Hate It, Just Delete It
Limited Capacity full

We've all worked through a first draft—whether it's a paragraph or a full manuscript. Getting to the end is a huge achievement, but after you add that final period, what do you do? This session will present two perspectives on next steps: one from the writer before she submits to an agent and one from an agent before she submits to an editor. You'll learn that every scene must have its purpose, no matter how beautiful the writing, and every character must have her place no matter how striking her description. We'll use actual examples from edited texts to show how much a draft can change. Plus, we'll work through a few examples from the audience. This is a combined lecture-guided editing so bring a one paragraph description of your book, or preferably your pitch, and hand it in before the session starts. We will choose approximately 13 samples to edit together - on the spot.  

Speakers
avatar for Eve Attermann

Eve Attermann

Literary Agent, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment
Eve Attermann has worked in WME's Literary Department since 2011, representing a varied list of literary and commercial fiction writers, musicians, chefs, journalists, and historians. Her clients include Rachel Barenbaum, Melissa Scrivner Love, Hollie Overton, Elizabeth Plank, Sn... Read More →
avatar for Rachel Barenbaum

Rachel Barenbaum

Author, THE MEASURE OF TIME
The Measure of Time is Rachel Barenbaum's first novel. It be will published by Grand Central in Spring 2019. She's a graduate of GrubStreet's Novel Incubator program. In a former life she was a hedge fund manager and a spin instructor. She has degrees from Harvard in Business, an... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 2:45pm - 4:00pm
White Hill Room - 4th Floor

2:45pm

7D: Learning From the (Very) Old-Timers: Modern Uses of Pre-Modern Fiction
Limited Capacity full

When searching for their literary roots, contemporary fiction writers don’t often journey further back than the 19th century. We understand the novel and short story as distinctly “modern” forms. But they were preceded by millennia of sharp, marvelous, and wise story-telling, traditions of prose that can still be powerfully evocative and provocative for us today. Through the reading of excerpts of pre-modern prose, guided writing exercises and discussion, this session will explore the ways writers can refresh their modern fiction by delving into the past.

Speakers
avatar for Kanishk Tharoor

Kanishk Tharoor

Author, SWIMMER AMONG THE STARS
Kanishk Tharoor is a writer and broadcaster. His debut collection of short stories is Swimmer Among the Stars, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in North America, Picador in the UK, Aleph Book Company in India, and Editions Le Seuil in France. The collection was awarded the... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 2:45pm - 4:00pm
Winthrop Room - 4th Floor

2:45pm

7E: Non-Fiction Idea Clinic
Limited Capacity full

In this session, the moderator (an established writer) will offer a brief preamble of the art of the non-fiction idea. Then, you will get two minutes to share your own idea for a non-fiction book for the audience, the moderator, and a panel of experts. The experts are agents, editors and publicists with years of experience working with non-fiction writers to turn their book proposals into reality and to promote them in the marketplace. After you read your idea (preferably from a text you have prepared and brought with you!), the agents and editors will ask you follow-up questions and troubleshoot your idea. You will discuss issues of platform, expertise, the viability of the idea itself, and other elements of the non-fiction market. Please note that presenters will be chosen at random from names submitted in a hat at the start of the session. Unfortunately, given the volume of submissions, we can not guarantee that your name will be called. This is a fun event that aims to be respectful of your idea and illuminate the process a writer goes through when she is developing an idea with an agent and/or editor. The point is not to get through as many writers as possible, but to thoughtfully evaluate your ideas and offer concrete suggestions from which all could benefit. Though most people will be reading ideas for full-length books, you may also read an idea for a feature story or article to assess its viability with the panel of experts.

Speakers
avatar for Jessica Papin

Jessica Papin

Literary Agent, Dystel, Goderich, & Bourret
Jessica Papin first joined DG&B in 2003, after spending eight years as an editor at Warner Books (now Grand Central). In 2004, she moved to Egypt, where she spent three years working for the American University in Cairo Press. Upon her return to the United States, she rejoined DG... Read More →
avatar for Neal Thompson

Neal Thompson

Author, KICKFLIP BOYS
Neal Thompson is the author of Kickflip Boys: A Memoir of Freedom, Rebellion, and the Chaos of Fatherhood (5/15/18), and four previous books, including the critically acclaimed biography, A Curious Man: The Strange & Brilliant Life of Robert "Believe It or Not" Ripley. Thompson h... Read More →
avatar for Jennifer Chen Tran

Jennifer Chen Tran

Literary Agent, Bradford Literary
Jennifer Chen Tran has been an agent at Bradford Literary since September 2017. She represents both fiction and non-fiction. Originally from New York, Jennifer is a lifelong reader and experienced member of the publishing industry. Prior to joining Bradford Literary, she was an A... Read More →
avatar for Steve Woodward

Steve Woodward

Editor, Graywolf Press
Steve Woodward is an editor at Graywolf Press, where he has edited books of literary fiction and non-fiction with authors such as Fiona Maazel, Jon Raymond, Daisy Johnson, Benjamin Percy, Maud Casey, Angela Palm, Susan Steinberg, and others. He has an MFA in fiction from the Univ... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 2:45pm - 4:00pm
St. James Room - 4th Floor

2:45pm

7F: Outsider as Insider: Subverting and Resisting Cultural Expectations in Fiction
Limited Capacity full

As writers of color or as any writer writing from what society considers "the margins," we are often confronted with expectations that subscribe to stereotypes or received narratives of who others think we are, or how they think we should represent ourselves in literature. We will interrogate the questions of identity and representation that we must each grapple with in order to write authentically and with integrity and confidence in a climate that often wishes to reduce our very existence to clichés or have us "perform" our culture or community in ways that undermine our narrative authority.

Speakers
avatar for Patricia Engel

Patricia Engel

Author, THE VEINS OF THE OCEAN
Patricia Engel is the author of Vida, which was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Fiction Award and the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award,  winner of Colombia’s national prize in letters, the Premio Biblioteca de Narrativa Colombiana, and named a New York Times... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 2:45pm - 4:00pm
Cabot Room - 4th Floor

2:45pm

7G: The Art of Perspective
Limited Capacity filling up

The success of any work of fiction or narrative non-fiction depends almost entirely on its narrative strategy. Not only which character(s) tell(s) the story, from what vantage point, in the past or present, but why those choices are optimal and how they contribute to the overall effect the author is aiming for. In this session, we will begin by defining narrative strategy, then discuss its relationship to an author's choice of perspective and his/her manipulation of narrative distance. 

Speakers
avatar for Christopher Castellani

Christopher Castellani

Author & Artistic Director, GrubStreet, LEADING MEN
Christopher Castellani is the Artistic Director of GrubStreet and Founder of the Muse and the Marketplace conference. He is the author of three critically-acclaimed novels, A Kiss from Maddalena (Algonquin Books, 2003)—winner of the Massachusetts Book Award in 2004— The Saint... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 2:45pm - 4:00pm
Beacon Hill Room - 4th Floor

2:45pm

7H: The Motivated Writer: Using Athletes' Techniques to Keep Yourself Going: Section B
Limited Capacity full

If you're the rare writer who hasn't ever wrestled with motivation, confidence, and time-management skills, then stop reading right now. But if you've had trouble sitting down at the desk, or staying there, or concentrating on your own words, or if you've been struck by a bad case of imposter syndrome, then this session is for you. You'll learn how to push yourself into more productive and challenging work, through motivation-boosting techniques borrowed from sports. No matter what your experience with exercise, you'll learn how to use an athlete's tools like interval training, periodization, and the concept of training zones to help you embark on and complete your writing project. You'll leave the session with a plan for how to accomplish your short-term and long-term goals.

Speakers
avatar for Henriette Lazaridis

Henriette Lazaridis

Author, THE CLOVER HOUSE
Henriette Lazaridis' debut novel The Clover House was published by Ballantine Books in 2013 and was a Boston Globe bestseller and a Target Emerging Authors pick. Her work has appeared in publications including ELLE, Narrative Magazine, Salamander, New England Review, The Millions... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 2:45pm - 4:00pm
Franklin Room - 4th Floor

2:45pm

7I: The People-Pleaser's Guide to Plot
Limited Capacity full

Can't we all just get along? No. Not in fiction. Many of us go out of our way to minimize or avoid conflict in our lives, but this can be lethal when plotting a work of fiction. If you feel your story grinding to a halt, reenergize it by putting your characters in uncomfortable conversations that they'd rather avoid. In this session, we'll analyze (and even act out) scenes of characters in awkward or painful or even angry confrontations, comparing them to drafts where conflict was avoided. We'll identify common phrases or scenarios that might signal conflict-avoidance, and build strategies for putting characters into confrontation. Writers may come away with fresh ideas for a story, or solutions to problems in a current work-in-progress. If your characters are frequently making hasty retreats, resisting the urge, biting back words, restraining their impulses, and belatedly thinking of snappy comebacks or what they really wanted to say, this workshop is for you!

