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Block 3 [clear filter]
Friday, April 3

1:45pm EDT

3A: Literary Horror: What Is It and How Do You Write It?
Limited Capacity filling up

In the last decade or so, a new publishing category has arisen:  literary horror. It's been associated with some of the most exciting writers working at the darker end of the literary spectrum, a list that includes Nadia Bulkin, Brian Evenson, Hye-young Pyun, Jac Jemc, Victor LaValle, Samanta Schweblin, and Paul Tremblay.  

Through a consideration of selected passages from their work, we'll sketch the topography of this developing field. We'll examine narrative perspectives that are de-centered from the one traditionally associated with horror stories (i.e. white, male, and cis), and narrative approaches drawn from a variety of postmodern and experimental sources. From there, we'll use this map to point out possible routes interested writers might follow in their own fiction.

avatar for John Langan

John Langan

John Langan’s 2016 novel, The Fisherman, won the Bram Stoker and This Is Horror awards. He is the author of another novel, House of Windows (Night Shade 2009), and of three collections: Sefira and Other Betrayals (2019), The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies (2013... Read More →

Friday April 3, 2020 1:45pm - 3:00pm EDT
St. James Room - 4th Floor
  Block 3, Lecture

1:45pm EDT

3B: The Conversation Without Answers: Writing Better Dialogue
Limited Capacity full

Dialogue is a convenient way to provide exposition and advance plot. But when writers concentrate only on these aims, the dialogue they write barely resembles the way people really talk. In this session, we’ll focus on how conversations -- with their interruptions, non sequiturs and misunderstandings -- can be used to characterize speakers and bring their relationships to the next level. We’ll look at transcripts from real conversations, as well as excerpts from published fiction that will include “Tomi” by Kali Fajardo-Anstine and “Our Lady of Peace” by ZZ Packer, among others. And we’ll use a series of writing prompts to try out techniques right in class.

avatar for K Chess

K Chess

K Chess is the author of Famous Men Who Never Lived (Tin House Books, 2019). Her writing has appeared in The Chicago Tribune’s Printer’s Row Journal, PANK, Salon, Tor.com and other outlets. Her short stories have been honored by the Nelson Algren Literary Award and the Pushcart... Read More →

Friday April 3, 2020 1:45pm - 3:00pm EDT
Beacon Hill Room - 4th Floor

1:45pm EDT

3C: The Big Q's: What to Ask Prospective Agents
Limited Capacity filling up

So you’ve gotten the e-mail (or the phone call) and the Agent of Your Dreams wants to talk to you about representation. Even if their offer makes you feel like you’ve set an entire kaleidoscope of butterflies free in your stomach, you’ll want to have some questions lined up to hear about their process, the ins and outs of how this whole thing works, and suss out whether you think you’ll have a good working relationship with them. After all, the author-agent relationship is (and should be) a close one and one that hopefully will be the through line of your publishing career. In this class, we’ll be discussing what questions to ask (and why you should be asking them!).

avatar for Amy Elizabeth Bishop

Amy Elizabeth Bishop

Literary Agent, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret
Amy Elizabeth Bishop joined Dystel, Goderich & Bourret in 2015 after interning for them in 2014. After a short stint as the financial & subrights assistant, she started assisting Jane Dystel, and in addition to managing her own list, now also oversees the office and the interns. Her... Read More →

Friday April 3, 2020 1:45pm - 3:00pm EDT
White Hill Room - 4th Floor

1:45pm EDT

3D: Polished to Published: Placing Your Short Fiction in Literary Magazines and Small Presses
Limited Capacity filling up

Do you have short stories, essays, or poems that have been put through the wringer? Are you ready to take the leap into the submission world? Or perhaps you already have, but acceptances have been hard to come by? 

This session will demystify the submission process and provide specific strategies to maximize your chances at successful publication. From determining when your writing is ready for submission, to learning what parameters editors use to evaluate your work, to familiarizing yourself with the literary journal and small press landscape, you will receive resources, strategies, and tips that will ensure that your submissions are taken seriously. Whether you are working on individual stories or a full manuscript, realist fiction or more experimental work, we will discuss effective approaches to engage with a wide range of publications and ultimately find a home for your writing.

avatar for Dariel Suarez

Dariel Suarez

Dariel Suarez was born in Havana, Cuba and immigrated to the United States with his family in 1997, during the island’s economic crisis known as The Special Period. Dariel’s story collection, A Kind of Solitude, was selected as the winner of the 2017 Spokane Short Fiction Prize... Read More →
avatar for Joy Baglio

Joy Baglio

Fiction Writer & Editor
Joy Baglio's short stories have appeared in or are forthcoming from Tin House, American Short Fiction, The Iowa Review, Gulf Coast, New Ohio Review, TriQuarterly, PANK, SmokeLong Quarterly, and elsewhere, and she's received fellowships and grants from The Corporation of Yaddo... Read More →

Friday April 3, 2020 1:45pm - 3:00pm EDT
Franklin Room - 4th Floor

1:45pm EDT

3E: Please Sir, I Want Some More: How to Construct a Story with Multiple Timelines or Protagonists
Limited Capacity full

With the publishing world at last opening up to a diversity of voices and viewpoints, writing a single protagonist story with a single timeline in a single locale might feel, well, less than inspiring. Why can’t we have more? 

