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Block 7 [clear filter]
Saturday, April 4

1:45pm EDT

7B: We the Narrators: Writing the Collective Experience
Limited Capacity seats available

In this interactive session, we will explore and then try our hand at the first person plural narrative voice, a voice as old as the Greek chorus and as fresh as “We the Animals.” Some questions the session will explore include: Why would you would want to represent the collective experience? What can the first-person plural narrator say and do that other perspectives can’t? What kinds of stories is it best suited to rendering?

The first person plural can take many forms and we will look at a number of successful examples to study what and how they are achieving their effects, paying particular attention to the varying degrees of differentiation within the collective experience that different authors provide. Within the different categories we identify, you will then try your hand at writing in the collective voice.

avatar for Val Wang

Val Wang

Val Wang is an author and filmmaker interested in the intersection between the personal and the global. She is the author of the memoir Beijing Bastard as well as the director of the documentary The Flip Side, which won Best Documentary Short at the 2018 DisOrient Asian American Film... Read More →

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

1:45pm EDT

7D: How to Publish (and Promote) Your Book on Your Terms
Limited Capacity full

After the hard work of writing and editing (and editing) the writer faces another question: how to put the work out into the world on his or her or their own terms. In this session, we'll talk about how to make sure you create the publishing experience you want, by conducting a self-inventory of your publishing needs. Topics will include: expanding your options, defending your rights, dealing with rejection, and choosing your battles. 

Helpfully, the instructor has published with huge presses and tiny presses and everything in between. He also makes DIY books. And he has screwed up many times in his career, so you can reap the benefit of his idiocy. Strap in. This is gonna be fun. 

avatar for Steve Almond

Steve Almond

Steve Almond is the author of eleven books of fiction and non-fiction including the New York Times bestsellers Candyfreak and Against Football. His short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies, including the Best American Short Stories, the Pushcart Prize, the Best American... Read More →

Saturday April 4, 2020 1:45pm - 3:00pm EDT
Statler Room - Mezzanine Level

1:45pm EDT

7E: Reclaiming Our Narrative: How Black Women Writers Showcase Versatility Through Storytelling
Limited Capacity seats available

It's no secret that in 2019, Black women are still plagued with stereotypes that rob us of our humanity. These tropes have permeated every crevice of popular culture and are so routine, they have become normalized. We are consistently portrayed or viewed as sexually insatiable, ardently pliant or irrationally angry. With Black women noticeably invisible in white American literature and the publishing world, how can we employ storytelling to fully capture our narrative?

In this session, led by writers Candace McDuffie and Ashley-Rose Salomon, we will discuss how steeping our works in our identity not only peels back the layers of our marginalization but allows us to have a seat at the table for a meal that was never meant for us. We will discuss how embracing our identities in the publishing world has led to success, and how maintaining self-care is vital for a healthy and abundant career as a writer.

avatar for Candace McDuffie

Candace McDuffie

Nonfiction Writer
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 featured... Read More →
avatar for Ashley-Rose Salomon

Ashley-Rose Salomon

Ashley-Rose is an award winning Haitian-American educator, organizer, actress and award-winning poet from Boston, MA. She was honored by Mayor Marty Walsh with the OneIn3 Impact Award for being one of the most influential people under age 35 in Boston and in 2016 she was awarded Boston’s... Read More →

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

1:45pm EDT

7F: Approaching Race as a White Writer
Limited Capacity filling up

How can white writers address their own racial subjectivity, and that of others, in ways that are artistically meaningful and challenging? We'll talk about questions of appropriation and representation, approaches to research and inquiry, and ways to introduce anti-racist conversations in literary spaces.

avatar for Jess Row

Jess Row

Jess Row is the author of the novel Your Face in Mine, two collections of short stories, The Train to Lo Wu and Nobody Ever Gets Lost, and a book of essays, White Flights: Race, Fiction, and the American Imagination. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Tin House... Read More →

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

1:45pm EDT

7G: Building Your Communities: How to Make the Most of Residencies, Conferences, Awards, and Writing Programs
Limited Capacity filling up

Emerging writers often find themselves isolated and eager for mentors and connections, and this session will delve into what it takes to build a community that will support you in achieving your professional goals. Are residencies frivolous or invaluable—and how do you decide? Does receiving a writing award really make a difference? Do you need an MFA to make it in the cutthroat world of publishing? At what point should you start (or stop!) going to conferences and taking workshops? Even when time and money are in short supply, there are ways to be strategic and make use of these game-changing opportunities.