Speakers
avatar for Diana Renn

Diana Renn

Author, FALSE IDOLS
Diana Renn is the author of three YA mysteries: Tokyo Heist, Latitude Zero, and Blue Voyage, all published by Viking / Penguin. Blue Voyage was honored as a 2016 "Must Read" by the Massachusetts Book Awards. Her new novel, False Idols, is a collaboratively written FBI thriller (f... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 2:45pm - 4:00pm
Newbury Room - 4th Floor

2:45pm

7J: Violent Delights & Violent Ends: What to Consider When Writing Violence in Fiction and Nonfiction
Limited Capacity filling up

Violence is a tool writers use to increase tension, inform character, force the moment to its crisis, and change the course of history. Like all tools, it must be deployed judiciously. If it's exploitative or over the top, it can alienate or offend readers, cheapen a story, and perpetuate damaging cultural stereotypes. In this session authors Kelly J. Ford, Stephanie Gayle, and Emily Ross will explore what we must consider when we write violence. They will discuss examples of violence in literature that work and that don't, and share techniques for writing violence that is earned and not gratuitous.

Speakers
avatar for Kelly J. Ford

Kelly J. Ford

Author, COTTONMOUTHS
Kelly J. Ford is the author of COTTONMOUTHS, named one of 2017’s best books of the year by the Los Angeles Review. Her work has appeared in Black Heart Magazine, Fried Chicken and Coffee, and Knee-Jerk Magazine, and is forthcoming in Post Road Magazine. She is Framingham State... Read More →
avatar for Stephanie Gayle

Stephanie Gayle

Author, IDYLL THREATS
Stephanie Gayle writes the Chief Lynch mystery series, including Idyll Threats and Idyll Fears, and is the author of My Summer of Southern Discomfort. She's twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Stephanie graduated Grub Street's Novel Incubator program and she co-founded the... Read More →
avatar for Emily Ross

Emily Ross

Author, HALF IN LOVE WITH DEATH
Emily Ross is the author of Half in Love with Death, a young adult novel inspired by a true crime from the 1960s. Half in Love with Death was named a finalist in the International Thriller Writers 2016 Thriller Awards. Emily received a 2014 Massachusetts Cultural Council finalist... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 2:45pm - 4:00pm
Stuart Room - 4th Floor

2:45pm

7K: When Do I Need An Author Website and What Belongs On It?
Limited Capacity full

Whether it's an editor researching you before making an offer, a reader wanting to learn more about their new favorite writer, or a bookseller wanting to secure you for an event, these days your website acts as your public calling card at every stage in your career. Sure, you can hire a designer to build your site, but *you* still need to determine what content belongs there. In this workshop, author and former Hollywood marketing executive Jen Malone will marry her experiences to discuss author branding and how this can translate to your own online presence. She'll offer examples of authors who have honed theirs and lead you through exercises designed to help you cement yours. You'll learn the fundamentals every author website should include, then explore a myriad of options to expand upon those basics.

Speakers
avatar for Jen Malone

Jen Malone

Author, CHANGES IN LATITUDES
Jen Malone is the author of contemporary Young Adult road trip novels with Harper Collins and humorous "girl power" Middle Grade adventures with Simon & Schuster. Her latest release is The Art of the Swap (coauthored with Kristine Asselin). Other published titles include Changes... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 2:45pm - 4:00pm
Cambridge Room - 4th Floor

2:45pm

7L: Word by Word: An Exercise in Close Reading
Limited Capacity full

An exercise in close reading. The discussion will help illuminate the consequences of decisions that writers make word by word and phrase by phrase when constructing sentences, as well as the way associative thinking works when one is trying to read analytically, and possibly even the larger implications of close reading in terms of decoding the world.

Speakers
avatar for Karen Shepard

Karen Shepard

Author, AN EMPIRE OF WOMEN
Karen Shepard is a Chinese-American born and raised in New York City.  She is the author of four novels, An Empire of Women, The Bad Boy’s Wife, Don’t I Know You?, and The Celestials, which was short-listed for the Massachusetts Book Award and the William Saroyan Internation... Read More →
avatar for Jim Shepard

Jim Shepard

Author, THE BOOK OF ARON
Jim Shepard is the author of seven novels, including most recently The Book of Aron, which won the Sophie Brody Medal for Achievement in Jewish Literature from the American Library Association and the PEN/New England Award for fiction, and five story collections, including his ne... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 2:45pm - 4:00pm
Charles River Room - 4th Floor

4:15pm

8A: A Vampire of Your Own: Using the Personal To Write the Fantastic
Limited Capacity seats available

How do you create a dragon who's more than a cheap knock-off of Smaug, a vampire who isn't Angel or Spike, or a wizard who stands apart from Gandalf or Dumbledore? While this is a great time for aspiring writers of fantastic fiction to be working, with all manner of books old and new in print, the sheer number of fantastic narratives available can make the challenge of arriving at a character who isn't a reflection of some better known figure seem particularly daunting. After sketching out the parameters of the problem, this session will address it through a set of writing exercises. These will combine the participants' knowledge of popular figures in fantastic fiction with elements drawn from their personal experiences in order to develop their own characters, as well as to encourage them think about some of the situations in which those characters might find themselves.

Speakers
avatar for John Langan

John Langan

Author, THE FISHERMAN
John Langan is the author of two novels, The Fisherman (2016) and House of Windows (2009/2017), and two collections, The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies (2013) and Mr. Gaunt and Other Uneasy Encounters (2008).  With Paul Tremblay, he has co-edited Creatures... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 4:15pm - 5:15pm
St. James Room - 4th Floor

4:15pm

8B: Avoiding the Common Pitfalls of Writing About Black Life
Limited Capacity filling up

The facts are these: 1) We are not living in a post-racial anything, and 2) The good intention of well-meaning writers isn't enough to free our stories from reasserting harmful stereotypes. This is not an indictment, but more an invitation for all of us to do better, specifically when it comes to writing stories that aim to expand our limited perspectives, grow our imaginations, and boost our collective sense of compassion.

This workshop is about identifying the common pitfalls many writers (especially white writers) meet when crafting stories featuring characters of color, and smart ways to avoid them. It will tackle how to illustrate that Black Life is vast—from ordinary to other worldly—without falling into the trope traps (Magical Negro, Sassy Black Sistuh Gurlfriend, Festishized Black Lover, etc.). And it will cover how to fold in cultural quirks and details (like dialect) without turning into caricature or, worse, falling into unintentional racist and xenophobic territory. (Because that is a hill you do not want to die on.)

Speakers
avatar for Nicole Blades

Nicole Blades

Author, HAVE YOU MET NORA?
Nicole Blades is a novelist and freelance journalist who has been putting her stories on paper since the third grade. Born and raised in Montreal, Nicole moved to New York City and launched her journalism career working at Essence magazine. She later co-founded the online magazin... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 4:15pm - 5:15pm
Newbury Room - 4th Floor

4:15pm

8C: Beyond Conflict: Sources of Narrative Drive in Fiction
Limited Capacity full

What makes certain fiction so gripping? What gives it the power to keep a reader up at night, and to put a book down reluctantly, like parting with a beloved friend? In this session, using brief passages from great novels and stories as models, we'll go beyond basic understandings of dramatic conflict to look into some of the additional ingredients that go into gripping fiction, such as micro-tension, shadow description, and the secrets to creating a riveting point of view character. We'll make distinctions between mystery, suspense, and dramatic irony, and discuss how these informational scenarios interact with point of view to keep the pages turning. A combination of discussion and brief, dynamic writing exercises will give fiction writers a better grasp on the tools they need to make their stories harder to put down—and more likely to be published and widely read.