This session will explore the reasons for and against such a choice as well as how to find the right balance and structure to make it all work. Participants will leave with methods to create cohesion and continuity as well as ideas for organization and how to keep the writing flowing.

avatar for Michelle Hoover

Michelle Hoover

Michelle Hoover leads the GrubStreet Novel Incubator program and will be coordinating the 20th Anniversary Massachusetts Book Awards for the Mass Center for the Book. She is a 2014 NEA Fellow and has been a Writer-in-Residence at Bucknell University, a MacDowell Fellow, and a winner... Read More →

Friday April 3, 2020 1:45pm - 3:00pm EDT
Whittier Room - 4th Floor

1:45pm EDT

3F: Get Out of Your Head: For Writers Considering Self-Publishing
Limited Capacity seats available

The thought of becoming a published author is daunting for most writers. We get stuck in our heads. We think we need validation from the “Big 5” to be taken seriously. News flash! You don’t need validation from a major publisher to publish a book.

In this session, writers will learn how to self-publish a professionally bound book in simple steps that are digestible and attainable for every writer. Come learn from a self published author who will share intimate details about the process of publishing and writing. Aspiring published authors will receive step by step instructions on how to turn an idea into a manuscript, the art of choosing a book title, and how to successfully work with designers and copy editors to create an aesthetically pleasing book worthy to be sold in bookstores and on Amazon.

avatar for Nakia Hill

Nakia Hill

Nakia currently resides in the South End in Boston. She directs 826 Boston's Writers' Room program supporting K-12 teachers and students. Nakia was named one of seven 2018 Boston Artists-in-Residence by Mayor Marty Walsh. She felt extremely blessed to collaborate with local government... Read More →

Friday April 3, 2020 1:45pm - 3:00pm EDT
Stuart Room - 4th Floor

1:45pm EDT

3G: Place as Character: Bringing the World to Life on the Page
Limited Capacity full

The places where we love and die, the homes we inherit and adopt, the library, the corner store, the basketball court, the city block and the small town meeting hall--the writer neglects the importance of such locations at her peril. When a piece of writing doesn't seem to be happening anywhere, we sense something's amiss, but when it takes full advantage of place, we find ourselves settling into the story's narrative, ready to be transported there.

In this directed writing session, attendees will explore strategies for fully fleshing out the "where" of the matter. In a series of short exercises, attendees will thoroughly imagine and map out their pieces' setting so that the characters they create will have a proper place to live, whether that's the treehouse in the banyan or the city in the sky

avatar for Maria Pinto

Maria Pinto

Fiction Writer
Maria Pinto is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared or will appear in Frigg, Necessary Fiction, The Butter, Word Riot, and Dostoevsky Wannabe Cities: Boston. She studied Creative Writing and Women’s and Gender Studies at Brandeis University, where her work was awarded... Read More →
avatar for Paloma Valenzuela

Paloma Valenzuela

Director, Producer, & Writer, THE PINEAPPLE DIARIES
Paloma Valenzuela is a Dominican-American writer, director and actress originally from the city of Boston. She is the creative director of the production operation La Gringa Loca Productions based in Boston and the Dominican Republic. Paloma has worked on several Dominican productions... Read More →

Friday April 3, 2020 1:45pm - 3:00pm EDT
Cambridge Room - 4th Floor

1:45pm EDT

3H: Writing While Multilingual: How to Leverage Your Languages for Strong Fiction
Limited Capacity seats available

For bi- or multilingual writers, our relationship to language(s) can be complex, and there is a growing appreciation in today’s market for stories that reflect this. Colonization, immigration, belonging versus otherness, the circumstances of our growing up-- all these influence how we use and feel about language.