You’ll get the perspective of a novelist who runs programming, scholarships and awards for a literary nonprofit, and a memoirist and writing professor who, through trial and error, have learned how to determine what actually works for them, and will share resources and tricks of the trade.

avatar for Katrin Schumann

Katrin Schumann

Katrin Schumann is the author of the Washington Post bestseller The Forgotten Hours, and This Terrible Beauty, a recently released novel about art, politics and love set in communist East Germany, as well as numerous nonfiction titles. She teaches writing at GrubStreet, was an instructor... Read More →
avatar for Rani Neutill

Rani Neutill

Nonfiction Writer
Rani was a professor of Ethnic American and Postcolonial Literature at institutions such as Harvard, Yale, and Johns Hopkins University. Her work has appeared in Catapult, Salon, The New York Times Book Review, The Rumpus, Longreads, Redivider, amongst other places. She has work forthcoming... Read More →

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

1:45pm EDT

7H: Writing Evil: How to Harness Lethal Characters in Stories of Tragedy and Trauma
Limited Capacity seats available

How do we tell stories about heinous crimes committed at the hands of our protagonists and antagonists in a way that’s palatable for readers? How can we prevent glorification of horrific actions? Why should villains get intimate page time? And how can writers manage sensitive subjects without succumbing to heavy dread during the creative process?

We’ll explore these questions as well as the power of complex characterization and necessary storytelling through selected readings. Our discussion will be followed by thoughtful writing strategies to help us navigate and meaningfully develop problematic characters.

avatar for Sahar Mustafah

Sahar Mustafah

Sahar Mustafah is author of The Beauty of Your Face (W.W. Norton, 2020), her first novel, and Code of the West, a short story collection and winner of the 2016 Willow Books Fiction Award. Her stories have earned a Distinguished Story citation from Best American Short Stories 2016... Read More →

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

1:45pm EDT

7I: Public Speaking for Writers
Limited Capacity seats available

As your writerly prominence grows, opportunities to read, present, and promote your work in public become ever-more important. In this interactive class, participants will learn how to enunciate, project, and command a room. With examples from prose and poetry, participants will learn the importance of speaking with confidence to engage various audiences. You'll craft a basic 30-second elevator pitch of your work and receive helpful critiques. Come ready to listen, read, discuss the art of public speaking, and expect to leave with improved presentation skills and boosted confidence.

avatar for Shirley Jones-Luke

Shirley Jones-Luke

Shirley Jones-Luke is a poet and a writer. Ms Luke lives in the Dorchester section of Boston. Shirley is an English teacher for the Boston Public Schools. She teaches ELA and Humanities at the middle and high school levels. Ms. Luke is also a public speaker. Shirley has spoken at... Read More →

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

1:45pm EDT

7J: How I Wrote This: Discussion of THE COLLECTED SCHIZOPHRENIAS with Esmé Weijun Wang
Limited Capacity seats available

We’re thrilled to welcome author Esmé Weijun Wang as our Muse 2020 Fellow in Non-Fiction, for her singular essay collection, The Collected Schizophrenias. Wang's book is lauded as "an intimate, moving book written with the immediacy and directness of one who still struggles with the effects of mental and chronic illness...Wang writes not just to her fellow members of the 'collected schizophrenias' but to those who wish to understand it as well."

Join Wang for an intimate discussion about her construction of The Collected Schizophrenias, her writing process, and more.

This event is free & open to the public. Pre-reading the collection is recommended, but not required.

avatar for Esmé Weijun Wang

Esmé Weijun Wang

Muse 2020 Fellow in Nonfiction, THE COLLECTED SCHIZOPHRENIAS
Esmé Weijun Wang is a novelist and essayist. She is the author of the New York Times-bestselling essay collection, The Collected Schizophrenias (2019), for which she won the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize. Her debut novel, The Border of Paradise, was called a Best Book of 2016 by NPR... Read More →

Saturday April 4, 2020 1:45pm - 3:00pm EDT
Boylston Room - Mezzanine Level

1:45pm EDT

7K: First Page Clinic
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 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).

avatar for Mameve Medwed

Mameve Medwed

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 Men and Their Mothers. Her short stories, essays, book reviews have appeared in, among others, The New York Times, The... Read More →
avatar for Sebastian Stuart

Sebastian Stuart

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; and... Read More →
avatar for Rishi Reddi

Rishi Reddi

Rishi Reddi is the author of the forthcoming novel Passage West, scheduled for release in April 2020. Set in California’s Imperial Valley at the onset of WWI, it tells the tale of Punjabi sharecroppers, their Mexican relatives, Japanese neighbors, and Anglo friends at a time of... Read More →

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

1:45pm EDT

7L: Place: From Where to Why
Limited Capacity seats available

In the crafting of fiction, place involves more than the factual depiction of setting. Place can bring characters into stronger focus and come to life as much as any character. This session will explore the vital role that place plays not just in developing characters but also establishing the larger reason-to-be of a fictional work. Through readings of examples, generative writing exercises, and conversation, we'll examine different approaches to place, so as to make its role more meaningful in storytelling.

avatar for Pitchaya Sudbanthad

Pitchaya Sudbanthad

Pitchaya Sudbanthad is the author of the novel Bangkok Wakes to Rain, published by Riverhead Books (US) and Sceptre (UK), which was selected as a New York Times Editors’ Choice pick and a finalist for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize. He has received fellowships in fiction... Read More →

Saturday April 4, 2020 1:45pm - 3:00pm EDT
Hancock Room - Mezzanine Level