Speakers
avatar for Tim Weed

Tim Weed

Author, A FIELD GUIDE TO MURDER & FLY FISHING
Tim Weed's first novel, Will Poole's Island (2014), was named one of Bank Street College of Education's Best Books of the Year. His short fiction collection, A Field Guide to Murder & Fly Fishing (2017), has been shortlisted for the International Book Awards, the New Rivers Press... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 4:15pm - 5:15pm
White Hill Room - 4th Floor

4:15pm

8D: Creating Pictures with Words: How and Why Visual Writing Works
Limited Capacity full

Most writers have great verbal skills. They became writers because they fell in love with reading books. Reading can elicit an array of sensory perceptions but what great writing does most powerfully is make us see. It's the mind's "eye" that engages when we read.
Joseph Conrad once said, "My task which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel—it is, before all, to make you see." As Conrad rightfully suggests, writers are equal parts visual artists.
Language that paints a picture deepens the reader's emotional response because we are hardwired to respond emotionally to images. It's no accident that so much of our great literature has been adapted into films, plays, comics and other visual art forms. In this lecture we will look at the synergy between the mind and the eye and how the devices visual artists use to create pictures can be employed by the writer to great effect.

Speakers
avatar for Annie Weatherwax

Annie Weatherwax

Author, ALL WE HAD
Annie Weatherwax is a writer and an artist. Winner of the Robert Olen Butler Prize for Fiction, her short stories have appeared in The Sun Magazine, The Southern Review, and elsewhere. She has written extensively on the synergy between the mind and the eye, and the link between l... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 4:15pm - 5:15pm
Whittier Room - 4th Floor

4:15pm

8E: Experimental Writing for Non-Experimental Writers
Limited Capacity full

What does it mean for writing to be experimental? The great writer Margaret Atwood defines it as writing "that sets up certain rules for itself . . . while subverting the conventions according to which readers have understood what constitutes a proper work of literature." In making its own rules, a lot of the old rules have to be tossed out, of course, and so this workshop provides a few examples of the most innovative, rule-busting, eclectic works of the postmodern, absurdist, metafictional and transgressive canon. We’ll look at a wild and gutsy array of passages, old and new, that dare to be different. We'll also generate multi-genre experimental writing of our own through a series of exercises.

Speakers
avatar for Porochista Khakpour

Porochista Khakpour

Author, SICK: A MEMOIR
Porochista Khakpour is the author of the forthcoming memoir Sick (Harper Perennial, June 2018), and the novels The Last Illusion (Bloomsbury, 2014)—a 2014 "Best Book of the Year" according to NPR, Kirkus, Buzzfeed, Popmatters, Electric Literature, and more — and Sons and Othe... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 4:15pm - 5:15pm
Beacon Hill Room - 4th Floor

4:15pm

8F: Indie Publishing: A Viable Path to A Full-Time Career in Writing Fiction
Limited Capacity full

Have you ever dreamed of writing fiction full-time? Indie publishing is a viable path to pursuing your dream career. From English teacher and curriculum specialist to author of medieval romance, Cecelia fully embraced the indie publishing community and, six months after publishing her first book, she left a 20-year education career and replaced her income as a romance author. Learn the steps she took to get there with a focus on launching a book for success. Cecelia also co-owns an influencer marketing network and brings that unique perspective of digital marketing into the book world. With practical tips on harnessing the power of numbers and author collaboration to position a new book into a crowded marketplace, Cecelia shares the resources which helped her fulfill a life-long goal, to write fiction full-time.

Speakers
avatar for Cecelia Mecca

Cecelia Mecca

Author, THE LORD'S CAPTIVE
Cecelia Mecca is a historical romance author who recently left a twenty-year career in education to write full-time. Her medieval romance series set along the 13th-century Anglo-Scottish border includes The Lord's Captive, nominated for best romance in the Kindle Book Review Awar... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 4:15pm - 5:15pm
Franklin Room - 4th Floor

4:15pm

8G: Laughing at a Funeral: Mixing Emotional Tones in Writing
Limited Capacity full

Juxtaposing emotional tones makes your writing more powerful and memorable. In everyday life, our feelings are often complicated, and writing can reflect that. This session will examine the ways different writers alternate between emotions in their work as well as the ways that they combine multiple emotions in a single literary moment. We will also discuss strategies for emotional fusion and alternation. Mixing emotional tones can be helpful for writers of both fiction and non-fiction, and we will look at how to apply emotional mixing across genres.

Speakers
avatar for E. Thomas Finan

E. Thomas Finan

Fiction Writer
E. Thomas Finan is the author of the short story collection The Other Side.  In addition to academic journals, he has also published work in The Atlantic, The Millions, and Prairie Schooner.  He teaches at Boston University.


Saturday April 7, 2018 4:15pm - 5:15pm
Back Bay Room - 4th Floor

4:15pm

8H: New Digital Tools for 2018: Make Your Social Media Marketing Easier and More Effective
Limited Capacity seats available

Social media marketing allows us to find influencers and create communities. However, as we all know it is time consuming and a labor-intensive activity. This session will present new and established digital tools that can help make the process of managing online marketing easier and more effective. After testing many tools, Burke will present the ones that are most helpful to authors and publishers alike. In a "show-and-tell" session, we'll review tools that help find influencers and discussions, create visual content and data, collaborate with teams, measure engagement and more.

Speakers
avatar for Fauzia Burke

Fauzia Burke

Consultant, FSB Associates
Fauzia Burke is the founder and president of FSB Associates, an online publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. She’s also the author of Online Marketing for Busy Authors (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, April 2016). Fauzia worked for W... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 4:15pm - 5:15pm
Cambridge Room - 4th Floor

4:15pm

8I: Rage Is a Red Lesson: How to Turn Anger into Charged Prose
Limited Capacity filling up

We’re living in an age of wrath, one in which the impulse to make art is being shouted down by the desire to make war. In this freewheeling workshop, we’ll examine how writers are able to harness their anger and use it as an engine for their stories. We’ll look at the work of masters such as Claire Messud and Herman Melville, and use an in-class exercise to examine the sorrows that lurk beneath the armor of our anger.

Speakers
avatar for Steve Almond

Steve Almond

Author, BAD STORIES
Steve Almond is the author of ten books of fiction and non-fiction, including The New York Times Bestsellers Candyfreak and Against Football. His most recent short story collection, God Bless America won the Paterson Prize and his short stories have been widely anthologized in T... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 4:15pm - 5:15pm
Charles River Room - 4th Floor

4:15pm

8J: Should I Do an MFA?
Limited Capacity seats available

The question of whether or not, or when, one should pursue an MFA degree is a difficult one to answer, and depends on a host of factors that we will take up in this lecture and Q&A. What range of programs should an emerging writer consider? What are the constituent features of a successful MFA application? Does every aspiring writer need to have an MFA? Answers to questions like these depend, of course, on the needs and attributes of the person posing them. The goal of this talk is to equip aspiring writers with a framework with which to consider what kind of tutelage would best serve their artistic aspirations.

Speakers
avatar for Douglas Trevor

Douglas Trevor

Author, THE BOOK OF WONDERS
Douglas Trevor is the author of the short story collection The Book of Wonders (2017), the novel Girls I Know, which was the recipient of the 2013 Balcones Fiction Prize, and the short story collection The Thin Tear in the Fabric of Space, which won the 2005 Iowa Short Fiction A... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 4:15pm - 5:15pm
Winthrop Room - 4th Floor

4:15pm

8K: Social Justice Story Telling
Limited Capacity full

To change the world, first you've got to make people care. Now more than ever before in our lifetimes, the personal is political—and so is art. Our lives, and our art, contain within them the strands of social justice issues and moments that testify to an urgent need for social change. More and more writers of both fiction and nonfiction are creating impactful stories that dramatize the past and move us to think differently about the present and the future. But how do such narratives begin? How does the writing become than just polemical? How do you balance characters and argument? And what strategies do writers use in researching and shaping their work? In this session we'll look at many published examples of works both short and long that speak powerfully about social justice. We'll also do writing exercises to help you identify issues you're passionate about and get you started on the path of turning them into story. Attendees will leave with a list of suggested further reading in multiple genres and on multiple social justice issues.