In this fiction-focused session, we will work to identify our own relationships with our languages and how they influence what/how we write. We'll draw on excerpts by writers such as Junot Díaz, Jhumpa Lahiri, Edwige Danticat, and Amitav Ghosh, who use their particular flexibility with words in their writing. We will identify some practical techniques for how to use our own languages to craft the strongest, truest fiction for an audience who might not be familiar with all of them.

avatar for Anjali Duva

Anjali Duva

Anjali Mitter Duva is an Indian-American writer, dancer and educator raised in France. She is the author of Faint Promise of Rain, shortlisted for the 2016 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing and a 2015 Chaucer Award for Historical Fiction, and she was a finalist for 2018... Read More →

Friday April 3, 2020 1:45pm - 3:00pm EDT
Cabot Room - 4th Floor

1:45pm EDT

3I: Art of the Book of Poems: Structure and Surprise
Limited Capacity seats available

In this interactive talk, we’ll be discussing strategies behind putting together a manuscript of poems. We’ll look briefly at some models of collections, talk about beginnings and endings of books, and we will also talk about prompts that may assist in filling manuscript holes. Participants in this session will attempt exercises that may benefit the structure of a larger work.

avatar for Oliver de la Paz

Oliver de la Paz

Oliver de la Paz is the author of five collections of poetry: Names Above Houses, Furious Lullaby, Requiem for the Orchard, Post Subject: A Fable, and The Boy in the Labyrinth. He also co-edited A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry. A founding member... Read More →

Friday April 3, 2020 1:45pm - 3:00pm EDT
Charles River Room - 4th Floor
  Block 3

1:45pm EDT

3J: When the Protagonist is You: Using Novelists' Techniques for Your Memoir
Limited Capacity filling up

Fiction writers spend a lot of time developing their protagonist, creating conflict for them, and moving them through a propulsive plot. But what if you're writing a memoir, and the protagonist is you? What craft techniques can memoirists learn from novelists?

In this class, we'll discuss how to apply the craft elements commonly associated with fiction-- including character development, narrative arc, structure, plot, and more-- to our memoirs-in-progress. Before the author Reyna Grande embarked on her memoir-writing journey, she first wrote two novels, and learned how the two genres can learn from one another. She'll share tricks from fiction that she used to write her memoirs, The Distance Between Us and A Dream Called Home, which will come in handy as you become the protagonist of your story.

avatar for Reyna Grande

Reyna Grande

Keynote Speaker, A DREAM CALLED HOME
Reyna Grande is the author of the bestselling memoir, The Distance Between Us, (Atria, 2012) where she writes about her life before and after she arrived in the United States from Mexico as an undocumented child immigrant. The much-anticipated sequel, A Dream Called Home (Atria... Read More →

Friday April 3, 2020 1:45pm - 3:00pm EDT
Tremont Room - 4th Floor

1:45pm EDT

3K: Nonfiction Idea Clinic
Limited Capacity seats available

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.

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&B... Read More →
avatar for Linda K. Wertheimer

Linda K. Wertheimer

Author, Faith Ed.
Linda K. Wertheimer, a veteran journalist and a Grub Street instructor, is the author of Faith Ed, Teaching About Religion In An Age of Intolerance, published by Beacon Press in August 2015. Faith Ed, which grew out of a nonfiction proposal she wrote in a Finding Your Book course... Read More →
avatar for Jonah Straus

Jonah Straus

Literary Agent, Straus Literary
Jonah Straus is founder of Straus Literary, a boutique literary agency based in San Francisco with an office in New York. He specializes in literary fiction, journalism, history, narrative nonfiction, and the culinary arts.Jonah got his start in publishing in the warehouse of Atrium... Read More →
avatar for Annie Hwang

Annie Hwang

Literary Agency, Ayesha Pande Literary
Before joining Ayesha Pande Literary, Annie began her career at Folio Literary Management where she had the pleasure of working with debut and seasoned authors alike. As a former journalist, Annie possesses a keen editorial eye which she brings to her approach to agenting, taking... Read More →

Friday April 3, 2020 1:45pm - 3:00pm EDT
Boylston Room - Mezzanine Level

1:45pm EDT

3L: Adapting Books for Film and TV
Limited Capacity seats available

How does a book get made into a film or TV show, and how can authors help make it happen? In this nuts-and-bolts presentation, Phil Cohen-- literary scout for Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema-- will demystify the acquisition process, and reveal the many steps of how a novel or nonfiction work gets adapted for the screen. Celeste Ng will share her story from the author's perspective, as her bestselling novel Little Fires Everywhere comes out as a Hulu show in mid-March, and whose Everything I Never Told You is currently being made into a feature film. What, if anything, can an author do at each stage of the acquisition and adaptation process, to help our books become successful films or shows?

Come with your questions, and a riveting conversation.

avatar for Celeste Ng

Celeste Ng

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... Read More →
avatar for Phil Cohen

Phil Cohen

Literary Executive, Warner Bros.
Phil Cohen is a developmental editor and literary executive for Warner Bros. Throughout his time there, and in his previous role at Sony Pictures, Phil has acquired dozens of books, comics, graphic novels, and long-form articles to develop into feature films and television series... Read More →

Friday April 3, 2020 1:45pm - 3:00pm EDT
Newbury Room - 4th Floor