Speakers
avatar for Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Author, THE FACT OF A BODY
Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich is the author of THE FACT OF A BODY: A Murder and a Memoir, named one of the best books of the year by Entertainment Weekly, Audible.com, Bustle, Book Riot, The Times of London, and The Guardian. An Indie Next Pick and a Junior Library Guild selection... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 4:15pm - 5:15pm
Cabot Room - 4th Floor

4:15pm

8L: Suspense, Stakes, & Whimsy: Borrowing from Genre for Your Fiction
Limited Capacity full

Writers today are increasingly breaking the boundaries between predetermined categories and genres. Why do we have to choose only one? This session will explore how to borrow the best from each: world-building and social commentary from fantasy and sic-fi, metaphor and whimsy from fairy tales and myths, high stakes and attention to detail from crime and mystery, and suspense and foreboding from horror and ghost stories.

Speakers
avatar for Michelle Hoover

Michelle Hoover

Author, BOTTOMLAND
Michelle Hoover is the Fannie Hurst Writer-in-Residence at Brandeis University and teaches at GrubStreet, where she leads the Novel Incubator program. She is a 2014 NEA Fellow and has been a Writer-in-Residence at Bucknell University, a MacDowell Fellow, and a winner of the PEN/N... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 4:15pm - 5:15pm
Stuart Room - 4th Floor

4:15pm

8M: Writing a Winning Nonfiction Proposal
Limited Capacity filling up

This session will talk non-fiction writers through the process of creating a high-end, commercially viable non-fiction proposal. The emphasis will be on what makes a non-fiction idea "big" or "commercial" and how to get across the immediacy of your subject matter. We will also discuss proposal formats.

Speakers
avatar for Tanya McKinnon

Tanya McKinnon

Literary Agent, The McKinnon McIntyre Agency
Tanya McKinnon is the co-founder of the McKinnon McIntyre Literary Agency where she represents New York Times Bestselling non-fiction, award-winning public intellectuals, award-winning children's books, and New York Times bestselling graphic novels. She specializes in non-fiction... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 4:15pm - 5:15pm
Tremont Room - 4th Floor

5:15pm

Lit Lounge
Saturday April 7, 2018 5:15pm - 6:15pm
TBA

5:30pm

Writers of Color Meet-Up
For the second year in a row, we're hosting a fun and casual gathering for all attendees, authors, editors, and agents at the Muse who identity as people of color, though all are welcome to join in. Grab a drink and food from the Statler Room, and head down the hall to the Boylston Room!

Saturday April 7, 2018 5:30pm - 6:30pm
Boylston Room - Mezzanine Level

7:00pm

Spitballing...Returns!
So you're writing a story and feeling "stuck." What began as an exciting venture now seems dull and lifeless. Why not bring this logjam to other writers for revival? How might two heads (or 3, or 4) be better than one?

In this fun and fast-moving event, watch live authors use the "spitballing" techniques of screenwriters to push initial story ideas into wilder and more provocative possibilities.

Come ready to brainstorm, laugh, and contribute your own ideas too. Free and open to the public, but space is limited. Cash bar. Follow the fun on Twitter at #writerspitball.

Speakers
avatar for Sari Boren

Sari Boren

Non-Fiction Writer
Sari Boren’s essays have been published in Copper Nickel, Lilith Magazine, The Southeast Review, Alimentum, Hobart, and Pangyrus, among others. She’s a member of the Totally New Theater Playwrights’ Collective of the Marblehead Little Theater, and has been awarded gra... Read More →
avatar for Sean Van Deuren

Sean Van Deuren

Fiction Writer
Sean Van Deuren is the Communications and Marketing Manager at the Engagement Lab, an applied research and design lab dedicated to reimagining civic engagement for a digital culture. He earned his BFA in Writing, Literature & Publishing from Emerson College. His short story chapb... Read More →
avatar for Ron MacLean

Ron MacLean

Author, WE MIGHT AS WELL LIGHT SOMETHING ON FIRE
Ron MacLean is author of the novels Headlong and Blue Winnetka Skies, and the story collection Why the Long Face?. His fiction has appeared in GQ, Narrative, Fiction International, Best Online Fiction, and elsewhere. He is a recipient of the Frederick Exley Award for Short Fictio... Read More →
avatar for Quressa Robinson

Quressa Robinson

Literary Agent, Nelson Literary Agency
Quressa Robinson joined the Nelson Literary Agency in 2017 after working at a previous agency and as an editor for five years. She is originally from San Francisco, but has been living in New York City for over a decade. As a New York-based agent, she is eager to build her YA and... Read More →
avatar for Michelle Seaton

Michelle Seaton

Author, CHANGE YOUR SCHEDULE, CHANGE YOUR LIFE
Michelle Seaton's is the co-author of Change Your Schedule, Change Your Life (HarperWave, 2018), Living with Cancer (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017) and The Way of Boys (William Morrow, 2010). Her short fiction has appeared in One Story, Harvard Review, Sycamore Review, and... Read More →
avatar for Rob Spillman

Rob Spillman

Literary Magazine Editor, Tin House
Rob Spillman is Editor and co-founder of Tin House, an eighteen-year-old bi-coastal (Brooklyn, New York and Portland, Oregon) literary magazine. He is the 2017 recipient of the CLMP Energizer Award for Exceptional Acts of Literary Citizenship, the 2015 PEN/Nora Magid Award for Ed... Read More →


Saturday April 7, 2018 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Boylston Room - Mezzanine Level
 
Sunday, April 8
 

8:30am

Breakfast, Bookstore and Authors' Bazaar Browsing
Sunday April 8, 2018 8:30am - 9:30am
TBA

10:00am

9A: Establishing Authority
Limited Capacity full

From the first sentence, we know if we are in confident, capable hands. The best writers establish authority immediately. By authority I mean that there is a clear sense of control, and that this confidence is earned with particular language, tone, detail, cadence, and, most importantly, by creating urgency, a simple question of “why should I keep reading?”
Take the opening of Jim Shepard’s story “Boys Town”: “Here’s the story of my life: whatever I did wasn’t good enough, anything I figured out I figured out too late, and whenever I tried to help I made things worse.” Immediately we realize that this is a masterful writer using words as a weapon, that each word is placed exactly where it is intended, that the rhythms speak to a musicality that is in concert with the narrator and the action. We are propelled sentence to sentence by this musicality and we want to know more about the narrator and why he considers himself such a fatalistic mess.
No matter the form or genre, first, second, or third person, past or present, speculative or hyper-realistic, fiction, poetry, or non-fiction, establishing authority is the first and most important task of the writer. We will look at numerous first pages across forms, including work from Karen Russell, ZZ Packer, Joe Wenderoth, Lydia Davis, Helen McDonald, Carmen Maria Machado, and many more, subjecting the texts to the same cold reading standard I have at Tin House, where we receive upwards of 20,000 submissions a year.

Speakers
avatar for Rob Spillman

Rob Spillman

Literary Magazine Editor, Tin House
Rob Spillman is Editor and co-founder of Tin House, an eighteen-year-old bi-coastal (Brooklyn, New York and Portland, Oregon) literary magazine. He is the 2017 recipient of the CLMP Energizer Award for Exceptional Acts of Literary Citizenship, the 2015 PEN/Nora Magid Award for Ed... Read More →


Sunday April 8, 2018 10:00am - 11:15am
Charles River Room - 4th Floor

10:00am

9B: Fantastic Extremes: The Environments of Speculative Fiction
Limited Capacity filling up

The worlds of speculative fiction are filled with social and ecological extremes. These settings operate on a sensory as well as conceptual level. How can we as genre writers make the most of the environments we create, in terms of character, craft, and sociopolitical implication? This class will explore both environmental speculative fiction and real-world nonfiction that documents the extremes of Earth or considers the philosophy of space. We'll explore the genres of cli-fi (climate fiction) and ecofiction, discuss the "poetics of space," write, and brainstorm new ecologies.

Speakers
avatar for Sara Rivera

Sara Rivera

Poet & Fiction Writer
Sara Daniele Rivera is a Cuban/Peruvian writer, artist, educator, and translator from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her poetry and speculative fiction have appeared in The Loft Anthology, Origins Journal, DIALOGIST, Storyscape Journal, Circuits & Slippers, The Green Mountains Review... Read More →


Sunday April 8, 2018 10:00am - 11:15am
Winthrop Room - 4th Floor

10:00am

9C: Literary Idol: Fiction Focus
Limited Capacity filling up

Important: Please read this description carefully before signing up, and bring all necessary materials to the session if you wish to have your work read aloud.

In this freewheeling session, a trained actor will perform the first page of YOUR unpublished fiction manuscript for the audience and a panel of three judges. The judges are agents and editors with years of experience reading unsolicited submissions. When one of the judges hears a line that would make her stop reading, she will raise her hand. The reader will keep reading until a second judge raises his hand. The judges will then discuss WHY they would stop reading, and offer concrete (if subjective) suggestions to the anonymous author. If no judge raises his/her hand, the judges will discuss what made the excerpt work so well. All excerpts will be evaluated anonymously, though, at the end of the session, a winner will be chosen from the group of excerpts that did not elicit any raised hands, and that winner will receive a free Grub Street membership. Please bring THE FIRST 250 WORDS of your manuscript (fiction only, please) double-spaced, to the session, TITLED, with its GENRE marked clearly at the top. You will leave it in a box at the front of the room, and the manuscript will be chosen randomly by the reader. (Unfortunately, given the volume of submissions, we can not guarantee that yours will be read aloud).

This is a fun event that aims to be respectful of your work and illuminate the process an agent goes through when she receives a new piece of fiction. The point is not to get through as many writers as possible, but to thoughtfully evaluate the work at hand and offer concrete suggestions from which all could benefit. Please be aware that some lines may cause laughter or scorn; in other words, this session is not for the thin-skinned!

Moderators
avatar for Steve Macone

Steve Macone

Non-fiction Writer
Steve Macone is a former headline contributor at The Onion. His essays, humor writing, and reporting have also appeared in the American Scholar, New York Times, Atlantic, New Yorker, Boston Globe Magazine, Morning News, and Salon. His work has been featured on NPR, Longreads, an... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Sorche Fairbank

Sorche Fairbank

Literary Agent, Fairbank Literary Representation
A small, selective agency and member of AAR, the Author's Guild, the Agents Round Table, PEN, and Grub Street's Literary Advisory Council, Fairbank Literary Representation is happily in its fifteenth year. Clients range from first-time authors to international best-sellers, prize... Read More →
avatar for Kaitlyn Johnson

Kaitlyn Johnson

Literary Agent, Corvisiero Literary Agency
After receiving a BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College, Kaitlyn refused to leave the concept of nightly homework behind. As well as being an apprentice agent for Corvisiero Literary Agency, she is also a freelance editor at her own company, K. Johnson... Read More →
avatar for Rayhané Sanders

Rayhané Sanders

Literary Agent, Massie & McQuilkin
Rayhané Sanders is an agent at Massie & McQuilkin (www.mmqlit.com)--where she represents literary, historical, and upmarket book club fiction; narrative non-fiction; and memoir--and an independent book editor available for hire (rss.editorial@gmail.com). She began her career at... Read More →
avatar for Anjali Singh

Anjali Singh

Literary Agent, Pande Literary
Anjali Singh is an agent at Ayesha Pande Literary. Before becoming an agent, she worked as an international literary scout, as an editor Vintage Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Simon & Schuster, and as Editorial Director at Other Press. She is is best known for having champ... Read More →


Sunday April 8, 2018 10:00am - 11:15am
White Hill Room - 4th Floor

10:00am

9D: Researching and Choosing Agents to Query
Limited Capacity full

You've spent years of hard work writing and revising your first book, and it is time to begin looking for an agent. You have a query letter with a great hook and your first twenty pages sparkle. Now it's time to create a well-researched list of agents to query.
A carefully-curated agent list can save you both time and the pain of multiple rejections. Using online tools such as the Publishers Marketplace database and Query Tracker, I'll show you how to research agents, how to whittle down the list, and tips on how to plan your querying strategy.
Please bring your questions and titles of contemporary books similar to yours in genre, voice, and plot. If time permits, we will use these to demonstrate how to begin your research during the session.

Speakers
avatar for Louise Miller

Louise Miller

Author, THE LATE BLOOMERS CLUB
Louise Miller is the author of The City Baker's Guide to Country Living (Viking/Penguin 2016) and the forthcoming The Late Bloomers Club (Viking/Penguin/2018). She is a graduate of GrubStreet's Novel Incubator program, a yearlong workshop for novelists. Louise is a professional p... Read More →


Sunday April 8, 2018 10:00am - 11:15am
Whittier Room - 4th Floor

10:00am

9E: Resuscitating Your Darlings
Limited Capacity seats available

One of the truisms of writing is that you sometimes have to "kill your darlings." True as this may be, it's not the whole story. In many instances, your dead darlings can be revisited so as to enhance an unfocused narrative. In this session, you'll explore ways to temporarily revive your darlings so that they can provide guidance from beyond. Using everything from Character Biographies to Backstories to Directors' Cuts, we'll take what we've already written and let it show us how to replace it with even better work.

Speakers
avatar for Steven Beeber

Steven Beeber

Author, THE HEEBIE-JEEBIES AT CBGBs
Steven Lee Beeber is the author of The Heebie-Jeebies at CBGB’s: A Secret History of Jewish Punk, the editor of AWAKE! A Reader for the Sleepless, and the associate editor of the literary journal, Conduit. His work has appeared in Harpers, The New York Times, The Paris Review... Read More →


Sunday April 8, 2018 10:00am - 11:15am
Cabot Room - 4th Floor

10:00am

9F: Secrets and Lies
Limited Capacity full

Secret, lies, evasions, and masquerades: what's hidden and how it emerges fuel narrative drive and tension in stories, whether the subject is deception within a relationship or who committed a murder, a spy story or the tale of a family's hidden past. In this workshop we'll look at the power of secrets, the motives for concealment, and the complications that happen when the truth—all of it or just a sliver—is discovered. We'll discuss clues, misinterpretations, discoveries, revelations, suspense, surprise, and what's known when by which characters and the reader. We'll focus, especially, on how this relates to the writer's choices about structure and presentation: point of view, placement of information about the past, what's onstage and off, narrative disclosure, and outcome. Though this class will use examples from fiction, film, and drama, the content is also useful to those writing memoir or narrative non-fiction.

Speakers
avatar for Lynne Barrett

Lynne Barrett

Author, MAGPIES
Lynne Barrett's most recent story collection is Magpies (Gold Medal, Florida Book Awards), and her handbook What Editors Want guides writers through the submissions process. Her recent fiction and nonfiction can be found in Necessary Fiction, Mystery Tribune, The Miami Rail, The... Read More →


Sunday April 8, 2018 10:00am - 11:15am
Back Bay Room - 4th Floor

10:00am

9G: Shaping Time in Fiction and Nonfiction
Limited Capacity full

Writers don't always know it, but we're masters of time. In the real world, we live our lives forward, chronologically, and at the same rate. But writers can control time, move through time, and alter time. In this session-- for both fiction and nonfiction writers-- we'll examine how writing by Cheryl Strayed, Junot Diaz, JRR Tolkien, Barry Lopez and others strategically use time and to what effect. We'll examine the pacing of a narrative (how quickly through time we move), the sequence of story time (whether the is story being told chronologically or not), and how other techniques, such as sentence length and layout, can manipulate our experience of time and increase our engagement in a story. Via guided writing prompts, attendees will try out some of these techniques for themselves.

Speakers
avatar for Ethan Gilsdorf

Ethan Gilsdorf

Author, FANTASY FREAKS AND GAMING GEEKS
A GrubStreet instructor since 2005, Ethan Gilsdorf is a journalist, memoirist, essayist, critic, poet, teacher, performer and nerd. He is the author of the travel memoir investigation Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, a... Read More →


Sunday April 8, 2018 10:00am - 11:15am
Tremont Room - 4th Floor

10:00am

9H: Structure, Risk, and Meaning in Memoir
Limited Capacity full

What drives the writer of personal narrative is often an impulse to speak where there has been silence. Early drafts may be guided by intuition, a gravitational pull towards what lies unresolved. But sooner or later, the work requires structure. Far from being strictly architecture, structure is a means to learn more about what possibilities lie hidden in the stories of our lives. 

This session will address the process of finding a structure that isn’t merely an organizing principle, but rather calls forth theme and stakes, and how considering structure can help the writer crack through to deeper, riskier layers of meaning. Several recently published memoirs will be discussed, and participants will leave with strategies and exercises to help you deepen and re-energize your work. Our aim will be toward experimentation and discovery.
 

Speakers
avatar for Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Author, THE FACT OF A BODY
Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich is the author of THE FACT OF A BODY: A Murder and a Memoir, named one of the best books of the year by Entertainment Weekly, Audible.com, Bustle, Book Riot, The Times of London, and The Guardian. An Indie Next Pick and a Junior Library Guild selection... Read More →


Sunday April 8, 2018 10:00am - 11:15am
Cambridge Room - 4th Floor

10:00am

9I: The 2nd Draft: Radically Re-Imagining Your Novel
Limited Capacity filling up

This session is ideal for writers who have started working on a novel, and gotten stuck or lost motivation. We will discuss a three-draft model of novel writing, with suggested resources for all three stages and a concentrated focus on the murkiest and most challenging stage, where many writers have trouble: the second draft. Within this model, the second draft is a time to experiment, play, interrogate, and radically rethink your novel. We will go through specific questions, techniques, and exercises that you can take with you, to help you see your novel manuscript in a new light.

Speakers
avatar for Marjan Kamali

Marjan Kamali

Author, TOGETHER TEA
Marjan Kamali is the author of the novel Together Tea (EccoBooks/HarperCollins) which was a Massachusetts Book Award Finalist, an NPR/WBUR Good Read, and a Target Emerging Author Selection. She has lived in seven countries across five continents and earned an MBA from Columbia U... Read More →


Sunday April 8, 2018 10:00am - 11:15am
Beacon Hill Room - 4th Floor

10:00am

9J: Writing (and Publishing) While Jewish: The Situation in 2018
Limited Capacity seats available

This is an exceedingly fraught moment for many American Jewish writers. Like writers of other marginalized backgrounds, Jewish writers have long confronted challenges of cultural and linguistic translation as we craft our work; we have encountered problematic reactions to us and our writings that can be grounded in ignorance, bias, and hatred. But in 2018, some are sensing a new urgency to these concerns—without a corresponding growth in venues to discuss them, despite the writing world's general emphasis on diversity and inclusion.


We hope to foster a candid conversation in which we can air and explore dilemmas we tend to face alone. When do we declare ourselves simply to be "writers," and when might it be important to self-declare as "Jewish writers"—and what are the implications when others do the declaring for us? Which parts of our selves are welcome in the classroom, on the page, and in the academy, and which are we expected to mute? When politics is overlaid on art, what are the costs and benefits of speaking up? Finally, what resources might help us speak freely as both artists and Jews?


Readings distributed and recommended will include a report from the Anti-Defamation League ("Anti-Semitic Targeting of Journalists During the 2016 Presidential Campaign") and essays by Taffy Brodesser-Akner ("I Probably Won't Share This Essay on Twitter"), Junot Díaz ("MFA vs. POC"), and others.

Speakers
avatar for Erika Dreifus

Erika Dreifus

Author and Publicist
Erika Dreifus is the author of Quiet Americans: Stories (Last Light Studio), which was named an American Library Association/Sophie Brody Medal Honor Title for outstanding achievement in Jewish literature. Currently, Erika is completing her first full-length poetry manuscript, which is tentatively titled Birthright. Since September 2017, Erika has served as the "Voice from the U.S.A." columnist for the U.K.'s Jewish Chronicle; her articles, essays, and book reviews have also appeared with the Forward, Jewish Week, JTA, Tablet, Washington Post, and many others. Since 2004, Erika has produced The Practicing Writer, a free (and popular) monthly e-newsletter on the craft and business of writing for fictionists, poets, and writers of creative nonfiction. Formerly Media Editor for Fig Tree Books LLC, Erika now offers freelance coaching and book-publicity services, with a concentration on books on Jewish subjects. Visit Erika online at... Read More →
avatar for Rachel Kadish

Rachel Kadish

Author, The Weight of Ink
Rachel Kadish is the award-winning author of the novels From a Sealed Room and Tolstoy Lied: A Love Story, as well as the novella I Was Here. Her work has appeared on NPR and in the NY Times, Ploughshares, Salon, and Tin House, as well as in The Forward, Tablet, and anthologies... Read More →


Sunday April 8, 2018 10:00am - 11:15am
Stuart Room - 4th Floor

10:00am

9K: Writing the City
Limited Capacity seats available

Cities are an enduring subject and setting for writers, as a site of grandiose, mythical imagination but also of cold, hard reality. In this session, we will look at a broad range of fictional stories about cities (New York City in particular) from writers of diverse ethnicities, cultures, and immigrant groups, through the eras. How does the city drive narrative and character development? How can we approach writing about cities as a way of viewing the world? This session will be of especial interest to anyone writing about any global metropolis, and will widen the range of perspectives and voices writers might consider as they write the city. Please bring a short excerpt or a 3-sentence synopsis of your work to share and discuss.

Speakers
avatar for Mira T. Lee

Mira T. Lee

Author, EVERYTHING HERE IS BEAUTIFUL
Mira T. Lee's debut novel, Everything Here is Beautiful, was selected as a Top 10 Debut title for 2018 by the American Booksellers Association, and named a Top Winter/2018 Pick by more than 30 news outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, O Magazine, Poets & W... Read More →
avatar for Val Wang

Val Wang

Author, BEIJING BASTARD
Val Wang is an author and multimedia storyteller interested in the intersection between the personal and the global. Evan Osnos has called her book Beijing Bastard “a memoir perfectly suited to the Beijing that she brings to life so well: heedless, pungent, and proudly insubord... Read More →


Sunday April 8, 2018 10:00am - 11:15am
St. James Room - 4th Floor

10:00am

9L: Yes, You're an Expert: Op-ed Writing for Novelists and Nonfiction Writers
Limited Capacity filling up

Writing commentary can help even beginning writers get first publication credits, whether you’re a memoirist, novelist or narrative nonfiction writer. It’s also an opportunity to make your voice heard on the issues of the day, and gives you a chance to reach a wide audience and cement yourself as an expert. Write a few op-eds for national publications, and TV and radio shows might come calling.

In this hands-on workshop, we'll ask: How do you even get started with a commentary? What grabs the attention of op-ed editors at the New York Times and other publications? The playing field for commentary is fairly level, but you need to pick your topic wisely and write with panache. Here you’ll brainstorm ideas, write a top of a commentary, and get tips on how to get op-eds published from an experienced op-ed writer, author, and mentor-editor for The Op-Ed Project. 


Speakers
avatar for Linda K. Wertheimer

Linda K. Wertheimer

Author, FAITH ED: TEACHING ABOUT RELIGION IN AN AGE OF INTOLERANCE
Linda K. Wertheimer, a GrubStreet instructor, is the author of Faith Ed: Teaching About Religion In An Age of Intolerance, a second-place winner for best non-fiction religion book in the 2016 Religion News Association awards. A former education editor for The Boston Globe and for... Read More →


Sunday April 8, 2018 10:00am - 11:15am
Newbury Room - 4th Floor

11:30am

10A: A Trip to the Playground: How to Make Writing Fun Again
Limited Capacity filling up

In his memoir and craft book On Writing, Stephen King says: "When I'm writing, it's all the playground, and the worst three hours I ever spent there were still pretty damned good." But not every (adult) writer feels that way, and many think that the pleasure of writing only comes once you have a finished, polished, project. Too often we forget that the act of creation, the act of pretend, is supposed to be fun. We take it too seriously. We've lost our sense of play. In this session, we'll learn some tips and tricks to make our own writing fun again. We'll gather inspiration from writers who've spoken about enjoying the writing process. We'll discuss the role of routine and the power of community. We'll also learn how to make our self-doubt get the heck out of the way, because we're headed to the swing-sets! Me first!

Speakers
avatar for Annie Hartnett

Annie Hartnett

Author, RABBIT CAKE
Annie Hartnett's debut novel Rabbit Cake was published in 2017, and was a finalist for the New England Book Award, longlisted for the Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize, and shortlisted for Crook's Corner Book Prize. Hartnett was the 2013-14 writer in residence for the Associ... Read More →


Sunday April 8, 2018 11:30am - 12:45pm
Franklin Room - 4th Floor

11:30am

10B: Demystifying Publishing Deals
Limited Capacity filling up

Reaching the golden moment when all of your hard work and dedication is validated is nothing short of wonderful. However, reaching that moment prepared to decipher if the offer you have received by the publisher is a good deal, is empowering. Many authors don't know what terms are important or what they mean. In fact many never get to see a publishing contract until one is sent to them. It is therefore unlikely that they will know what should be included, what is superfluous or inappropriate, what terms are fair, and what should be negotiated.

In this session, literary agent Marisa A. Corvisiero demystifies publishing deals with concise, clear explanations about how deals work, what contract terms are important, what they mean, and what the industry standards are. You will gain a solid understanding about what to expect, and how to negotiate the best deal for your work. If you want to understand the basics of the publisher/agent relationship, this is a session you can’t miss!

Speakers
avatar for Marisa Corvisiero

Marisa Corvisiero

Literary Agent, Corvisiero Literary Agency
Marisa A. Corvisiero, Esq. is a literary agent and the founder of the Corvisiero Literary Agency. She is also an author coach, literary consultant, speaker, author, and attorney (The Corvisiero Law Practice, P.C) with over seventeen years of experience in Corporate Law and Trust... Read More →


Sunday April 8, 2018 11:30am - 12:45pm
Whittier Room - 4th Floor

11:30am

10C: Essentials of Backstory and Flashback in Fiction
Limited Capacity full

Backstory and flashback can enrich fictional narratives in important ways, providing key context and motivation to main characters, underling the significance of themes and image systems, and adding texture and dimensionality to the story's world. Delving into past timelines can easily go wrong, however, which may be a reason aspiring writers are sometimes advised to avoid it altogether. In this craft session we'll analyze key passages from fiction in order to answer questions such as: What's the difference between backstory and flashback? Are there artful ways to use these techniques that help the reader understand your character's central motivation? Do you have too much backstory or flashback in your narrative—or could you use more? An on-the-spot writing exercise will give participants a way to use what they've learned to improve and deepen their stories.

Speakers
avatar for Tim Weed

Tim Weed

Author, A FIELD GUIDE TO MURDER & FLY FISHING
Tim Weed's first novel, Will Poole's Island (2014), was named one of Bank Street College of Education's Best Books of the Year. His short fiction collection, A Field Guide to Murder & Fly Fishing (2017), has been shortlisted for the International Book Awards, the New Rivers Press... Read More →


Sunday April 8, 2018 11:30am - 12:45pm
White Hill Room - 4th Floor

11:30am

10D: How to Write an Autobiographical Novel
Limited Capacity full

"How autobiographical is this?" is the question asked every fiction author, no matter how far or how close the material might seem to be from their life. "How much of this did you make up?" is the question asked of every personal essayist and memoirist. The questions may seem pedantic but they speak to some underlying issues, regarding the ways writers use their life in their work, what constitutes fiction, and what, nonfiction.  How do we use the material of our life in fiction? How do we write about ourselves using more than memories? What are the ethics to each practice, and what constitutes crossing a boundary? And what is the nature of fiction and of nonfiction, and does it still matter? We will begin with a writing exercise that can be used to start either an essay or a work of fiction, and then address how each might be constructed accordingly, out of the same anecdote, and with that, all of the issues we encounter along the way.

Speakers
avatar for Alexander Chee

Alexander Chee

Author, HOW TO WRITE AN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL NOVEL
Alexander Chee is the bestselling author of the novels Edinburgh and The Queen of the Night, and the essay collection, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel. He is an associate professor of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College. He is a recipient of the Whiting Award... Read More →


Sunday April 8, 2018 11:30am - 12:45pm
Charles River Room - 4th Floor

11:30am

10E: I'll Build Me a World
Limited Capacity seats available

Building a fictional world that stretches across works is its own particular challenge. In addition to paying attention to the usual narrative elements (plot, character, sentences, etc.) the writer of this kind of work must pay close attention to the shape and feel of an additional element: a world that must be both strange and recognizable. We will look at recurring characters, recurring locations, and recurring objects, as well as setting as "character."

Speakers
avatar for Rion Amilcar Scott

Rion Amilcar Scott

Author, INSURRECTIONS
Rion Amilcar Scott’s short story collection, Insurrections (University Press of Kentucky, 2016) was awarded the 2017 PEN/Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction. Scott’s work has been published in journals such as The Kenyon Review, Crab Orchard Review, PANK, The Rumpus, Fiction Int... Read More →


Sunday April 8, 2018 11:30am - 12:45pm
St. James Room - 4th Floor

11:30am

10F: Literary Idol: Non-Fiction Focus
Limited Capacity seats available

Important: Please read this description carefully before signing up, and bring all necessary materials to the session if you wish to have your work read aloud.

In this freewheeling session, a trained actor will perform the first page of YOUR unpublished manuscript -- in this case, a work of non-fiction, including memoir and personal essay -- for the audience and a panel of three judges. The judges are agents and editors with years of experience reading unsolicited submissions. When one of the judges hears a line that would make her stop reading, she will raise her hand. The actor will keep reading until a second judge raises his hand. The judges will then discuss WHY they would stop reading, and offer concrete (if subjective) suggestions to the anonymous author. If no agent raises his/her hand, the judges will discuss what made the excerpt work so well. All excerpts will be evaluated anonymously, though, at the end of the session, a winner will be chosen from the group of excerpts that did not elicit any raised hands, and that winner will receive a free Grub Street membership. Please bring THE FIRST 250 WORDS of your manuscript, double-spaced, to the session, TITLED, with its GENRE marked clearly at the top. You will leave it in a box at the front of the room, and the manuscript will be chosen randomly by the reader. (Unfortunately, given the volume of submissions, we can not guarantee that yours will be read aloud).

This is a fun event that aims to be respectful of your work and illuminate the process an agent/editor goes through when she receives a new piece of fiction. The point is not to get through as many writers as possible, but to thoughtfully evaluate the work at hand and offer concrete suggestions from which all could benefit. Please be aware that some lines may cause laughter or scorn; in other words, this session is not for the thin-skinned!

Moderators
avatar for Steve Macone

Steve Macone

Non-fiction Writer
Steve Macone is a former headline contributor at The Onion. His essays, humor writing, and reporting have also appeared in the American Scholar, New York Times, Atlantic, New Yorker, Boston Globe Magazine, Morning News, and Salon. His work has been featured on NPR, Longreads, an... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Rob Arnold

Rob Arnold

Literary Agent, Aevitas Creative Management
Rob Arnold is an Associate Agent at Aevitas Creative Management specializing in literary fiction and memoir. With over a decade of experience in literary publishing, he has worked with such authors as Denis Johnson, Lauren Groff, Rick Moody, Lydia Davis, Jim Shepard, Ottessa Mosh... Read More →
avatar for Lucy Cleland

Lucy Cleland

Agent, Kneerim & Williams Literary Agency
LUCY CLELAND joined Kneerim & Williams in 2013, where she has worked with new and established authors on projects ranging from groundbreaking “big idea” nonfiction to literary fiction and memoir. A Southern transplant to Boston, Lucy graduated from Wellesley College where she... Read More →
avatar for Annie Hwang

Annie Hwang

Literary Agent, Folio Literary Management
Originally from Los Angeles, Annie represents literary fiction and select nonfiction. As a former journalist, she possesses a keen editorial eye which she brings to her approach to agenting, taking an active role in helping clients reach their full potential and guiding them thro... Read More →
avatar for Monica Odom

Monica Odom

Literary Agent, Liza Dawson Associates
Monica Odom is an agent at Liza Dawson Associates, where she represents a variety of non-fiction, as well as literary and upmarket fiction, and illustrators. Monica earned her Masters in Publishing: Digital & Print Media from New York University in 2014, and has a B.A. in English... Read More →


Sunday April 8, 2018 11:30am - 12:45pm
Stuart Room - 4th Floor

11:30am

10G: Reading Across Time: Literature, Exile, Revolt
Limited Capacity seats available

This lecture and Q&A examines the relationship between literature, rebellion, and longing, and considers literature as a form of cartography—of the self and the world—that allows us to map consciousness onto the page. Excerpts from the works of Dante, Anna Kavan, Clarice Lispector, Primo Levi, and Albert Camus will be discussed.

Speakers
avatar for Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi

Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi

Author, CALL ME ZEBRA
Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Fra Keeler, and an assistant professor in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Notre Dame. She is the winner of a 2015 Whiting Writers’ Award, a National Book Foundation “5 Under... Read More →


Sunday April 8, 2018 11:30am - 12:45pm
Cabot Room - 4th Floor

11:30am

10H: The Psychology of Character: Digging to the Heart of Motivation
Limited Capacity filling up

Authentic characters work their way into readers' hearts and minds because the challenges they face are both universal and uniquely personal.

This session will show you how to use psychological and behavioral research to create leads, allies, and opponents who are more than the sum of their physical traits.

Modified from Lynne Griffin's popular one-day workshop, through lecture, discussion, and writing exercises, you’ll learn to write beyond stereotypes or sensational personalities. With new techniques for digging to the heart of character motivation, we’ll explore how to manage a cast of characters who are distinctive, empathetic and memorable, as well as how to deal with multiple internal/external conflicts and relationships with each another.

Speakers
avatar for Lynne Griffin

Lynne Griffin

Author, Life Without Summer & Girl Sent Away
Lynne Griffin is the author of the novels Girl Sent Away (SixOneSeven Books), Sea Escape (Simon & Schuster) and Life Without Summer (St. Martin's Press), and the non-fiction guides, Let's Talk About it: Adolescent Mental Health (SixOneSeven Books) and Negotiation Generation (Penguin). In addition to teaching at GrubStreet, Lynne teaches in the graduate program of family studies at Wheelock College. She is the family life contributor for Boston's Fox Morning News and writes for Psychology Today. Her short fiction, essays, and articles have appeared in Slate, Brain, Child, Parenting, Scholastic Parent & Child, Psychology Today, The Writer, The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe, The Drum Literary Magazine, Parents Magazine, and more. For more about Lynne's work, visit her website... Read More →


Sunday April 8, 2018 11:30am - 12:45pm
Cambridge Room - 4th Floor

11:30am

10I: The Whole Story
Limited Capacity seats available

Most seminars on the craft of fiction are predicated on…well, on a kind of fiction: we analyze a specific element of writing (voice, dialogue, POV) as if such elements operate independently, when of course they’re intertwined and inseparable. In workshops, too, we often focus on one problem here, another there, paying scarce attention to the overall accumulation of the whole.

In this seminar, our approach will be at once more meticulous and more holistic. Together, we will analyze, line by line, an entire (brief!) story. Any successful story must be greater than the sum of its parts, but the reader can only experience it one part at a time, in the order in which the words (and punctuation marks) appear on the page. By examining a whole story, word by word, we will hone our understanding of how a writer manipulates the reader’s necessarily linear experience of a narrative…the better, of course, to write our own fictions.

Speakers
avatar for Michael Lowenthal

Michael Lowenthal

Author, THE PATERNITY TEST
Michael Lowenthal is the author of four novels: The Same Embrace, Avoidance, Charity Girl (a New York Times Book Review “Editors’ Choice” and Washington Post “Top Fiction of 2007” pick), and The Paternity Test (an IndieNext List selection and a Lambda Literary Award fin... Read More →


Sunday April 8, 2018 11:30am - 12:45pm
Winthrop Room - 4th Floor

11:30am

10J: Writing and Selling the Money-Making Essay
Limited Capacity seats available

Creative nonfiction is that rare genre that both allows writers to express themselves and offers the chance for mere mortals to earn real money from their writing—up to a dollar per word or more, depending on the market. In this seminar, we'll look at published examples of short memoir pieces (800 words or less) and start to create our own through writing exercises and prompts. We'll also discuss potential markets where we can try to sell our mini-memoirs.

Speakers
avatar for Calvin Hennick

Calvin Hennick

Non-Fiction Writer
Calvin Hennick is a journalist, an essayist, a fiction writer, a content marketer, and a teacher. His essays, stories, and journalism have appeared in publications including Bellevue Literary Review, Baltimore Review, Esquire, The Boston Globe Magazine, Yahoo Parenting, Runner's... Read More →


Sunday April 8, 2018 11:30am - 12:45pm
Tremont Room - 4th Floor

11:30am

10K: Writing Memoir: Or, How to Take Your Most Private, Painful Story, Shape it into a Cohesive Narrative and Send it out into the World
Limited Capacity filling up

To write memoir is to lay bare the self on the page. It is to take the material of your life and use it to tell a story. It is a deeply personal endeavor, and yet the writing process asks us to think about craft issues in much the same way as we do when writing a novel. The best memoirs have a compelling voice, strong characterization and a narrative arc. This session will explore the process of writing memoir, both the emotional underpinnings and the craft issues. How do you both protect and expose your self in your work? How do you structure your real-life story so that there is narrative flow? How do you create a sense of tension? How do you develop your voice on the page? How do you decide what to leave in and what to take out? This session will explore what the process of writing memoir asks of us, and look at how we can use our personal stories to create compelling memoir that resonates with readers.

Speakers
avatar for Tova Mirvis

Tova Mirvis

Author, THE BOOK OF SEPARATION
Tova Mirvis is the author of the memoir The Book of Separation, which was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in September 2017. She is also the author of three novels, Visible City, The Outside World, and The Ladies Auxiliary, which was a national bestseller. Her essays have... Read More →


Sunday April 8, 2018 11:30am - 12:45pm
Beacon Hill Room - 4th Floor

11:30am

10L: You Know More Than You Think: Writing Past the Rational
Limited Capacity filling up

We’ve all known those times when the well of words runs dry and our minds feel as arid as the blank page before us-- times when it seems only the Muse can help. But what we writers call the Muse, said Ray Bradbury, is simply "the creative aspect" of what others call the subconscious.

In this session, we will bypass deliberate thought and explore other ways of tapping into our latent knowledge and creativity. We will plumb the subconscious, relying on intuition to reach for that which we know but weren’t thinking of. Whatever you preferred genre, you will leave with a selection of treats that can be used to entice the Muse - lists, mind-maps, word clusters, metaphors and more.

Speakers
avatar for Tasneem Zehra Husain

Tasneem Zehra Husain

Author, ONLY THE LONGEST THREADS
Tasneem Zehra Husain is a theoretical physicist and a writer. Her work has appeared in Nautilus, as well as various anthologies of science writing for both adults and children. She is a regular columnist for 3quarksdaily.com, and the author of the popular science novel Only The L... Read More →


Sunday April 8, 2018 11:30am - 12:45pm
Newbury Room - 4th Floor

1:00pm

Marketplace Keynote: “Selling Out Without Selling Out”
How can we writers make money while maintaining our artistic integrity? How can we sell out our books without “selling out?” Join a spirited group of authors as they discuss different approaches to the tension between art and commerce. What compromises have they made "for the money?” What routes have they refused to take, despite their financial appeal? Come ready for a lively, provocative conversation.

Moderators
avatar for Sorche Fairbank

Sorche Fairbank

Literary Agent, Fairbank Literary Representation
A small, selective agency and member of AAR, the Author's Guild, the Agents Round Table, PEN, and Grub Street's Literary Advisory Council, Fairbank Literary Representation is happily in its fifteenth year. Clients range from first-time authors to international best-sellers, prize... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Steve Almond

Steve Almond

Author, BAD STORIES
Steve Almond is the author of ten books of fiction and non-fiction, including The New York Times Bestsellers Candyfreak and Against Football. His most recent short story collection, God Bless America won the Paterson Prize and his short stories have been widely anthologized in T... Read More →
avatar for Jenna Blum

Jenna Blum

Author, THE LOST FAMILY
Jenna Blum is The New York Times and # 1 international bestselling author of novels Those Who Save Us (Harcourt, 2004) and The Stormchasers (Dutton, 2010); novella “The Lucky One” in the postwar anthology Grand Central (Penguin, 2014); and audio course “The Author At Work... Read More →
avatar for Alexander Chee

Alexander Chee

Author, HOW TO WRITE AN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL NOVEL
Alexander Chee is the bestselling author of the novels Edinburgh and The Queen of the Night, and the essay collection, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel. He is an associate professor of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College. He is a recipient of the Whiting Award... Read More →
avatar for Mitchell Zuckoff

Mitchell Zuckoff

Author, 13 HOURS: THE INSIDE ACCOUNT OF WHAT REALLY HAPPENED IN BENGHAZI
Mitchell Zuckoff is the author of seven books and a professor of journalism at Boston University. A New York native, Zuckoff spent two decades as a reporter, much of that time with The Boston Globe, where he was an investigative reporter and roving national correspondent. His wor... Read More →


Sunday April 8, 2018 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Grand Ballroom - Mezzanine